Sad End for Toddler Who Vanished Last Summer in Alps

Remains of little Emile Soleil have been found, identified in France
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 1, 2024 8:19 AM CDT
Sad End for Toddler Who Vanished Last Summer in Alps
Stock photo of a scene from the French Alps.   (Getty Images/francois-roux)

Sad news out of France, where the remains of a toddler who went missing in the Alps last summer have been found. AFP calls it the "first major breakthrough" in the case of little Emile Soleil, who was last seen on July 8 by locals in the village of Le Vernet, walking alone on a street in the late afternoon. The neighbors say they eventually "lost sight of him," per the BBC. Emile's grandmother, with whom he'd been staying for the summer holiday, alerted police soon after that sighting, and a massive search for the boy with hundreds of volunteers and cops with K9 sniffers began, to no avail.

Last Thursday, investigators once again descended upon Le Vernet and tried to re-create Emile's last-known movements on the last day he was seen. Then, on Saturday, a woman walking in an area that had been searched previously reportedly stumbled upon bones. A French prosecutor says that on Sunday, genetic testing confirmed the remains were those of 2 1/2-year-old Emile. No cause of death has been given. "This heartbreaking news was feared," Emile's parents said in a statement released by their attorney.

As for his remains being identified on Easter, the Guardian notes that his parents are devout Catholics who "now know on this Resurrection Sunday that Emile watches over them in the light and tenderness of God," per their statement. "But the pain and sorrow remain." Local Mayor Francois Balique added in a French radio interview, per the BBC: "It will take a long time to recover from this disappearance and death." A forensic investigation continues. (More missing toddler stories.)

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