EXCLUSIVE: Daughter of French serial killer Charles Sobhraj – who inspired new Netflix series The Serpent – now works as a US government agent after cutting ties with the psychopath suspected of murdering tourists in Asia in the 70s
- Usha Sutliff, 50, is the daughter of French serial killer Charles Sobhraj and his former lover, Chantal Compagnon
- Sobhraj, 77, who is currently serving a life sentence, is the subject of chilling new series, The Serpent, which began streaming on Netflix in April
- DailyMail.com can reveal Usha, who was born in India in 1970 while her parents were on the run, now has a ‘classified’ job with the US government
- Stepfather Leon Harris adopted her after marrying her mother in 1975, and the family settled in Litchfield, Connecticut
- Harris revealed his daughter cut ties with both of her biological parents and has made a life for herself fighting crime in the US
- ‘She is a formidable woman, good looking and tough-minded like her father, but that is about the only thing they have in common,’ he told DailyMail.com
- Usha has been a member of the LAPD Reserve Program since 2007 and is a former professional print journalist having graduated from Boston University
The chilling murders committed by French psychopath Charles Sobhraj and his girlfriend Marie-Andree Leclerc have been gripping viewers of the new Netflix series The Serpent.
But DailyMail.com can reveal that one person unlikely to be tuning in is the serial killer’s daughter, who cut ties with her father and has dedicated her life to fighting crime.
Indian-born Usha Sutliff, 50, now has a ‘classified’ job with the US government, specializing in counter terrorism and homeland security.
Remarkably, given her dark past, she is also a long-serving reserve officer with the Los Angeles Police Department – a job that might have brought her into conflict with her dad, had he fulfilled his wish of moving to the States.
Usha was adopted by stone mason Leon Harris, 75, when he married her mother, Chantal Compagnon, of Paris, in 1975, and says his daughter has had zero contact with Sobhraj since she was a baby.
French serial killer Charles Sobhraj who is currently serving a life sentence for murdering tourists in Asia in the 70s, is the subject of chilling new series, The Serpent, which began streaming on Netflix last month. He is pictured being escorted by Nepalese police in 2014
DailyMail.com can reveal Sobhraj’s daughter, Usha Sutliff (pictured right with her family) has been quietly living in the US, where she works as a member of LAPD’s Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau after severing ties with her dark past
The new Netflix series dramatizes how Sobhraj, played by Tahar Rahim, and Leclerc, portrayed by Jenna Coleman, preyed on vulnerable backpackers hanging out on the hippy trail that stretched across South East Asia
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Leon revealed: ‘Usha has no interest in seeing her blood father and the last thing she would do is talk about him.
‘Usha has a classified job similar to [Britain’s] MI5. It is so secret she has not even told me about it – and I am the only father she has ever known.
‘She is a formidable woman, good looking and tough-minded like her father, but that is about the only thing they have in common.’
Usha, now a mother of one, was only eight years old when she first learned the truth about her biological dad, Leon said, but has never expressed any interest in meeting him.
‘The rest of us have lived quietly for decades with this awful story and prefer it to stay that way,’ he added.
‘Usha has even cut off her mother because she is so eager to escape this aspect of her past.’
The eight-part series about the serial killer began streaming on Netflix in the US this month after premiering on BBC One on New Year’s Day.
Sobhraj, 77, who is also known as the ‘Bikini Killer’ and ‘the Serpent’, is currently serving a life sentence for a string of murders committed in the 1970s in South Asia.
Usha’s online biography on the website of a government consultancy, Lafayette Group, which she joined in 2008, shows that until recently she was an expert in ‘law enforcement, counter-terrorism, intelligence, homeland security and cybersecurity’
Usha was adopted by her stepfather, Leon Harris, after he married her mother, Chantal Compagnon (pictured) in 1975. Despite starting a new life in the US, Chantal maintained contact with Sobhraj, prompting Usha to cut ties with her mother. Chantal is seen in old photos shared on social media by her other daughter, Sardine
Sobhraj (pictured in Paris in 1997) is suspected of committing at least a dozen murders in the 1970s
Most of the series takes place during Sobhraj’s 1975 killing spree in Bangkok, Thailand, but his first wife and daughter are featured in harrowing scenes towards the end as the director delves into the psychopath’s past.
DailyMail.com can reveal that producers had approached Chantal and Usha and her half-sister Sandrine, 45, about contributing to the script, but their request was turned down, according to Leon.
They have also been given aliases in the drama.
The Serpent dramatizes how Sobhraj, played by Tahar Rahim, and Leclerc, portrayed by Jenna Coleman, would prey on vulnerable backpackers hanging out on the hippy trail that stretched across South East Asia.
The couple would lure them back to their apartment on the promise of a valuable gem deal then sedate and often murder them, with Sobhraj sometimes burning the bodies so they could not be recognized.
In an exclusive interview with DailyMail.com, Leon Harris (pictured) revealed his daughter has a ‘classified’ job with the US government
Sobhraj is suspected of committing at least a dozen murders and might have also killed his partner in crime, Indian national Ajay Chowdhury, played by actor Amesh Edireweera in the series.
Usha was born in Mumbai, India in 1970 when her parents were already a wanted couple on the run.
Her mother came from a conservative Parisian family while her father was the result of a fling between a Vietnamese shop girl and an Indian businessman.
Adopted by his mother’s new partner, a French army lieutenant, and settling in Marseilles, Sobhraj got involved in crime from an early age and convinced Chantal to join him in an international crime spree, robbing tourists and faking travel documents to maintain a hedonistic lifestyle.
The couple’s luck ran out in Kabul, Afghanistan in 1973 when they were jailed for not paying a hotel bill and Usha was flown back to France to live with Chantal’s mother and father.
