Raymond Lemorne is the main antagonist of the novel The Vanishing and its film adaptation. A sociopath who is able to hide his condition from his family and his colleagues, Lemorne decides to kidnap Saskia Wagter and kill her in the worst way he can imagine just to see if he is capable of it.
He was portrayed by Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu.
When he was 16, Lemorne jumped from the balcony of his of his home. The fall broke his arm, but Lemorne succeeded at going against what he felt was predestined. He discovered that he was a sociopath and, thus, capable of anything.
Twenty-six years later, Lemorne was taking a family photo on a bridge, when his daughter Denise witnessed a girl drowning. Without hesitating, Lemorne jumped off the bridge and saved the girl. Though he earned the respect of his daughter, Lemorne believed her admiration didn't mean anything unless he was able to commit an evil act.
Due to his claustrophobia, Lemorne considered burying a person alive to be the most horrible deed he could commit. His plan was to lure his victim into his car, knock her out with a handkerchief doused in chloroform, and bury her at his countryside home. He carefully planned out how he would abduct his victim, through testing how long chloroform would keep somebody unconscious for, acting out possible kidnapping scenarios, ensuring that nobody could hear the screams of his victim from his home, and checking his heart rate at the times of the day.
The amount of time Lemorne spent at his country home and the additional miles on his car, brought on by his search for a victim, caused Denise and Simone to believe he had a mistress, unaware of what he was truly doing. While attempting to lure potential victims into his car on the streets of France, Lemorne encountered Gisele Marzin, his daughter Gabrielle's volleyball coach. Also believing that Lemorne was cheating on his wife, Gisele encouraged Lemorne to visit a tourist service station, where he would not be recognized.
Lemorne's abduction attempts continued to be unsuccessful, until he was presented with a photo album of himself on his birthday. An image taken after he jumped from the balcony, which showed his arm in a sling, made Lemorne realize that he needed to appear weak to his victim.
By pretending to have a broken arm, Lemorne managed to lure a female tourist into his car by claiming he needed help with attaching a trailer to his car. But just as Lemorne poured his chloroform into his handkerchief and approached his side of the car, he sneezed into the handkerchief, removing the chloroform.
Lemorne discarded the fake cast and returned to the store area of the service station, where he encountered Saskia Wagter, a Dutch tourist. Attracted to the "R" ornament attached to his car keys, Saskia requested to know where she could buy one, allowing Lemorne to bring her to his car under the claim of him being a salesman of the ornaments and having a shipload in his vehicle. When Saskia entered his car at Lemorne's request, he chloroformed her and buried her alive in a coffin.
Rex Hofman, Saskia's boyfriend, soon realized she was missing when she failed to return from the store. For the next three years, Rex obsessively searched to find out what happened to her. Fascinated by his determination, Lemorne sent Rex Letters, sending him towards areas that were located 62 miles from the area where he last saw Saskia. After seeing Rex state that he simply wanted to know what happened to his girlfriend on a television program, Lemorne decided to finally meet him.
Upon confronting Rex, Lemorne offered him a chance to discover Saskia's fate by accompanying him back to France. Rex accepted but was warned that he had no evidence against Lemorne to prove his guilt and killing him would result in Rex never finding out what happened to Saskia.
Lemorne drove Rex to the service station, while explaining his backstory. When they arrived at the place where Lemorne abducted Saskia, Rex was given a cup of drugged coffee by Lemorne and told that he could only find out what Saskia's fate was if he shares her experience. Rex intially refuses Lemorne's request, knowing that he'll die if Saskia is dead, but his obsession with knowing what happened to her results in him drinking the drugged coffee. After the drug takes its effect on Rex, Lemorne buries him alive.
The next day, Rex's disappearance makes the headlines in a local newspaper, while Lemorne watches his wife unknowingly plant two trees over the graves of Rex and Saskia.