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Frenchman Arrested After Missing Briton David King Found in Well: Report

LONDON — A French man has been arrested for allegedly throwing his 70-year-old neighbor down a well in northern France, media reports and a friend said Friday.

British national David King had been missing for nearly six months when police sniffer dogs found his body Wednesday in the well behind his neighbor's house, King's friend Ivor Widdison told NBC News.

King’s 28-year-old neighbor was taken into custody after allegedly telling police he threw him down the well following an argument, Caen state prosecutor Carole Étienne said, according to The Times of London and other newspapers. NBC News contacted local French officials, who were not immediately able to confirm the arrest.

But Widdison — who has been working with police since his friend’s disappearance in October — confirmed the veracity of the reports to NBC News.

"It’s just such a mystery," the 78-year-old retiree told NBC News. "Dave was a big guy, I’d say about 6' 2". It would be extremely difficult to pick him up and put him into a well. So how did he get there?"

King moved from London to northern France 15 years ago after retiring as a forklift-truck driver, Widdison said. Police initially believed he had flown to Australia to visit his daughter, despite pressure from friends and family to investigate his disappearance as suspicious, Widdison added.

After it was established King did not fly to Australia and his car was found in a nearby town, the prosecutor’s office brought in sniffer dogs to search the neighbor’s house in the village of Pierres, in the Calvados region of Normandy, according to Widdison and media reports.

- Alexander Smith and Nick Bailey