France's 'Black Widow': Did She Kill Her Lovers?


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Daniel Cano is believed by many to only be the latest victim of a woman who's been dubbed the "Black Widow of the French Alps".

Manuela Gonzalez stands accused of the 2008 drugging and murder of 58-year-old husband Cano. The suspect allegedly set the car containing his unconscious body on fire, leaving him to burn to death.

His remains were discovered in the burned-out shell of the car not too far from the home the couple shared in Villard-Bonnot, a township in the Isère region of the Alps.

Cano's manner of death alone would be suspicious enough in the eyes of law enforcement. However, investigators soon learned that the suspect had a string of relationships with men who had been been poisoned or died suddenly.

For example, a jeweler that Gonzalez dated in 1984 was hospitalized after drinking tea that she had served him. It had been laced with morphine derivatives. Reports claim that Gonzalez had intended to drug the man and get him to write her a check for over $16,000.

In 1989, a man that Gonzalez was in a relationship with was found dead in his car of an alleged suicide. He was killed by asphyxiation due to breathing exhaust fumes from his car.

A second man was killed from breathing in fumes from a fire that broke out in a flat the couple shared.

In light of how Cano died, these two deaths are seen as possible murders in retrospect.

Those who support Gonzalez believe the 'black widow' label is unfair, and that she should not be accountable for deaths that were never deemed murders. It is feared these events will create unfair bias in the current murder case.

The prosecution in the trial will use the mishaps in the lives of men associated with Gonzalez to demonstrate that she was likely to have been responsible for Cano's death.

Gonzalez continues to maintain her innocence.

The subject of women killers has always been fascinating to the general public. It is often assumed that women do not have the capacity to commit murder in the same vein as male offenders. However, recent trials and research is putting that stereotype to rest.

Image via Wikimedia Commons