Sobhraj however managed to escape and kidnap his daughter by drugging her grandmother – a terrifying moment that is depicted in the Serpent.
He then smuggled baby Usha all the way to Iran, where he was arrested at a casino.
Usha (far left) is now a mother-of-one and married to Jason Sutliff, 49, a fire captain in San Marino, California. Facebook photos posted by his relatives show a smiling all-American family
Stepdad Leon met Chantal while visiting a friend at the women’s jail in Kabul in 1973 and seven months later they drove ‘14,000 clicks’ to Paris to collect Usha, who had been repatriated by Air France, and started a new life in America.
The family settled in the small town of Litchfield, Connecticut, where Chantal divorced Sobhraj, found work in the music industry, and gave birth to her second daughter, Sandrine.
Usha’s online biography on the website of a government consultancy, Lafayette Group, which she joined in 2008, shows that until recently she was an expert in ‘law enforcement, counter-terrorism, intelligence, homeland security and cybersecurity.’
She previously served at the Center for Policing Terrorism at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research – the New York-based think tank that pioneered the ‘Broken Windows’ theory of policing – and was seconded full time to the LAPD’s Counter-Terrorism and Criminal Intelligence Bureau.
She has been a member of the LAPD Reserve Program since 2007 and is a former professional print journalist having graduated from Boston University.
Usha is now married to Jason Sutliff, 49, a Fire Captain in San Marino, California, on the outskirts of Los Angeles. Facebook photos posted by his relatives show a smiling all-American family.
But she cut off all contact with her own mother, now 74, some time after Sobhraj, was released from an Indian jail in 1997, according to her adopted dad.
However, social media suggests half-sister Sandrine may still have ties to their mother, having shared posts dedicated to Chantal in recent months.
Chantal insisted on returning to France alone to see her ex-husband once he was a free man despite the fact that he almost strangled her to death in the 1970s after flying into a rage over losing money at a casino.
Usha was only eight years old when she first learned the truth about her biological dad (pictured in India in 1986) but has never expressed any interest in meeting him, according Leon
Sobhraj has been named one of the greatest criminal minds of the 20th century. The 77-year-old, who is of Vietnamese and Indian parentage – was also known as ‘The Serpent’ for his repeated identity thefts and escapes from justice
Chantal returned as a changed woman, prompting her husband to suspect she might have been hypnotized during the trip.
‘I actually paid for her to go to Marseilles,’ Leon said.
‘Chantal was a music producer for a blues and gospel singer and there was a world music festival there in 1997 so it made sense for her to go.
‘She said she’d like to see Charles as well and in my mind she just wanted closure.
‘I later found out that the moment they laid eyes on each other they went into the bedroom of his apartment.
‘She wasn’t able to tell me what was going on when I picked her up at JFK Airport in New York but during the two-and a-half hour drive up into the country here, she confirmed it.
‘I still had a champagne party for her with all these old friends and they tried to talk her out of going back to Sobhraj.
‘They kept telling her: “This is the man that tried to kill you, that strangled and abused you.”
‘Chantal kept repeating the same six or seven phrases as if she were mesmerized.
‘She kept saying: “I’m a woman, I was never a mother. I’m a city girl.” She even said that to her daughter which didn’t go down too well.
Most of the Netflix series takes place during Sobhraj’s 1975 killing spree in Bangkok, Thailand, but his first wife and daughter are featured in harrowing scenes towards the end as the director delves into the psychopath’s past
‘These were seeds planted in her mind by Charles.’
Leon says he later got a chilling phone call from the serial killer, who wanted to ‘thank’ him for looking after his ex.
He said: ‘He had the temerity to call Chantal and ask to speak to me. He thanked me for keeping her in such good condition all these years.
‘I thought, “you son of a b***h,’ but I didn’t say much of anything. I just let him talk and handed the phone back to Chantal.
‘She went back to France after that and they were living in Paris for a while.
‘I know they were in London for about six months because I got a call from their landlord asking for the unpaid rent, about £2,000 ($2,788).
‘American Express also called, they had apparently charged a $44,000 Mercedes Benz to her Amex in London.
‘I said: “You listen very carefully. Readers Digest called this person one of the four master criminals of the 20th century, you will never see a dime of that money and you will not call this number again, we are not together.”
‘Chantal came back three or four times after that because she was so unhappy with Charles.
‘He had already fathered another child with a Cambodian Chinese woman and was going back and forth between the two of them.
‘I told her she had to leave me alone, to let me heal.
‘Chantal was beautiful when we met and we were married for 25 years but now I wonder if she had been waiting for him the whole time. That question really bothers me.’
It is not clear where Chantal lives today.
But she appears to have continued her relationship with Sobhraj even after he was thrown in jail while visiting Nepal in 2003 for murders he committed there in the 1970s.
Sobhraj told GQ magazine in 2014: ‘She [Chantal] left her husband and came back to Paris when she heard that I was back.
‘I was still in love with Chantal, but I was with my Chinese wife who was pregnant, so I told Chantal, “I can’t be with you.”‘
He added that the relationship continued until 2011 when Chantal was threatened on the phone by his angry new wife in Nepal, Nihita Biswas.
Sobhraj said: ‘That’s when she cut my money off.’
Writer Farrukh Dhondy, who wrote a novel based on Sobhraj and Chantal’s relationship, claims they were planning a new life in the US before the killer was arrested in 2003.
‘I don’t remember whether it was Charles or Chantal who told me that the grand plan was that Charles would hand information about his terrorist and arms-dealing connections to the CIA, in exchange for American citizenship for him and a partner, a change of identity and a pension for life,’ Farrukh said.
‘Well, good luck, was all I could think.’
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