Family Members 'Removed From Society' Jumped From Building

Swiss police had tried to summon the father shortly before
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 24, 2022 1:37 PM CDT
Updated Mar 30, 2022 9:25 AM CDT
Swiss Police Investigate Family's Plunge From Building
A forensic police officers inspects the scene from the balcony of an apartment building in Montreux, Switzerland, on Thursday.   (Cyril Zingaro/Keystone via AP)

Update: Four members of a French family who fell to their deaths from an apartment building in Switzerland last week jumped "one after the other," according to police. A 40-year-old man, his 41-year-old wife, her twin sister, and the couple's 8-year-old daughter died. The couple's 15-year-old son also apparently jumped and is now in a coma, reports the New York Times. Police said a stepladder was found on the seventh-floor balcony of an apartment where officers had arrived to summon the father in regards to the home-schooling of his son. Officers, who were not permitted entry, said there was no one else at the scene and no signs of a disturbance. They added the family lived "removed from society" and apparently in "fear of an interference by the authorities." Our original story from Thursday follows:

Swiss police say three adults and a child have died and a teenager was seriously injured after falling from a seven-story residential building Thursday in the lakeside town of Montreux. Police said the victims were all French citizens and members of the same family. Officers had tried to execute a warrant in connection with the home-schooling of a child shortly before the incident. In a statement, police identified the people killed as a 40-year-old man, his 41-year-old wife, her twin sister, and the couple's 8-year-old daughter. They said the couple's 15-year-old son was seriously injured.

Authorities have opened an investigation “to determine the exact circumstances and reasons for this tragedy,” police said. A regional police spokesperson, Alexandre Bisenz, told the AP that he couldn't immediately confirm Swiss media reports that the five had jumped. However, Bisenz said that was the likely explanation, per the New York Times. Police said two officers had knocked on the door of an apartment and identified themselves. “Unable to make contact with the possible occupants, they left the place,” said the statement. “In the meantime, a witness called the police to report that people had fallen from the balcony of an apartment.” Montreux, a bucolic lakeside city, is best known as a tourist hot spot and in particular for its annual jazz festival.

(Read more Switzerland stories.)

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