A 17-year-old Ivorian national living illegally in France has been arrested for the murder of a 68-year-old mother-of-four who was found in her Lille home with her throat slit and her lower body exposed.
The unaccompanied minor, named as Mohamed B., was arrested and taken into police custody on Wednesday evening after being apprehended by a police patrol vehicle as he looked for a hostel to spend the night.
According to French broadcaster BFM TV, the teenager was born in 2006 in the Ivory Coast and is in France illegally. It is understood he remains in police custody and is being questioned.
The victim had been found lying in a pool of blood in her kitchen on Wednesday by emergency responders, a police source told French newspaper Le Figaro.
A neighbor had reportedly heard screams coming from the house shortly after 11 a.m. and witnessed the youth strangling the woman, but was herself beaten by the attacker when she tried to intervene.
“She returned home and raised the alarm. When the police arrived, the attacker had already disappeared,” a source close to the investigation told French media.
Le Figaro reported that a transport card in the name of the suspect was found at the crime scene.
A police source revealed that Mohamed B., despite his tender age, was already “unfavorably known to the police” but gave no further details about his criminal background.
A preliminary investigation found no link between the victim and the suspect, and police are working on the basis that this was a random attack with no clear motive.
An autopsy was conducted on Thursday, but the results have not been made public yet.
It is unclear whether the victim had suffered any sexual assault before her murder.