the work of the La Rochelle cybergendarme that started it all

At first glance, nothing should inspire so much pride on the part of the Charente-Maritime gendarmerie. And yet. In August 2019, this terrible…

At first glance, nothing should inspire so much pride on the part of the Charente-Maritime gendarmerie. And yet. In August 2019, this terrible file was created in this very department. The 30-year-old is on a family holiday at Rivedoux-Plage campsite on Ile de Ré. He is caught in the act of voyeurism. He was taking a picture of a woman with a cell phone in the shower.

If the gendarmes of Saint-Martin-de-Ré had immediately confused the suspect by looking at the latest footage from his phone, it might have been over. But the laptop is thrown away, put on airplane mode and sealed according to protocol. “Frozen” as a crime scene. If Order Julien Laubreton had been content only to carry out the mission required of him, the matter could have been over. This digital forensics expert from the Charente-Maritime gendarmerie has talent. He sensed the danger.

Single image

This August 16, 2019, Chief of Staff Laubreton is in his office in La Rochelle when he is asked to quickly operate his cell phone in order to take a personal portrait. The owner is not from the department, you have to act quickly. “The fact that he was caught in the act and his cell phone was immediately put away made it possible to find the exact footage of the camp,” he says. If he had to search for deleted files, it would take more time. »

I discover a surprising photo with a baby on it, which appears to be child pornography, but whose author I don’t see.

Very quickly, the cybercriminal finds what is required of him. “I never directly control the phone. I plug it in and copy everything on my computer. All images are visible in the output. Before his eyes, several hundred images are displayed in a mosaic on his screen. The latest news to date concerns the crime of voyeurism.

But Julien Laubreton’s eye is immediately drawn to an old file. This is as of June 2019. “I have discovered a surprising, if we say shocking, photo of a baby, child pornography, but whose author we have not seen. We simply see a hand and bracelet made of black and silver balls. I see that the photo was actually taken from the phone’s camera. I understand that we have to go further. In addition to the images posted, I have the right to intervene if I discover that there are others related to a crime or criminal case. »

Identify the author

What he saw was nothing but the rape of a 15-day-old baby. The author sexually assaults a baby in a single photo. He must find out who is in this photo at all costs. “I immediately called the Gendarmerie of Saint-Martin-de-Ré to inform them of these findings and ask for a new investigation into the crime. I learned all the images from the phone to hang the bracelet on someone. I found one where we saw a man in a restaurant with his family. The bracelet she wears is the same. »

At the time of this investigation, Julien Laubreton does not know that the baby is his father, uncle and cousin. It is by sending this new photo that his colleagues confirm to him that the author is the man they are questioning about the voyeurism facts and that he is a young father. The public prosecutor’s office of La Rochelle abandoned the rape investigation in favor of the public prosecutor’s office of La Roche-sur-Yon. The rape allegedly took place at the family home in Sables-d’Olonne.

The searches will reveal nearly 50,000 pornographic images, including 500 images of minors, all downloaded from the Internet. Julien Laubreton is not surprised. “When there’s child pornography stored on a phone, there’s bound to be a few of them. This thing is never wrong. »

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