Three French sisters were run down and killed by a car on a motorway, leaving authorities baffled Saturday about why they were walking on the remote stretch far from home late at night.
The bodies of the girls, aged 12, 13 and 19, could not be formally identified by a friend of the family, and authorities were due to use DNA analysis to confirm their identities, said prosecutors.
Police said the girls who died on the A7 motorway near Valence in the southeastern Drome region came from a family of travellers or itinerants with 18 children who had settled in Marseille, 180 kilometers (110 miles) away.
Valence public prosecutor Antoine Paganelli told reporters the future husband of one of the family’s other daughters had seen the bodies but was unable to confirm their identities beyond doubt.
“The bodies are in a state that makes positive identification difficult,” he said.
“We are quite sure, but not 100 percent certain, of having identified the three young daughters of a Marseille family.”
Police said the parents, who had been traced through a cellphone found at the crash scene, were too devastated to travel to the morgue.
They had told police that the three girls had left home on Friday without saying where they were going, but that the family had not been overly concerned and had not reported their disappearance.
The prosecutor said that “one wonders how the girls were able to enter the highway, because the nearest entry point was 17 kilometers away.”