A final search operation was organized this Thursday, July 13 at Haut Vernet, five days after the disappearance of little Émile. The investigation is now focusing on the analysis of data and testimonies to try to find a lead and explain the volatilization of the child.
- Disappeared on Saturday July 8, 2023 in Haut-Vernet (Alpes-de-Haute-Provence), Émile, a little boy aged 2 and a half, was missing on Thursday July 13.
- The last field search took place on Thursday in a small area. Despite intense research and hearings, investigators still have “no clues”. The investigations now continue behind the scenes with the analysis of the information and testimonies collected by the investigators in the field.
- The public prosecutor has not favored any track to explain the disappearance of Émile, but the hypothesis of the intervention of a third party seems possible.
- While until now it had been indicated that the child had escaped the vigilance of his grandparents on Saturday, AFP revealed on Wednesday that the mother of Émile, the eldest of a family of 10 children, was also present. in the house, as well as several uncles and aunts of the little boy.
END OF LIVE – Thursday marked the end of the sweeps. However, the public prosecutor of Digne-les-Bains did not rule out other excavations of this type later. And Rémy Avon to explain, as relayed Release : “If other searches are carried out later, it will be to verify or corroborate elements collected during the investigation.”
In addition to the last sweep, Thursday was also marked by the hearing of new people in the case of the disappearance of little Émile. According to information collected by BFM TV, these are residents of the hamlet of Haut-Vernet who were not there during the week, and therefore could not be questioned by the investigators. Similarly, one of the houses had been rented. The tenant of the premises was therefore to be heard this Thursday.
The sweep is officially over. The day before, the announcement was similar, however, in the evening, it had finally been indicated that a final zone had to be combed through again this Thursday. While the search ended in the middle of the afternoon on July 13, we know that around fifty mobile gendarmes from Gap carried out this last sweep. The target area? “The 1.8 km of road between the hamlet of Haut-Vernet and the village of Vernet, as well as a strip of about 10 meters on each side of this road,” said prosecutor Rémy Avon. An area already excavated before this Thursday, the idea being to redo a tour of these places “for safety”. This final search was not initially planned, but was made possible thanks to additional staff provided by the gendarmerie, also indicated the public prosecutor of Digne-les-Bains.
Emile’s family has remained very discreet since the child’s disappearance. But Var-Morning tells us a bit more about his parents. Present at Haut-Vernet on Saturday, when Émile vanished, the mother of the child is named Marie. She is therefore the eldest of a family of 10 children. Like her parents, she is very religious. As a couple with Émile’s father, they settled in La Bouilladisse a year ago, after studying in Marseille. Of Émile’s father, we finally know very little. The regional daily believes all the same to know that it was part of the list “Zou!” friends of Éric Zemmour in 2021, during the regional elections.
Wednesday evening, the information according to which, on the day of the disappearance of Émile, the little boy was not finally alone with his grandparents, as we believed since Saturday, but that his mother as well as several of his uncles and aunts were also present at his grandparents, brought to light for the first time the entourage of the boy. If since the beginning of the case it has been indicated several times that the child came from a very religious family, Var-Morning tells us even more about his relatives. Starting with his grandparents. The family is from La Bouilladisse, a town of 6,000 souls in the Bouches-du-Rhône. But his grandparents have a second home in Haut-Vernet, the hamlet where the child disappeared. Var-Morning it is believed that Emile’s grandfather initially wanted to be a priest, before eventually falling in love and embracing a career as an osteopath. As for the grandmother, she was a teacher. Together they had 10 children, all of whom were homeschooled. Among them, Marie, Emile’s mother.
Following Émile’s disappearance last Saturday, the small hamlet where the child disappeared had been made inaccessible on Tuesday. Only the inhabitants and the investigators had the right to go there. Objective: to limit the comings and goings that could pollute the premises, while investigators have been looking for any clue in recent days that could have put them on the start of the trail. On Thursday, the last excavations took place. However, BFM DICI understands that the ban on access to Haut-Vernet will still be renewed. With BFM DICI, the mayor of Vernet indicated that he wanted above all “to protect the investigation, the family of Émile and the inhabitants of this hamlet” of Haut-Vernet.
After a last excavation operation carried out this Thursday on the Vernet road, the search operations are definitely over, as announced by the public prosecutor yesterday. 97 hectares of land were sifted during the five days of research, said the magistrate, but “these operations yielded nothing” despite all the means deployed. “We are now entering a second phase, that of the long time when the investigators will study the hearings, the telephone records or the vehicle inspections”, continues the prosecutor.
Described as very religious by the inhabitants of Haut Vernet, Émile’s family gathered last night for a mass in a small committee in the chapel of the hamlet according to information from BFMTV D’Ici, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts of the little one were gathered and intoned religious chances. “They are very united, almost mystical. Clearly, they take refuge in religion to face this tragedy,” said a witness to the local branch of the continuous news channel.
“All the hypotheses remain valid,” declared the public prosecutor of Digne-les-Bains. If the many days of research have made it possible to store “a considerable mass” of data, “no clue, no information, no element allowing us to understand the disappearance of Emile” lamented Rémy Avon.
The day after the disappearance of young Emile S., a report was issued and distributed by the gendarmerie with a photo of the little boy. 2 years old, the blond child with brown eyes is 90 cm tall, he wears a yellow top, white shorts and hiking shoes.
The gendarmerie invites all people who have been able to see the boy in the Vernet sector or who have crossed the area to go to Barcelonnette or Ubaye or “go down to Nice, Grasse, Draguignan or Aix-en-Provence” informed the investigators at 04.92.36.73.00.
The child escaped the vigilance of his grandparents and was seen by two witnesses “leaving his grandparents’ place of residence” in a “downhill street”. Emile S. is described by his family as a “very good walker” for his age, but the ground around his grandparents’ home is “steep” with “dangerous areas where he could have slipped” according to the mayor of the city. municipality, François Balique, with franceinfo. “It would be surprising if he went as far as the cliff, but we haven’t ruled out the hypothesis. It’s the first fear we had, so it was raked yesterday. We found nothing”, indicated Sunday evening the public prosecutor.
The searches took place on a “perimeter of 5 km” around the grandparents’ house, said the public prosecutor, but on Monday the search area was extended according to the mayor of Vernet, François Balique. More than 30 gendarmes, around twenty firefighters and 11 dog teams, in particular from Saint-Hubert renowned for their sense of smell, were deployed within the search system. They are supported by helicopters and drones equipped with thermal cameras, according to the details of the prefect of Alpes-de-Haute-Provence. With the participation of many volunteers in the search, more than 200 people were mobilized on Sunday to find Emile S.