Four French students have been arrested and indicted in connection with the killing of a 23-year-old woman who was found dead last week, dismembered and decomposing in a plastic container filled with acid, police said.
Three men and a woman, ages 19 to 23, were indicted in southern France during the weekend in connection with the slaying, which was thought to be inspired by AMC’s dark drama “Breaking Bad,” the prosecutor told Agence France-Presse. Two men were indicted for murder, drug trafficking and robbery. The third was indicted for murder by complicity. The men remain in custody.
The woman was indicted for drug trafficking and put under judicial supervision.
Eva Bourseau, a 23-year-old former student in Toulouse, France, apparently owed the drug dealers more than $6,500. When she failed to pay, the suspects sought revenge, police said. On July 26, two male suspects reportedly went to her apartment and allegedly beat her to death with “brass knuckles and a crowbar,” according to a rough translation of a French AFP report.
Bourseau was allegedly killed by a blow to the head, according to the French newspaper Local.
The prosecutor said when it came time to hide the evidence, the suspects took a cue from “Breaking Bad,” a TV show in which characters Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) were seen several times throughout the series disposing of victims’ bodies by submerging them in plastic tubs filled with hydrofluoric acid. The suspects allegedly used chlorine acid, according to Radio France Internationale.
The suspects bought “the acid and a polyethylene trunk to immerse the body,” the prosecutor told AFP. Then they allegedly removed Bourseau’s legs to fit her entire body into the container, according to the Local.
For days after the incident, police said, the suspects returned to the scene, stealing from her apartment and spraying air fresheners to mask the stench.
It wasn’t until about 10 days after Bourseau’s death that police found her remains.
Police responded to a call Aug. 3 from Bourseau’s mother and a friend who said they had not been able to reach her for two weeks, according to the Local. When police arrived at the scene, the door was locked, forcing firefighters to climb in through a skylight. They found her body in “advanced stages of decomposition,” a police representative told AFP, according to the Local.
Bourseau was a former student at a top university in Toulouse where she reportedly studied humanities and languages. She had dropped out and fallen in with “the wrong crowd,” according to Radio France Internationale.
Indeed, fictional portrayals similar to her death and disposal were captured in “Breaking Bad.” In season one, for instance, Pinkman poured hydrofluoric acid into a bathtub to dispose of his former business partner Emilio Koyama. The acid ate through the tub and the second floor of the home. In seasons four and five, White and Pinkman used the same method to destroy bodies.
Over the years, others have cited the show as inspiration for crime.
Last year, 28-year-old Jason Hart pleaded guilty in Washington state to strangling his girlfriend in 2013 and trying to dissolve her body in acid, WHQ-TV reported. He took a plea deal that put him behind bars for a roughly 14-year prison sentence.
A woman in the United Kingdom last year said she mimicked the show when she tried to poison her mother. “It was like I saw myself to be some kind of Mexican drug warlord,” she said in court, according to the Guardian. “I would think it through as if I was the main character in ‘Breaking Bad.'” A man from Liverpool was found guilty this year of trying to buy enough ricin to kill 1,400 people from a dealer on the Dark Web, BBC News reported.
The case in France is still under investigation.