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Emile: Hundreds of police were deployed to a remote hamlet in the French Alps just days after the remains of a two-year-old boy were found

Hundreds of police have reportedly been dispatched to a remote village in the French Alps where the remains of a two-year-old boy were discovered on Saturday, while forensic experts are analyzing the soil in the area where his bones were found.

French authorities are trying to figure out how the boy, known only as Emile, died afterward His bones were discovered by a walker in a wooded mountain area near Le Vernet in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

Emile was last seen by two witnesses on July 8 last year walking down the street near his grandparents’ home in the area. His bones, including a skull, were discovered near where he disappeared.

Anthropologists have analyzed the soil in the area where the bones were found to determine how long the remains had been there.

Colonel Marie-Laure Pezant, spokesperson for the National Gendarmerie, told French media: “We call it forensic archaeology. The idea is to check whether there are clues that allow us to find out whether the bones have been there for a long time.”

Emile’s skull is also being analyzed by forensic experts trying to determine his cause of death.

However, according to reports from France, the analysis will not allow investigators to determine the date of his death.

And hundreds of police officers were at the scene as investigators tried to determine whether this was the place where Emile died or whether the bones were later moved there, French broadcaster BFM TV reports.

François Daoust, former director of the French National Gendarmerie’s forensic department, told French media: “The zero point is missing, where the maximum number of bones is, the place where the child fell or was placed.”

The National Gendarmerie also reportedly deployed three drones equipped with multispectral sensors over the crime scene on Monday.

The drones will “map the entire scene very precisely by taking photos and then reconstructing them in 3D and 2D,” said Lt. Aurélien S., the head of the National Gendarmerie’s forensic department.

This means investigators will always have access to a replica of the crime scene where the remains were first found, allowing them to see any changes in the terrain since then.

According to local media, police have also deployed a dog team specializing in searching for human remains as some of Emile’s body parts are still missing.

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Missing picture of a French boy – Emile released by French police Image:Gendarmerie Nationale https://twitter.com/Gendarmerie/status/1678072484392845315
Picture:
Image: Gendarmerie Nationale

What happened after Emile initially disappeared?

Emile had arrived in the area the day before his disappearance last year to spend the summer holidays with his maternal grandparents.

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

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

The little boy was less than 90cm tall and was wearing a yellow T-shirt and white shorts when he was last seen.

A massive ground search A rescue operation involving dozens of police and soldiers and supported by sniffer dogs, a helicopter and drones failed to find him, nor did a reconstruction effort involving his family.

The police admitted they did it no idea what had happened to him.

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

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

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

“Tell us where he is,” they wrote.

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