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The remains found of little Emile, a two-year-old boy, missing in France since July


The remains of a two-year-old boy who went missing in the French Alps in July have been found near where he went missing, according to local media.

Bones, including a skull, were discovered on Saturday by a walker near Le Vernet in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

Forensic analyzes showed they belonged to the boy, known only as Émile, French broadcaster BFMTV said, citing prosecutors.

Photo of a missing French boy - Emile released by the French police Pic:Gendarmerie nationale
Photo: National Gendarmerie

Some reports name him Émile Soleil.

“On Saturday, the police were informed of the discovery of bones near the hamlet of Vernet,” declared prosecutor Jean-Luc Blachon.

After testing them, the police concluded on Sunday that “these were the bones of the child Emile”, he added.

Mr Blachon, cited by France24, did not give a cause of death, but said forensic investigators were continuing to analyze the remains, while police carried out further searches.

The boy was last seen by two witnesses walking on a street near his grandparents’ house on July 8 of last year, according to authorities at the time.

He had arrived in the region the day before to spend the summer vacation with his maternal grandparents.

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François Balique, the local mayor, said at the time that the couple “realized that he was no longer there when they went to put him in the car.”

They live in a remote mountain village of just two dozen residents just outside Le Vernet, between Grenoble and Nice.

The little boy was less than 3 feet tall and wearing a yellow T-shirt and white shorts when he was last seen.

A massive ground search involving dozens of police and soldiers, supported by sniffer dogs, a helicopter and drones, failed to find him, as did a reconstruction in which his family participated.

The police admitted to no idea what happened to him.

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A prosecutor said after several days that it was unlikely such a young child would have survived the summer heat.

The case, which began as a missing person investigation, quickly evolved into a criminal investigation into a possible kidnapping, although police have not ruled out murder, an accident or a fall.

In late November, a day before Emile turned three, his parents published a call for responses in a Christian weekly, France 24 reported.

“Tell us where he is,” they wrote.


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