Missing French toddler: 100 days later, here is everything you need to know on little Émile's disappearance

Time goes by and the mystery surrounding the disappearance of little Émile deepens. One hundred days later, where does the investigation stand?

missing french toddler emile search
© Gendarmerie
missing french toddler emile search

On July 8, 2023, Émile disappeared. The two-and-a-half-year-old boy was staying with his grandparents in the village of Haut-Vernet when he vanished into thin air. He was wearing a yellow T-shirt and white shorts. July 8 was precisely one hundred days ago. During this time, the investigators thought they'd found the child several times, but to no avail.

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First, they sifted through the testimonies of the hamlet's 180 inhabitants, before tapping their telephone lines. An inspection which is still underway, and which could reveal new elements. At present, we still don't know what happened to Émile.

Details of the day of the disappearance

On the morning of July 8, Émile's parents, Marie and Colomban S., dropped him off with his maternal grandparents, Philippe and Anne V., for a summer holiday at their home in Haut-Vernet. That day, they were at home with eight of their ten grandchildren, aged from 7 to 18. Émile's mother leaves the house just after leaving her son. The uncles and aunts present spend the day building tree houses a little higher up in the vicinity of the family home, for the children to enjoy during the vacations.

Around 5 p.m., the family planned a walk with Émile, who had been playing in the garden. While the grandfather was loading equipment into the boot of his car, the boy wandered down the steep street in front of the house. According to the investigators, he was trying to reach some huts built that day. Two witnesses say they saw him a quarter of an hour later, in the impasse du Haut-Vernet, some twenty meters from the family home. The disappearance was reported to the gendarmes at 6:12 p.m., after a 45-minute search.

Read more:Missing French toddler: Retired prosecutor gives his chilling theory on what happened to Émile

The investigation to find little Émile

The gendarmerie, supported by the fire department and volunteers, immediately launched a search for him, without success. 12 hectares were searched, and the public prosecutor launched an appeal for witnesses. An investigation was launched, but as the days passed, the prospects of finding the child grew dimmer and dimmer. The investigation became a preliminary inquiry. The gendarmes combed the region until July 13, searching every nook and cranny of the hamlet and surrounding area, but without any clues to explain Émile's disappearance. The child's vital prognosis was at stake, and no lead was favored.

On Friday July 14th, the mayor forbade access to the hamlet to protect the investigation and the families. A slab poured on the day of the disappearance was destroyed in an attempt to find Émile. A lake was searched from top to bottom, but to no avail: the investigation stalled. Investigators concentrate on analyzing telephone data and witness accounts, while 25 investigators work on the case nationwide. On July 21, residents were re-interviewed and vehicles inspected. On July 25, drones and specialized dogs were deployed to search for human remains. The focus shifted from the search for a living child to the possible discovery of a corpse.

Read more:Missing French toddler: Expert reveals why it should be easier to find Émile this winter

Winter may bring Émile back

Since then, investigators have been doing their best, but no progress has been reported. However, as François Daoust, former director of the Institut de recherche criminelle de la gendarmerie nationale, explains: we must remain hopeful. New, in-depth investigations should indeed be underway by late autumn.

Winter could bring new elements to the investigation.

Without vegetation, the terrain appears in a new light, and it's quite common for bodies to be found at this time of year.

Investigators could discover corners of nature that were previously invisible.

Read more:Missing French toddler: Émile's grandfather reacts to accusations 'I come across as a dominator'

This article has been translated from Oh!MyMag FR.

Missing French toddler: Everything we know about Émile's family Missing French toddler: Everything we know about Émile's family