France on edge: Desperate search for two-year-old boy who got lost in the Alps

Little Émile has already been four days since his worrying disappearance in the village of Vernet, which has 130 inhabitants. While the abduction theory isn’t ruled out, the neighbors don’t believe it’s possible.

The case has the whole of France in suspense: last Saturday, Émile, a two-year-old boy who was playing in the garden of his grandparents’ house, disappeared. It happened two kilometers from Vernet, a town of 130 inhabitants where everyone knows each other.

“On Saturday, July 8, around 5:15 p.m., a little boy named Émile, aged two and a half, disappeared in the town of Vernet (department of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence)”, begins the press release from the Digne-les Bains police station, citing any witness who has passed through the sector and who can provide information on the whereabouts of the minor.

“Brown eyes, blonde hair, 90cm tall, wearing a yellow shirt, white shorts with a green pattern and hiking boots,” the statement details. The last time he was seen, according to two witnesses, he was alone “on a sloping street”. “This is where we lose track,” said Rémy Avon, the district attorney.

French Gendarmes in search of Émile in the commune of Vernet.

Emile’s family lives in Marseille, 170 kilometers from Vernet, and they have been going there in the summer for about twenty years. From the moment the grandparents reported the disappearance of the minor, all of France was put on alert, and in two days, more than 800 people, including rescuers and volunteers, explored the area within a five kilometer radius.

Among the measures taken to find the child, An audio message recorded by Émile’s mother is broadcast on the sound system, to reassure him and bring him out of any hiding place. After exploring for miles around, the authorities began to focus on the same village, which was forbidden for anyone from abroad to enter. Despite the fact that the statements of 25 residents have been taken and that houses and cars have even been inspected, there is no lead on Émile.

The prefect of the Alpes de Haute Provence, Marc Chappuis, told the media: “It is estimated that in 48 hours the child should have been found if he was within the indicated perimeter. We are continuing the research efforts, we are not losing hope”.

France is looking for a two-year-old boy who got lost in the Alps. Prefect Marc Chappuis and prosecutor Rémy Avon during a press conference at Vernet.

Police, meanwhile, say they received 1,200 calls, most offering to help with the search. Prosecutor Avon, for his part, does not exclude any hypothesis on what could have happened to the child. He may have left the place alone, getting lost, and the possible abduction is not completely ruled out, although there are no indications pointing in that direction.

Prosecutor Rémy Avon confirmed that, for the moment, no suspects have been questioned. Talk to Le Parisien, the mayor of Le Vernet, François Balique, said: “It’s a race against time. “Le Vernet is a dead end, do you really think anyone would have taken the risk? Here we all know each other, I don’t think that a stranger who would have climbed to the top of the city would have gone unnoticed.” a local resident pointed this out to the newspaper La Provence.

France on hold for a two-year-old boy who got lost in the Alps. Volunteers under the direction of gendarmes arrive at Haut Vernet.

After four days, the search for Émile moves on to a new stage, in which the telephone operators of the region gave the authorities the number of users who passed, at the time and after the boy’s disappearance, BFMTV reported. The mission is now to examine the people who were near Haut Vernet before and after the incident.

“Individuals, potentially unknown to the village, They will thus be able to be detected by these telephone data, allowing possible progress in the investigation”, indicated by the television channel.

The area where the research was carried out, however, is not easy terrain: it is a mountainous and very steep area, irrigated by small streams. The child, finding himself indeed lost, He will have already spent four nights alone, without eating or drinking. To make matters worse, the department is under surveillance due to a heat wave which is approved in France and in Europe in general, which can cause fatal dehydration in children.

France is looking for a two-year-old boy who got lost in the Alps. In the picture, Le Vernet, the place where Émile disappeared.

But this isn’t the first time the sleepy village has been struck by tragedy. According to The Independent, locals said that they fear that their village is “cursed” while remembering that it has been the site of a gruesome murder and a devastating plane crash over the past 15 years.

Speaking to La Montagne, Christian Mollet said: “The city has been affected three times by this type of tragedy. There was the murder of Jeannette (Grosos) in 2008, the manager of the Café du Moulin murdered by a customer in 2008; the accident of Germanwings, a subsidiary of Lufthansa in 2015 with 150 people on board; and then there is this disappearance.

Source: Latercera

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