EDITORIAL. Disappearance of Emile: everything is restarted for researchers

Everything is over for little Émile. Everything starts again for the investigation. It was small, the hope of finding the little boy alive. We had to hold on to an unlikely kidnapping scenario that would have lasted since July. But sometimes there are many more incredible stories with stunning 'happy endings'. So until Saturday it was still possible to dream that one day Emile would be able to find his family. Since then, the gendarmerie laboratory has issued its verdict. He is formal. The toddler's skull found at the bend of a path is indeed that of the missing person. This time the time of mourning has come for loved ones. The blond cherub will no longer run among the stones of Haut-Vernet.

On the other hand, everything is restarted for the researchers. And all hypotheses are possible again. Including that of a kidnapping that allegedly went wrong. So we have to start everything from scratch. This time starting with the place where the bones were discovered: this is the 'crime scene'. In this regard, by taking the skull to the police, the hiker didn't really do a good job of investigating. Because the arrangement of the bones can tell many different stories: revealing the transport of a body, indicating the action of a predator, suggesting a cover-up. The first task of the gendarmes will be to reconstruct the entire skeleton so that it too can 'speak' in its own way.

Will these new clues be decisive? We can hope so, but the task remains infinitely complex. It's been eight months since the child disappeared, and we can imagine that investigators have been busy all this time. They searched, scanned, dissected and x-rayed an entire hamlet, examining every house, every ruin, every thicket, every path. They also, as they say, very carefully interrogated all the protagonists of this village. And they now have a very precise picture of the relationships that exist there. With this enigmatic grandfather as the central figure, who was “Brother Philippe” within a religious community where funny things happened in the 90s. Were there grudges, desires for revenge, scores to settle?

Despite everything, the hypothesis of an accident remains largely plausible. A thousand misfortunes can befall a two-year-old in the mountains while briefly escaping adult supervision. From falling off a rock to drowning in a pond, including an encounter with a wolf. And what if there had been an accident that we wanted to cover up?

Ultimately, it is entirely possible that we will never know what happened to Emile, just as we will never know what really happened to Lucas Tronche, whose bones were discovered in the bushes of the Gard six years after his disappearance. This is perhaps what this grief-starved hamlet fears most.

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