Hidden among the chaos that was World War II was a man, a Parisian doctor, who claimed to be a member of the French Resistance. His neighbors and colleagues held him in high regard. No one suspected that this physician was using this horrifying time in history to cover up a web of deception and murder for his own financial gain. That man was Dr. Marcel Andre Henri Felix Petiot.
Petiot’s Rise To Terror
Petiot’s untimely draft into the French Infantry at the beginning of World War I began a domino effect, foreshadowing the deceit that was to come.
He was quickly discharged for shooting himself in the foot, committed to a mental institution that diagnosed him with multiple mental ailments, and was arrested for theft many times over the years.
Looking for a fresh start, Petiot enrolled in medical school for vets. He completed his medical degree in only eight months. This accomplishment was short-lived. Petiot almost immediately began over-prescribing narcotics to his patients as well as himself.
After settling in and gaining somewhat of an appreciation from the community in which he resided, World War II erupted.
Petiot saw an opportunity. He created an escape route, the Fly-Tox. The price was 25,000 Francs per escapee, with a promise of safe passage into Argentina and away from persecution. The offer was clearly marketed towards victims of the war.
As soon as Petiot had the money and the individual alone, his true intentions became clear. He insisted that a vaccine was crucial to travel to South America. He conveniently would have the vaccine ready to administer. Each syringe was filled with deadly cyanide.
The Smoking Gun
This horrifying cycle continued without notice. That is, however, until Marcel’s home began to produce smoke while he was not home. Concerned neighbors contacted the fire department.
After entrance through a second-story window, the men immediately recognized that something was amiss. Scattered among the home were dead bodies and dismembered body parts. Further investigation revealed a deep pit also filled with human remains and quicklime.
Petiot had his story planned and ready. He insisted that he was a member of the French Resistance who only lured unsuspecting Germans and their allies into his death trap in order to do his part in the war.
Unfortunately, it worked like a charm. At least for the moment.
The Flight And The Final Capture
After being released with zero consequence, Petiot fled his home. In the meantime, the French police were investigating further into Petiot. They quickly realized that his claims of only murdering Nazi allies were extremely false.
Petiot was on the run for a good reason, but he was soon to be a captured man. After being recognized at a metro station in Paris, he was finally incarcerated.
Dr. Marcel Petiot was charged with 26 counts of first-degree murder for the number of bodies that were able to be reconstructed and counted at his home.
At his trial, Petiot never admitted that his main targets were victims of the war. He did, however, admit to having over 60 victims in total, which he burned or dissolved in quicklime. He was swiftly sentenced to death by guillotine.
On May 25, 1946, Petiot was beheaded with countless victims’ blood on his hands. Dubbed “Dr. Satan” by the French media, Petiot is still considered to be one of France’s most prolific and haunting serial killers.