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France Train Murder Suspect Held

January 11, 2000

PARIS (AP) _ A man suspected of a series of grisly slayings on night trains in France was arrested in Portugal on Tuesday after fleeing there to escape a nationwide manhunt, police said.

Sid Ahmed Rezala, 20, went into hiding when French police said he was a suspect in the killings of two women, one French and one British. He later became a suspect in a third slaying.

Rezala was surrounded by armed police and arrested in Barreiro, about 12 miles south of Lisbon, Portuguese police said. He had been in Portugal for a week, they said.

He had been staying in Barreiro with friends of a Spanish acquaintance and was planning to leave within 24 hours for Spain’s Canary Islands, police inspector Luis Neves said. Rezala did not resist arrest, he added.

Authorities were able to locate Rezala in part because he used his cellular phone to make calls from Portugal to his girlfriend, whose phone was bugged, according to Frederic Desaunettes, an investigating magistrate in Dijon, France.

Rezala is suspected in the Dec. 14 murder of Corinne Caillaux, a 36-year-old Frenchwoman, whose stabbed body was found in a bathroom of the night train from Calais to Ventimiglia, Italy.

He is also the prime suspect in the killing of English law student, Isabelle Peake, whose body was found Oct. 13 beside a railroad track. She had been a passenger on the night train from Limoges to Paris.

Rezala was suspected in a third murder after police found the body of 20-year-old Emilie Bazin, reportedly an acquaintance of the suspect, under a coal pile in the basement of an old building in Amiens, north of Paris, on Dec. 17.

Neves said Rezala would appear for an extradition hearing at a court in the city on Wednesday.

Rezala was freed in June from a prison near Marseille where he had served time for ``violence with a knife.″

Lawyers for Rezala’s family were relieved to hear of the arrest.

``It’s the result we have been hoping for since the beginning of this case and it’s also what his family wanted, after going through a month of suffering caused by repeated questioning,″ said Jean-Claude Richard, one of the lawyers.

In December, police detained six of Rezala’s family for questioning. His parents had urged him to return to France and give himself up.

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