(PARIS) — Prosecutors in France believe a family dispute over money might have led to the killing of four people and the shooting of a 7-year-old girl in the French Alps.
Investigators are now looking to question the brother of 50-year-old Saad al-Hilli, who was found gunned down in a car near Lake Annecy in Haute-Savoie, France, on Wednesday. His wife, Iqbal, and mother-in-law were also found shot dead, as was a cyclist who happened upon the bloody scene.
“It seems that there was a dispute between the two brothers about money,” prosecutor Eric Maillaud told the AFP news agency. “This seems to be credible information coming from the British police. The brother will have to be questioned at length. Every lead will be meticulously followed.”
Al-Hilli’s daughter Zainab, 7, is in a medically induced coma in Grenoble University Hospital after being shot in the head three times and badly beaten. The couple’s daughter Zeena, 4, was found hiding underneath her mother’s corpse inside the backseat of the family’s BMW by a British cyclist.
The fourth victim was a cyclist identified by French media as Sylvain Mollier, a father of three from Ugine en Savoie, who also suffered gunshot wounds and was found dead close to the car.
Zeena was questioned by investigators Thursday night, but was unable to provide further help, Maillaud, the public prosecutor for Annecy, told Agence France-Presse. Both girls are under police protection in the hospital.
“We have to be extremely careful about the declarations of a traumatized little girl,” Maillaud said.
Saad al-Hilli was reportedly a resident of Claygate in the London-suburb of Surrey and the secretary of a Wiltshire-based aerial photography company, AMS 1087. The Surrey police are working with French authorities to assist the investigation.
Police believe the shooter used an automatic pistol, which are banned in France.
“This is an ongoing investigation being carried out by the French police and we are unable to confirm any details about the incident,” Surrey police said in a statement.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Susan Scutti, CNN
Andreas Preuss, CNN