Missing French boy Emile may have been ‘hit by combine harvester while walking in long grass,’ police fear

19 July 2023, 07:32

Emile went missing without a trace from the village of Le Vernet
Emile went missing without a trace from the village of Le Vernet. Picture: Twitter/Alamy

By Asher McShane

A two-year-old boy who went missing in France may have been hit by a combine harvester while walking in long grass, police fear.

The boy, Emile Soleil, disappeared without a trace from an Alpine hamlet named Haut-Vernet on July 8 where he was staying with his grandparents.

Prosecutors in France have now said they are ‘investigating causes of the worrying disappearance.’

They have ruled out a wild animal attack and searches of houses in the village did not lead to any discovery.

Police are now investigating the possibility that he may have been hit by an agricultural machine while walking in long grass.

Read more: Fears missing French boy, 2, is dead and his body hidden after crash with 'car or tractor'

Read more: Desperate hunt for French boy 2, who vanished playing in garden on holiday as police ramp up search efforts

Émile went missing on Saturday afternoon
Émile went missing on Saturday afternoon. Picture: Twitter

A farmer told BFMTV: “Sometimes we find deer. The little one may have ended up in the tall grass and been hit by a farm machine. That would be terrible.”

The search for him was called off on Wednesday last week after prosecutors said the ‘physical search’ could go no further as there was ‘no sign’ of the boy.

Police meticulously search the outskirts of the village of Vernet for Emile
Police meticulously search the outskirts of the village of Vernet for Emile. Picture: Alamy

“The judicial investigation into the causes of the disappearance will continue, in particular by analysing the considerable mass of information and elements collected over the past four days,” prosecutor Remi Avon said.

Police are also investigating his possible murder or kidnap as well as theory of an industrial accident.

Residents of the village have begun describing it as ‘cursed’ after a series of tragedies.

In March 2015 150 people died in a plane crash near the hamlet, and fifteen years ago the village cafe manager was murdered by a customer.

One resident said: “Vernet feels like a village of the damned.”

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