French police have revealed the identity of a woman whose dismembered body was found in Buttes-Chaumont Park in Paris on Valentine’s Day. The woman was identified as Assia Matoug, a 46-year-old married mother of three who disappeared from her home in Seine-Saint-Denis, a northeastern district of the city, on January 31. Her lower torso was discovered in a plastic bag on February 13 by park staff, and the next day, more remains, including a decapitated head, were found at the end of a disused railway line.
Using the victim’s fingerprints, authorities in the French capital learned that Matoug was likely killed before she was dismembered. Police added that she was still clothed in floral-patterned jeans when the horrific incident took place. “Obviously, the body was cut dressed,” a source said. “The corpse was not in a state of putrefaction, which seems to attest to a recent death.”
Parts of Matoug’s body were found in a wooded area of the 61-acre park, which is popular with families and joggers. Some of the remains had been stashed in plastic bags. “The first bag was found in an area used by park workers to dump waste. It was hidden under a pile of leaves, and inside was a section of body cut from below the chest to the knees,” the source added.
Matoug’s husband, Youcef Matoug, reported her missing on February 6, a week after she initially vanished. He was said to be “in a state of great distress” and was juggling his grief with looking after the couple’s three children, aged eight, 14, and 17. “He was in a state of shock and said he had been too overcome with grief to speak to police earlier,” said an investigating source.
Police have opened a murder inquiry, and a major search operation was launched on February 14, which saw the park temporarily cordoned off. A diving team has also been called in to search the park’s lake following the discovery. No suspects have been identified so far. Buttes-Chaumont Park, which opened in 1867, is the fifth-largest park in the French capital and is a popular spot with families and tourists. The green space is home to a number of popular attractions, including the famous Temple de la Sibylle, which sits on top of the artificial lake.