Remains found of toddler missing from French village

The remains of young boy who went missing last summer from a village in the French Alps were found this weekend, in the first major breakthrough in the case that has gripped France. Investigators are now trying to determine how he died.

Prosecutor Jean-Luc Blachon said genetic testing on bones found near the tiny village of Le Vernet showed they were the remains of Emile, who went missing on 8 July 2023.

The two-and-a-half-year-old had been with his grandparents in the village of 25 residents, where he had come to stay at their second home for the holidays.

The bones were reportedly found by a hiker, and Blachon said that forensic investigators were analysing them to determine the cause of death.

Police had opened a criminal investigation into a possible abduction, and had also considered the possibility that the boy fell or had an accident.

Around a hundred gendarmes from the criminal research institute and a team of sniffer dogs will be deployed on Monday to search the area.

Revisiting the day

On Sunday police set up a roadblock on the only road into Le Vernet, and investigators started re-interviewing 17 people, including family members, neighbours and witnesses to revisit the moments before Emile went missing.

The last people to have seen him were two neighbours who saw him walking alone on a street.

(with AFP)

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