Jonathann Daval wore his wedding jacket to his wife's funeral and delivered a tearful tribute to her at a memorial event, appearing the perfect image of a grieving husband, per the BBC and Guardian. Months after 29-year-old Alexia Daval's partially burned body was found in a wooded area near the French town of Gray, however, he's now been painted a killer. Daval, 34, was detained by police on Monday and admitted under questioning to killing his wife, though "he says it was an accident, that he did not want to do it, and that he regrets it," his lawyer, Randall Schwerdorffer, told reporters, per the AFP. Alexia's strangled body was found hidden by tree branches miles from her usual jogging route two days after Daval reported her missing on Oct. 28, telling police she had apparently disappeared while out for a run.
Details linking Daval to the killing are now trickling out. Per AFP, a neighbor heard a car leaving the couple's home on the night of Oct. 27, and tire tracks from Daval's work vehicle matched those found near Alexia's body, which was reportedly covered with a sheet believed to be from the couple's home. Tensions between the pair were high as they struggled to conceive a child, sources add, per the Local. Daval had earlier told police that bite marks and scratches on his hands resulted from an argument the pair had the day before Alexia vanished, per the BBC. "Alexia had an overwhelming personality, so he felt diminished," Schwerdorffer says. "At one point too many words were said, a fit of anger proved too much, and he couldn't control himself." He says Daval maintains he didn't burn his wife's body.