She was young, beautiful, destined to become an incredible actress and turn everything upside down in her path: at 25, Pauline Lafont seemed to have her life ahead of her. Daughter of New Wave actress Bernadette Lafont, she had inherited her mischievous face, her blue eyes and her round cheeks, but above all her talent and cheeky cheeks, which presaged a bright future.
But life will have decided otherwise: on this hot start to the day in August 1988, the young woman is on vacation in the family home in the Cévennes with her brother. She has breakfast with them and the gardener, who is also a friend, before telling them that she is going for a walk in the scrubland behind the house. The scrubland has been their playground since childhood: far from the Parisian film sets where their mother evolves, Pauline and David grew up there, in the Cévennes and know nature by heart.
Dressed in a light dress according to her brother, she takes no identity papers with her… but will never come back : not seeing her return at noon, David is worried, he goes for a ride on his motorbike, tries to find her but without success. He warns his mother, who in turn is worried and calls the gendarmes the same evening. 20 gendarmes, 40 firefighters, a helicopter and dozens of volunteers are called on the spot but in vain, the research which will last several months, with ups and downs will yield nothing. However, David insists and even contacts the President of the Republic… without success.
Three months of intensive research and hypotheses
For the gendarmes, it is a kidnapping, the inhabitants of the village think of an accident. But when the media are informed, it is the avalanche of proposals: some think of a sect, say it is in cure, on the run, about to commit suicide… In short, the hypotheses are linked and surge on the family without ever giving anything. It must be said that the Lafont family is known and that everyone only cares about that, sometimes torturing the actress who, according to public opinion, does not show enough sadness.
“I was tortured. I was harassed. Someone even asked me one day to swear that I didn’t know where Pauline was… I don’t have to account to anyone for my pain, nor for the way I feel it and express it“, she said a year later in Paris Match.
The media madness subsided at the end of the summer, and in November, three months after the young woman’s disappearance, the tragic end of the story was revealed: a shepherd fell on a skeleton which turned out to be to be that of Pauline, according to a jogging, found on her, a ring and her teeth. The hypotheses were all wrong: Pauline died instantly, from the start, because of her fall. And for his mother, the mourning could begin. “Pauline is always with me“, she said. Nine years ago, she finally joined her.
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