Missing French Toddler: Little Emile's body found in Haut Vernet, nine months after his disappearance

On Saturday 30 March 2024, the body of little Émile was found in Haut-Vernet, nine months after his disappearance.

Missing French toddler Emile body found
© Gendarmerie
Missing French toddler Emile body found

It's the end of a nine-month ordeal for the family of Émile, the two-and-a-half-year-old boy who disappeared while playing in his grandparents' garden in the hamlet of Haut-Vernet on 8 July 2023. While a reconstruction of the day of the tragedy took place on Thursday, some of the child's bones were discovered on Saturday 30 March 2024.

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A walker discovers a skull

On Saturday, a hiker discovered a skull while out walking near the hamlet of Haut-Vernet (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), said Jean-Luc Blachon, the public prosecutor in Aix-en-Provence, in a statement published on Sunday. After notifying the police, the incomplete bones were discovered at the scene. DNA analysis proved that they were indeed the boy's.

The boy's family was notified at around 9:30 am on Sunday morning, when they were attending Easter mass.

The public prosecutor added in his statement:

On March 30, 2024, the Gendarmerie Nationale was informed of the discovery of bones near the hamlet of Vernet. Investigators took possession of the bones, which were immediately transported to the IRCGN for genetic identification analysis, which led to the conclusion on March 31 that they were the bones of the child Émile

The bones are indeed those of little Émile

But analyses are continuing on the bones, to determine the causes and circumstances of his death. The public prosecutor of Aix-en-Provence concluded:

The Gendarmerie Nationale is devoting itself to deploying resources to undertake further research in the geographical area where they were found

On social media, the emotion of Internet users was strong.

More bones found in the area

Since the first discovery on 30 March 2024, investigators have been combing the area for the rest of the child's bones. His clothes had also been found.

On Monday 8 April 2024, French publication Le Parisien, which has been reporting on the case from the very beginning, reported that new bones of the boy had been discovered on the site in recent days by gendarmes from the Marseille research unit.

These will be analysed in the coming days to shed light on the circumstances of his death, and in particular the cause of death.

This information was released in the evening of Monday 8 April and discussed live on Touche pas à mon poste. On the show, journalist Michel Mary, who specialises in true crime stories, explained the news.

The legionnaires who were requisitioned to assist the gendarmes discovered other bones in the same area as his skull and clothes

In the same area

Gilles Verdez, another journalist on Touche Pas A Mon Poste added:

This is a very important development, and a tangible one, because it will enable us to examine the bones and see if there were any blows. We had seen that there was no trauma to the skull prior to death.Is there trauma to other parts of the body? That's a fundamental element

Was his body dumped in this area after his death?

The experts must now determine the cause of her death. And among the theories, one persists and intrigues both the police and Internet users. The possibility that Émile's body was moved after his death and deposited in the area where it was found by the hiker. And with good reason: the site, in the immediate vicinity of the family home, had already been searched several times and intensively.

The director the Gendarmerie (a French police force) explained on Sunday 31 March on TV:

It's quite a steep, wooded area, not always easy to get to, and it's about 1km as the crow flies from Haut-Vernet

He went on to say that the site had already been excavated:

It's an area that has already been inspected several times: a drive with citizens and 80 gendarmes mobilised (...) with helicopters flying over the area, with a thermal camera. But we were able, potentially, not to detect this presence

He also mentioned this now famous theory.

We mustn't forget that the bones could also have been deposited afterwards. It could have been human intervention or an animal that carried it away or weather conditions that could have moved it.

Easter, a symbolic date

What's more, the date on which Émile's body was found is intriguing users online. The bones were found eight months after his disappearance, during Easter weekend, a holy day that was particularly symbolic for his parents, Marie and Colomban, who are devout Catholics.

This article was translated from 3 articles from:

Oh!MyMag France: Le corps du petit Émile retrouvé au Haut Vernet, neuf mois après sa disparition

Oh!MyMag France: Mort d'Émile : Son corps a-t-il été déposé dans cette zone intentionnellement ? Cette théorie qui intrigue

Oh!MyMag France: Mort d'Émile : de nouveaux ossements retrouvés à proximité du Haut-Vernet

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Aix-en-Provence public prosecutor


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