Marcel Petiot - Medical and Political Career

Medical and Political Career

After the war, Petiot entered the accelerated education program intended for war veterans, completed medical school in eight months and became an intern at the mental hospital in Évreux. He received his medical degree in December 1921 and moved to Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, where he received payment for his services both from the patients and from government medical assistance funds. At this point, he was already using addictive narcotics. While working at Villeneuve-sur-Yonne, he gained a reputation for dubious medical practices, such as supplying narcotics, performing then-illegal abortions, and theft, e.g., money from the town's treasury, the bass drum of a local band, and the stone cross.

Petiot's first victim might have been Louise Delaveau (the daughter of an elderly patient), with whom he had an affair in 1926. Delaveau disappeared in May, and neighbors later said they had seen Petiot load a trunk into his car. Police investigated but eventually dismissed her as a runaway. That same year, Petiot ran for mayor of the town and hired an accomplice to disrupt a political debate with his opponent. He won, and while in office, he embezzled town funds.

In June 1927, he married Georgette Lablais, the 23-year-old daughter of a wealthy landowner and butcher in Seignelay. Their son Gerhardt was born in April 1928.

The Prefect of Yonne Département received many complaints about Petiot's thefts and shady financial deals. Petiot was eventually suspended as mayor in August 1931 and resigned. However, he still had many supporters, and the village council also resigned in sympathy. Five weeks later, on 18 October, he was elected as a councilor of Yonne Département. In 1932, he was accused of stealing electric power from the village and he lost his council seat. Meanwhile, he had already moved to Paris.

In Paris, Petiot attracted patients with his imaginary credentials and built an impressive reputation for his practice at 66 Rue de Caumartin. However, there were rumors of illegal abortions and excessive prescriptions of addictive remedies. In 1936, he was appointed médecin d'état-civil, with authority to write death certificates. The same year, he was briefly institutionalized for kleptomania, but was released the following year. He still persisted in tax evasion.

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