Serial killer hunt spanning decades may be over after former police officer leaves death-bed confession

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The 35-year hunt for a serial killer in France may finally have come to an end after a former police officer left a posthumous confession saying he was "the pockmarked killer".

The corpse of a 59-year-old man identified only as Francois V was found in the southern town of Grau-du-Roi near Montpellier on Wednesday, French media reported.

A suicide note suggests he may have been "Le Grele", which translates as the pockmarked killer, accused of four murders and six rapes since 1986.

The crimes included the murder of a child, 11-year-old Cecile Bloch, in Paris.

She was reported missing by her mother when she failed to return home for lunch on 5 May 1986. After a search her partially naked body was found under and old carper in a cellar and evidence suggested she had been raped.

Other suspected murder victims were Gilles Politi, 38, a 20-year-old German woman, Irmgard Müller, and Karine Leroy, who was 19.

In his letter, the man reportedly said he had been in a poor mental state at the time of the crimes but had since "got himself together".

He is said to have been a gendarme, and to have had two children after getting married.

Newspapers Le Point and Parisien said he took his own life after becoming a suspect in the crimes and had been ordered to appear before a local magistrate.

Authorities had ordered him to appear before a magistrate but he failed to comply, according to Le Parisien.

A DNA test is being carried out on the body, reports said.

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