Authorities find remains of missing French toddler Emile Soleil

FILE - Police officers walk along the road leading to a plant where an attack took place in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, southeast of Lyon, France, Friday, June 26, 2015.
FILE - Police officers walk along the road leading to a plant where an attack took place in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, southeast of Lyon, France, Friday, June 26, 2015. Copyright Michel Euler/AP
Copyright Michel Euler/AP
By Euronews with AP
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Remains of Emile who went missing from the small French alpine village of Le Vernet last July were found over the weekend.

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French authorities have confirmed the discovery of the remains of Emile Soleil, a toddler who went missing in July 2023. 

“This heartbreaking news was feared,” said his parents in a statement released by their lawyer, Jerome Triomphe. 

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin confirmed on local media that bones, including a skull, were found by a hiker near Le Vernet in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence region.

Though the area was searched many times before, Saturday's discovery was aided by investigators, sniffer dogs and a helicopter. 

Gendarmerie representatives have not disclosed specific details as the investigation remains ongoing, with all possibilities still being considered. 

Initially opened as a missing persons case in Digne-les-Bains, the investigation was quickly handed over to two examining magistrates in Aix-en-Provence, before being reclassified as a criminal case for "kidnapping" and "sequestration".

In all, seventeen people were summoned by the courts to reconstruct the moment when the boy was last seen.

Emile, aged 2, disappeared while staying with his grandparents in the small Alpine village of Le Vernet on 8 July 2023. 

Despite a week-long search operation at the time, no traces of the boy were initially found.

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