The remains of Ruth (6) and Jose (2), the two small children from Cordoba who went missing 11 months ago and whose fate have since gripped Spain, have been found. Their father, who has been in jail since they went missing accused of abducting the children, will now be charged with their murder.
The remains were identified after the Mother of the children paid for an independent laboratory analysis of bones found in a huge bonfire the father had lit the same day that the children had gone missing. An initial police forensic examination of the bones said they were animal remains, probably of a dog or rodents. 10 months later, an independent analysis paid for by the family said that these remains were obviously human, a diagnosis later confirmed by a second police examination.
As to why the police never bothered to ask themselves why the main suspect had been cremating “dogs” on the same day his children disappeared : no answer. Breton, the father, claims that he lit the fire in order to burn possessions of his ex-wife, who had left him shortly before and filed for divorce. Police investigators reckon he got the bonfire up to about 800ºC, more than enough to vaporise flesh, but not enough to destroy the larger bones and teeth.
An empty box of Orfidal, a powerful sedative, found nearby, was never explained away, although Breton says they were his personal sleeping tablets.
A senior police official from Seville has privately admitted that this appears to be one of the greatest cockups (un error garrafal) ever committed by the Spanish police, and said that there is no logical explanation as to why such a gross negliance was allowed to happen. The analysis had been carried out by a forensic anthropologist from the Central Police Laboratory in Madrid.
Police had searched the fathers home and land 15 times in 11 months looking for the remains of the children, after CCTV evidence proved that A) the father was lying about having gone to a park with them in the afternoon and B) the last time they were seen alive they were entering the fathers smallholding.
The head of the Andalucian Forensic Police Unit has already gone on record saying that the matter had been taken out of his hands at a very early stage in the investigation, and insists that the error was committed by the central unit in Madrid. Furthermore, he says that his unit was never crossreferenced for the investigation, nor asked to carry out any seperate analysis.
Interestingly enough, the lead detective on the case was inititally Manuel Piedrabuena, the fool who could never find the body of Marta del Castillo, a teenager killed in Seville and whose search for her body became headline Spanish news after spending millions searching the river and local tips. He was later relived of the Ruth and Jose case after being severely criticised for having been lead a song and dance by the chief suspects in the Marta del Castillo case.
The family says they made the indepedent analysis available to the press in order to call an independent scrutiny onto the police actions.
Cockup, coverup or negliagance? I think we can be fairly sure that nobody important is going to lose their position over this.