Disappearance of Émile: Time is Running out to Find the Little Boy, What we know this Monday

Local News
Little Émile disappeared in Vernet (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), on Saturday July 8, 2023.

For more than 30 hours, an important search system has been in place, with the presence of numerous gendarmes, firefighters and volunteers. The search resumed this Monday morning at 4 a.m., with an expanded perimeter around Vernet (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence).

A two-and-a-half-year-old child, Émile, disappeared from his grandparents’ home in the small village of Vernet (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), on Saturday 8th July, shortly after 5 p.m. Since then, the little boy has been actively sought in this town of barely 125 inhabitants. While the investigations carried out for more than 30 hours have been unsuccessful, the system will be expanded and reinforced this Monday, July 10, reports LCI.

A call for witnesses was launched after the disappearance of the boy. AFP photo
A call for witnesses was launched after the disappearance of the boy in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence
AFP photo

No preferred assumption

On Saturday, Émile seems to have escaped the vigilance of his grandparents as they were loading the car for an outing. According to the first elements, the child would have left “the place of residence of his grandparents”, and then would have been seen “in a descending street by two people”, before we lost his trace. No hypothesis is favoured at this stage, according to Rémy Avon, the public prosecutor of Digne-les-Bains.

Following this worrying disappearance, an important search system was deployed over a perimeter of five kilometers, with the support of around fifty gendarmes, as many firefighters, and around 200 volunteers from the Vernet and surrounding municipalities, according to Franceinfo. The gendarmes used sniffer dogs, helicopters, and drones with thermal cameras. At the same time, a call for witnesses was launched on Sunday July 9 and around fifty calls to be processed were received, according to France Bleu Provence.

48 decisive hours

After lasting until late Sunday evening, the search resumed at 4 a.m. on Monday morning, explained LCI’s special correspondent. François Balique, the mayor of the city, indicated that “the search perimeter has been widened” and that all the forces present are at work.

Among the dangers, we find the presence of many ravines in the surroundings. “We rake every bush, every square meter of hay. We saw the most dangerous areas where he could have slipped,” assured the mayor. So far, no significant element has been found. The search should continue to intensify on Monday. “The 48 hours are crucial to optimise our chances,” said Marc Chappuis, the prefect of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence.

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