Murder of Baptiste Lormand: another person implicated in crime against French businessman arrested

24/04/2021

Mexico City police arrested a man allegedly linked to the November murder of a French businessman and his Mexican business partner, the local prosecutor's office said Saturday. The detainee, 39, is believed to be "possibly linked to the murder of two men who were involved in the sale of wines and spirits, one of them a French national," the Mexican capital's prosecutor's office said in a statement.

Baptiste Lormand, 45, also a gastronomic businessman, and his Mexican partner, Luis Orozco, were found dead in the south of Mexico City on November 28 with signs of violence, after having been reported missing a day earlier. The arrest took place in the neighborhood of Álvaro Obregón, located in the west of the Mexican capital. He is the second person arrested for the crime that shocked the French community living in Mexico.

When the bodies of businessman Baptiste Jacques Daniel Lormand and his business partner Luis Orozco were found, both had "dried blood stains on their faces," according to the description of officials from the Secretariat of Citizen Security (SSC) who responded to the report in Santa Maria Magdalena Petlacalco, in the south of the capital, in Tlalpan. "Homicide by blows," they noted in the statement.

Neither the police nor the forensic services reported the presence of shell casings or ballistic elements in the vacant lot where the bodies of the French restaurateur and his Mexican partner were found at 2:00 a.m. on Saturday. The head of the Mexico City police, Omar García Harfuch, assured that they had no evidence to suggest that the murders were related to extortion, extortion or even kidnapping. He explained that the first line of investigation was related to the commercial activity of the victims: the sale of high-end liquor.

"Apparently they were robbed of some bottles with high commercial value. It should be noted that we have identified a modus operandi consisting of the simulation of the purchase and sale of goods offered to the public," said the secretary. Some of the businessman's friends told El País that on the day they disappeared, they had gone to sell a batch of "high-end" wines - worth approximately half a million pesos (US$25,000) - in the south of the capital.

The French community in Mexico and the restaurateurs who called for an afternoon march today do not rule out that it was a crime committed by one of the capital's local mafias. Cartels such as the Tepito Union have a long history of extortion in the Polanco area. Before leaving his house, Baptiste Lormand had a meal with friends. He and his partner left at 6:20 p.m. in a black van that was captured by C5 cameras. They were heading to Tlalpan Avenue and from there they headed south.

Not yet 24 hours had passed since that moment and his wife had already made the corresponding report to the authorities. The city cameras only captured two more locations before losing his trail completely: one at 18:46 hours (Thursday) on Periferico Avenue, still in the limits of the Miguel Hidalgo district; and another at 19:38 hours in the San Pedro Martir neighborhood, already in Tlalpan. There they detected that he was accompanied by his manager in a white rented car.

That was the last time they saw them. The bodies appeared almost two days later in a vacant lot not far from there. In addition to bruises from blows and bloodstains, the bodies had their hands bound. Baptiste Lorman was the owner of the canteen "Surtidora Don Batiz", at number 93 Julio Verne, in Polanco IV.

The country has been suffering a spiral of violence for several years. In 2020, 34,552 intentional homicides were recorded nationwide, of which 1,268 were committed in the capital, according to government figures that attribute most of the cases to organized crime.

By Mexicanist