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01st Apr 2024

Remains of missing toddler Émile Soleil found ‘just 100 yards’ from grandparents’ home

Charlie Herbert

Bones found over the weekend were confirmed to have belonged to the missing boy

The mayor of a French village has suggested the remains of a little boy who went missing last year were found only 100 yards from his grandparents’ house.

In July last year, Émile Soleil vanished without a trace whilst he was on holiday with his family in the small village of  Le Vernet in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

On Saturday, public prosecutors confirmed that bones found by ramblers close to the family home had been identified as Emile’s after genetic analysis.

Prosecutor Jean-Luc Blachon said: “On Saturday, the police were told of the discovery of bones near the hamlet of Le Vernet.”

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

A cause of death has not yet been established.

Although a key investigating source said the toddler’s remains were found around two miles from then village, Le Vernet’s mayor has since said the bones were found within the village boundaries.

François Balique told Le Figaro that they were found “on a path between the Church and Chapel.”

The MailOnline reports that this put the bones little more than 100 yards from Emile’s grandparents’ house.

Balique said this area had been “thoroughly searched by gendarmes” after Emile had initially disappeared.

A source told the MailOnline that this “leads to the theory that a person has brought Émile’s remains back, and potentially very recently.”

French police have descended on Le Vernet over the weekend, with the small village having been shut off since the grim discovery.

The initial search last July had covered an area of 5km and involved a helicopter, sniffer dogs and thermic camera drones, along with search parties of emergency services and local residents.

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