Reuters, Published September 07 2012
VIDEO: Family feud in focus as French seek clues to Alps slayings
Police sources have identified the dead car driver as Saad al-Hilli, an Iraqi-born Briton, and are working on the theory that he was holidaying in the picturesque Annecy region with his wife and two daughters and their grandmother.
Two girls, whose ages of around 8 and 4 match the account that neighbors in Britain give of Hilli's family, survived and are under police protection in hospital. A local cyclist who was passing the scene was also shot dead.
"We received information from the British authorities about a money dispute between two brothers of this family," state prosecutor Eric Maillaud told Reuters on Friday. "It's an interesting line of investigation, but one among many."
Investigators were planning to talk on Friday to the 4-year-old, who was being looked after at a psychiatric hospital in the city of Grenoble after spending eight hours hiding under dead bodies in the car, apparently too scared to move, while police sealed the vehicle to await a forensics team.
The other girl, aged around 8 and believed to be her sister, was badly beaten and was due to undergo a second operation in Grenoble for severe head injuries.
Shocked neighbors of Hilli in rural Surrey, south of London, described the family as friendly and normal.
Hilli was an engineer who helped to design the kitchen of the European Airbus aircraft, according to his accountant, Julian Stedman. Stedman has also said Hilli worked in a satellite technology firm near the family home.
"We are all in shock here," said Fiona Davis, a neighbor of the family in the village of Claygate whose son goes to the same school as Hilli's elder daughter.
"Nobody knows what goes on behind closed doors, but it didn't seem like a family that would have enemies."
Maillaud said post-mortems would be carried out on Friday on the four dead. A team of 11 forensics experts including ballistics and profiling specialists were sent in from near Paris, national police officer Jacques Hebrard told BFM TV.
Maillaud was due to hold a news conference at 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) to give an update on progress by French and British police.
The dead French cyclist has been identified as a local man, Sylvain Mollier, who was out on a bike ride in the area.