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Two detained in connection with missing French family

The brother-in-law and sister of a missing Frenchman have been taken into police custody. Pascal Troadec and his family vanished under mysterious circumstances in February and have yet to be found.

Pierre Sennes, a Nantes prosecutor, said on Sunday that the two had been detained in connection with the Troadec family's disappearance but declined to give their identities.

Sources close to the case told a local newspaper that the pair - the brother-in-law and sister of 49-year-old Pascal Troadec - had been questioned at the start of the probe. The two were taken into custody in the city of Brest, in the west of Brittany, as the police try to decipher if the family's disappearance was related to some sort of family dispute.

The case has gripped France since Pascal, his wife Brigitte, their son Sebastien, 21, and their daughter Charlotte, 18, vanished on February 16. Police searched the parents' home, where they discovered traces of blood, as well as signs that someone had attempted to wash away the blood.

Mounting evidence

Later, a jogger found further potential evidence, including charge cards and a pair of pants belonging to Charlotte, in a wooded area outside of the city. Then, last Friday, the son's car was discovered in Nantes, about 300 kilometers (186 miles) from where the daughter's possessions were found.

Though Sennes told French media following the discovery that the case was progressing rapidly, he said, "it is still very premature to imagine any scenario with certainty." However, authorities also said they suspect the son, Sebastien, of murdering his family.

The last time anyone saw or heard from the family was on February 16, the same day the mother and daughter notified police that someone had used Charlotte's bank card to pay for online video games. Neighbors said Sebastien suffered from mental illness, and he once got in trouble with the law for making death threats online.

On Thursday, investigators announced that they had widened their search and would employ the use of divers and helicopters in the hopes of locating the bodies.

blc/sms (AFP, EFE)

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