The brother-in-law of a missing French couple has confessed to killing them and their two adult children with a crowbar, then dismembering the corpses, over an old inheritance dispute, authorities said Monday. The prosecutor in the western town of Nantes said at a news conference that Hubert Caouissin told investigators he slipped into the home of the Troadec family at night last month with the intention of retrieving a key, but found himself face to face with his brother-in-law, who the suspect said was holding a crowbar. Caouissin told investigators he managed to wrest the iron bar away, and that he first killed Pascal Troadec and his wife, Brigitte, then their two children, aged 21 and 18, the AP reports.
"It seems that the bodies were dismembered, that one part was buried, the other part burnt," prosecutor Pierre Sennes said. The prosecutor spoke of a "criminal scene of great violence." The motive behind the four killings allegedly was a family dispute over a poorly shared inheritance, including gold coins, Sennes said. Caouissin and his partner, Lydie Troadec—the sister of Pascal Troadec—are being questioned by investigating judges and are expected to be handed preliminary charges later Monday, the prosecutor said. The family disappeared Feb. 16, but their bodies have not been found. (Read more France stories.)