It was an unthinkably grisly, almost medieval end for two French tourists visiting a seaside hot spot in Madagascar. A seething mob tortured, castrated and burned the men alive, using cell phones to film their dying agonies.
This really happened. It’s not an Eli Roth horror movie.
Now family and friends—not to mention the authorities—are trying to sort out how Roberto Gianfalla and Sebastien Judalet ended up dead on a white-sand beach. The men had been accused of engaging in pedophilia and organ trafficking, but Madagascar police reports indicate that they were never suspects.
Gianfalla, 50, was a pizza chef, father and traveler who had lived in New Mexico, Florida, North Carolina, France and Sicily. Judalet, 38, was a single father of an 11-year-old girl and worked as a bus driver in Paris. Both were on the trendy island of Nosy Be on tourist visas, and both were thrown alive into a bonfire after being accused of killing and castrating an 8-year-old local boy for the purpose of organ trafficking.
Reports from Madagascar police say there is absolutely no connection between the men and the boy’s death. Vincent Lanza, a community leader on the island, told AFP that the boy was found wet, and there is speculation by Madagascar authorities that he drowned before someone cut off his genitals.
But the mob appeared to be certain of tourists’ guilt after local leaders tortured and questioned the two men for 12 hours before their execution.
So who were these victims, really?
Gianfalla had both Italian and French passports but had lived and worked in many cities in the United States. Below is an unusual video of him in Taos, New Mexico, where he opened the restaurant Pizza Piazza.
A Facebook page called “Soutien à Roberta Gianfalla” (“Support for Roberto Gianfalla”) has now been set up in his honor and has 46 members.
Judalet also has a Facebook page that was set up for him with 488 members. Many of the members are sharing this photo:
The ghoulish mob recorded Judalet’s last words in a widely circulated snuff video. Right before he was stripped, castrated and thrown into the flames, he screamed, “I am the victim of a conspiracy. I am innocent. I love kids. I have a little girl.”