Mina El Houari had been planning their first date for weeks. The 25-year-old from Cadenet in southeast France had been chatting for several months with the handsome suitor from Morocco.
Keen for a boyfriend, El Houari must have seen romantic promise in their online friendship — enough to buy a plane ticket and fly to the North African nation to meet him in person.
She arrived in Fez, Morocco’s third-largest city, on May 19 and booked herself into a five-star hotel before heading out to meet her date, according to regional daily La Provence.
But the evening was about to take a disastrous turn: Within hours, El Houari would be buried alive in the man’s backyard, slowly suffocating.
The man, who has not been named, told police that the evening was going well until El Houari suddenly and inexplicably keeled over and collapsed.
Believing she had dropped dead, the man says he went into a panic about how to dispose of her body. He decided to bury her in his back garden, claiming he was in such a rush that he failed to realize she was still breathing.
It later emerged that El Houari was an undiagnosed diabetic and had been in a diabetic coma when she was placed in the makeshift grave.
The man said nothing of the tragedy and nobody was any the wiser. El Houari’s relatives, however, smelled a rat, filing a missing persons report with Moroccan police after they were unable to contact her, even flying to Fez to search for her.
After speaking with the El Houari family, police interviewed the man over her disappearance and raided his home.
They found muddy trousers and a shovel before unearthing the gruesome crime scene.
The man reportedly confessed and has been charged with involuntary manslaughter.
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