Divers search lake for body in case compared to BBC's The Missing

Divers search lake for the body of little Emile, two, in French village: New hope in the case compared to BBC’s The Missing after digging up concrete slabs near family home found nothing

  • Divers are searching a lake in the village little Emile, two, went missing from 
  • Emile, from Haut-Vernet in rural France went missing more than two months ago
  • A major search operation involving 800 gendarmes was launched  

Frogmen are searching a 1500sqm lake in rural France as part of a major investigation into the disappearance of a two-year-old boy that has been compared to the hit BBC show The Missing. 

Emile Soleil, whose parents live in Marseilles, disappeared without trace on July 8 from Haut-Vernet, an Alpine hamlet south of Grenoble where he was staying with his grandparents.

A major search operation was launched involving 800 gendarmes, firefighters, volunteers, helicopters, thermic camera drones, and sniffer dogs to try to find the toddler.

The case drew a dark comparison with hit BBC drama The Missing, starring James Nesbitt and Frances O’Connor, in which a young boy vanishes while on holiday with his family in France. 

The child in the TV show is presumed kidnapped, but turns out to have been run over and thrown unconscious into the boot of a car by a driver who thinks he is dead. 

On July 8 two-year-old Émile Soleil (pictured) disappeared without trace from Haut-Vernet, an Alpine hamlet south of Grenoble

Gendarmes meticulously searching the outskirts of the village of Vernet back in July. The search has now been renewed

Frogmen are understood to be diving in this lake, located by the hamlet’s public swimming pool

Divers from the local police force revealed they are inspecting a lake next to a public swimming pool in the tiny hamlet for the second time, going back to make sure they have investigated it properly. 

It comes as police investigating the disappearance of a two-year-old French boy who went missing two months ago renewed their search last week by digging up a large concrete slab at a neighbour’s house. 

After an apparent lull in the investigation, detectives have now turned their attention to a house just a few hundred metres away from the family home, BFM DICI reports.

They reportedly used a jackhammer to destroy a concrete slab at the property, which is believed to have been laid during work carried out by a construction company this summer. 

French media outlets are reporting that shortly after Emile went missing, a sonar device detected an anomaly on the slab.

Searches of the area have since been made, with the mayor of Vernet telling BFMTV that they were a ‘simple check’ by police so the homeowner could finish work on the house.

Last month, mayor Francois Balique speculated that Emile must have been moved from the village by one or more adults.

He told CNews: ‘When we see that we have not found Emile in the town, it means that he has necessarily been moved. It cannot be otherwise. [He] could only have been moved by adults, by one or more adults. 

‘Either we are dealing with a madman, or we are dealing with someone Machiavellian.’

After days of thorough searches over the summer, a spokesman said: ‘Either the body was concealed after an accident, or it was removed.’

His comments sparked wild speculation. 

Two gendarmes meticulously search the surroundings of a house for the young boy who has vanished

Some have speculated that Emile may have been hit by a car on the small, unsighted country roads of Haut Vernet, and that his panicked killer may have taken away his body after accidentally running him down.

The public prosecutor has previously stressed that ‘no element characterises a criminal offence likely to be at the origin of this disappearance.’ 

After weeks of scouring the area, there is still no trace of the two-year-old.

Police have carried out searches of the 20 or so houses in the small Alpine hamlet, as it stands to no avail.

French investigators called off their initial search after five days of excavations ‘yielded nothing’.

Remy Avon, public prosecutor of Digne-les-Baines, said that 97 hectares had been scoured by 100 investigators, while volunteers turned out to cover more ground.

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