“Tell us if you are well”: this Azuréan vanished without a trace, the shock of his loved ones who are still looking for him

“Tell us if you are well”: this Azuréan vanished without a trace, the shock of his loved ones who are still looking for him
“Tell us if you are well”: this Azuréan vanished without a trace, the shock of his loved ones who are still looking for him

For a year, Viviane and Armand Biri have been living with a ghost. Julien is absent, but he is there, in a song, in a dream, or ready to come home overnight. “Some days, it’s okay, and suddenly, we don’t know why, the tears come, Viviane breathes. Not knowing is terrible. Until this is resolved. We will always be stuck.”

Their only son Julien, 45, was last seen at 6:43 a.m. on May 3, 2023 by a surveillance camera in Vence, walking on the road to Saint-Paul-de-Vence, with a backpack, while he should have gone to work. And it completely vanished.

No leads to remember… or to discard

No more telephone or banking activity. No corpse. The searches turned up nothing. A year later, neither his family, nor the justice system, nor the associations assisting in the search for missing persons have gleaned the slightest clue to put into their mouths. And no leads to rule out.

“This is one of the most complex cases I have had.underlines Karine Ragot, from the ARPD association (Assistance in searching for missing persons). Take a hallway with 50 doors. You open one, there are 50 other doors. And none to close. It’s annoying.”

A nightmare

Loved ones and colleagues still talk about trauma, nightmares, shock. How did this “sweet” son, appreciated by colleagues and customers at the Biocoop de Vence, where he worked, get there? Everyone replays the last few days over and over again, looking for answers. On May 1, he was photographed all smiles after playing in a participatory theater play at the Salle des Meules. The day before his departure, he ate with his parents. And on the big day, his manager, Caroline Albert, was the last person to speak to him.

Julien was expected at 6:30 that morning. At 6:45 a.m., she calls him: “He answers and he was weird. He told me his knee hurts. But he was already leaving and he didn’t say anything.”

The gendarmes believed that he wanted to flee

Immersed in politics since childhood, with his parents involved in the CGT, Julien suffers from the world in which he lives. He lets those around him understand that he wants to leave, to leave this unsustainable society.

An adult has the right to disappear if they wish. This is what the gendarmes remember at the beginning. After ten days, they communicate to Nice morning: “This disappearance is not described as worrying because this person would have expressed the wish to leave because he was in disagreement with current society. A judicial investigation is opened and his profile is published in the file of wanted persons. But he there is no excessive search since there is no immediate danger.”

He suffered from psychiatric disorders

However, there is something else. Julien is ill: he has suffered from depression for several years. Until having to take treatment and being interned. He cut himself off from others, sank into paranoia, lost his sense of reality. He wrote letters after letters, sometimes to say that he was the king. An article says that a bar burned down at Place de la Nation? For Julien, the Nation is burning.

“It was falling apart”, summarizes his mother. Relatives and colleagues have seen his condition deteriorate and want it to be taken seriously by the police. Today, there is still anger. “The problem is that he was never diagnosed and the psychiatrist stood behind professional secrecy, reports Élisabeth, who had been Julien’s companion for seventeen years. But the investigation was beneath everything. I insisted. I was told that on camera [la dernière image de lui] he walks at a brisk pace. What do you want me to say?”

“Absolutely no leads”

Julien Biri died last year at the age of 45. (DR).

The Grasse public prosecutor jumped. Damien Savarzeix assures that justice took the matter very seriously: “We never considered that there was nothing worrying. We have been investigating for a year, we have multiplied the requisitions, all without success. It is a file that we are following carefully, but it is incredibly light. We managed to get absolutely no leads to locate this person.”

Did Julien commit suicide? Has he found refuge in an eco-place? In a sanctuary? Has he rebuilt his life? Maybe he has children? Everything seems possible in the eyes of loved ones. So his parents search, with the help of the ARPD. Especially since the mediums promised Viviane that he was alive. “Search in the Wolf!” So Viviane looked. Had Julien told a Swiss friend that he would like to come? Viviane calls the eco-places on the road. Did Julien like caving? The ARPD found volunteer cavers to search the cavities in the Vence sector.

His parents are looking for him everywhere

And then there are the dreams where she asks her son to talk to her. “He told me: “Argentina”. And last year, we went to the La Brigue sheep festival – we do all the mountain festivals, in case he became a shepherd – and on the map, I see the Argentina River. In this Italian valley, there is Triora, the village of witches. We went there, but he didn’t want to show up. » Everything is good to take. Likewise, the retiree attends meetings of relatives of psychiatric patients or those hearing voices: “I’m doing this in anticipation of when he comes back. I’ll need to be able to help him.”

A year later, the courts plan to close the investigation. But Julien’s parents will never be able to give up. “I hope it doesn’t last for years, because we’ll be exhausted, sigh Viviane and Armand. But there is no body. We can not do otherwise. We don’t know what’s best, but there’s hope.” In her quest, Viviane never stops thanking those who mobilized for Julien. And sends a message to his son: “Can you tell the people around you to tell us you’re okay?”


Julien Biri disappeared in Vence last year, at the age of 45. He is 1.84m tall, has brown eyes and baldness. The courts are always interested in any information that could advance the investigation. Contact the Vence territorial brigade (1) or the public prosecutor of Grasse (2).

An association for relatives of victims

An association offers help to relatives of missing people: the ARPD. It has an antenna in the Alpes-Maritimes (3).

(1) 669, avenue Émile-Hugues.

(2) [email protected]

(3) Membership (lifetime) is 40 euros. arpd.fr or



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