13 years of investigation and false leads


Me Jean Mézerac, lawyer of the family of Marie-France Godard, wife of the doctor Yves Godard, December 20, 2006 in Caen
Jean Mézerac, lawyer of the family of Marie-France Godard, wife of Dr. Yves Godard, December 20, 2006 in Caen (Mychele Daniau / AFP)

Twenty years after the disappearance of the Godard family aboard a sailboat on September 1, 1999, the mystery remains on this case which ended with a dismissal in 2012 after a long investigation over clues sometimes resurfacing mysteriously during the course of instruction.

– 1 September 1999: Yves Godard, 44 years old, acupuncturist from Caen, leaves Saint-Malo (Ille-et-Vilaine) for a five-day cruise aboard a sailing yacht, the Nick, with his children, Marius (4 years old) and Camille (6 years old).

– Sept 2: Customs officers check the bay of Saint-Brieuc (Côtes-d'Armor) the passport of the doctor and see one of the children drowsed in the boat. This is where Nick's trail is lost.

– Sept 5: A fishing boat reports the annex of the drifting boat north of the island of Batz (Finistère). Inside, a jacket and a checkbook of the doctor. The boat should have returned to port that same day, the research is launched.

– Sept 8: The truck of Dr. Yves Godard is found by the gendarmes, abandoned in Saint-Malo and stained with the blood of Marie-France Godard.

– Sept 9: During a search of the family in Tilly-sur-Seulles (Calvados), the gendarmes find again traces of blood of the wife.

The portrait and research sheet of Dr. Yves Godard on the screen on a computer at Interpol headquarters, March 03, 2000 in Lyon, France
Dr. Yves Godard's portrait and research report on a computer at Interpol's headquarters, March 3, 2000 in Lyon (Eric Cabanis / AFP)

– Sept 10: A judicial investigation is opened against Yves Godard for murder on his wife.

– Sept 13: International arrest warrant against Dr. Godard.

– Sept 16: A yachtsman picks up a Nick lifejacket off La Hague (English Channel).

SEPTEMBER 23: The life raft of the sailboat is spotted near the British coast of Dorset.

Oct. 14: A hotelier from the Isle of Man (between England and Ireland) says that Dr. Godard and his children stayed at his house between September 7 and 14. Other anonymous information indicates its presence on Lewis Island (Scotland).

– Jan 14, 2000: Interruption of excavations around Tilly-sur-Seulles.

– Jan. 17: A bag containing papers and clothing Godard is fished off the island of Batz.

– May 9: International Rogatory Commission to continue investigations in Madeira (Portugal) where Yves Godard opened a bank account. The investigation reveals no movement of funds after his disappearance.

– June 6th: A trawler pulls up a piece of human skull, which the fishermen throw back into the water, then a second, smaller one. It will turn out to be that of Camille.

– Feb 6, 2001: A new testimony leads the investigators in Crete (Greece).

– Feb 11: The professional card of Yves Godard is discovered on the island of Ebihens (Côtes-d'Armor), then at the end of February a banking document belonging to him is found on the same island.

– May 24: A credit card in his name is fished by three meters deep near Saint-Jacut-de-la-Mer, where will be found at the end of July on a beach a leasing card of Dr. Godard.

– July 7, 2003: A witness claims to have met three times in Miami in early 2002 a man corresponding to the report of Yves Godard.

– August 8: A briefcase bearing the name of the doctor and containing nautical charts is found by a fisherman in the bay of Saint-Brieuc.

– 9 Apr 2005: A witness said he saw Yves Godard in South Africa in 2004.

Dr. Yves Godard in 1994
Dr. Yves Godard in 1994 (Mehdi Fedouach / AFP)

– End of September 2006: A gillnet in his nets a tibia and a femur 70 km north of Roscoff (Finistère).

– Dec 19: A first analysis confirms that the bones are those of Yves Godard

– 21 and 22 dec: Research at sea does not allow to trace the sailboat where the bones of Yves Godard were found.

– January 12, 2007: A second opinion confirms that the bones found in September 2006 are those of Yves Godard.

– December 14, 2008: a foot fisherman discovers the social insurance card of Dr. Godard who resurfaces mysteriously on the Ile des Ebihens (Côtes d'Armor), in good condition.

– September 14, 2012: an order of non-place is made, "for lack of charge", by the prosecutor of the Republic of Saint-Malo of the time, Alexandre de Bosschère. The case is closed.

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