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Police are trying to trace a number of people suspected
Police are trying to trace a number of people suspected of involvement in the brutal murder of a French businessman, his wife and three-year-old daughter in downtown Moscow, the Russian Investigation Committee said.

The badly-burned body of French wine trader Thierry Spinelli along with his 30-year-old wife Olga and daughter were found by firefighters when they attended a fire at the family's apartment in central Moscow. The hands of the woman were tied up, and she appeared to have been strangled.

"A number of people believed to be involved in the murder, have been established," the committee said in a statement. "Steps to trace and detain them are being taken at the moment."

Investigators earlier suggested that Spinelli may have been involved in the death of his wife and daughter. Close family friends dismissed the theory as "nonsense."

"It was established that the death of the couple and their three-year-old daughter was violent - they were strangled," Investigation Committee spokesman Vladimir Markin said. "In addition, their apartment had been robbed."

A popular Russian tabloid, Komsomolskaya Pravda alleged after interviewing people who knew the family that the murder may have been committed by a group of Uzbek migrant workers, who were carrying out the renovation of an upstairs apartment.

"Thierry said that the workers had repeatedly flooded his apartment," the newspaper quoted a family acquaintance as saying. " Thierry had an argument with them. They apparently got very angry."

Investigators have not released any information on who they suspect of the killings.

The newspaper said, citing an anonymous police source that Spinelli's wife was strangled with a towel in the bathroom. His daughter was also strangled, and later stabbed with a kitchen knife.

Spinelli, who was a co-founder of the Chateau le Grand Vostok winery in the Krasnodar Region, had lived in Russia for more than ten years. His wife was a Russian national, while his daughter had dual Russian-French citizenship.

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