EMILE MYSTERY Chilling theory in Emile Soleil case after only some of missing two-year-old’s remains found ‘in village of the damned’

 A CHILLING new theory has emerged after the remains of missing two-year-old Emile Soleil were found mysteriously close to his Alpine village.

Walkers discovered the bones of the French tot on Saturday almost nine months after he vanished from his remote family home in a case that baffled police and shocked the nation.

The partial remains of Emile Soleil, 2, were found on Saturday near to his village in the French Alps
The partial remains of Emile Soleil, 2, were found on Saturday near to his village in the French AlpsCredit: AFP
Cops are still establishing a case of the tot's death
Cops are still establishing a case of the tot's deathCredit: Splash
The local mayor said the bones were discovered inside the village - sparking concerns they were moved
The local mayor said the bones were discovered inside the village - sparking concerns they were movedCredit: Rex

Prosecutors are still working to determine the cause of the death by analysing the skull and bones that were found.

Cops said that little Emile's remains were found outside of the hamlet Le Vernet, however the local mayor claimed the bones were discovered inside its boundaries.

François Balique told Le Figaro that they were found "on a path between the Church and Chapel" in the village - just over a 100 yards from his home.

But Mayor Balique said the hamlet in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence had been "thoroughly searched by gendarmes", suggesting that the bones could have been moved back to Vernet.A source close to the investigation told The Mail that such a move would add a very disturbing element to the investigation.

It would be unlikely that animals would return human remains, the source claimed.

Instead they said the discovery suggests that "a person brought Emile's remains back, and potentially very recently".

There is also said to be confusion as to why only some of toddler's remains were found.

A key investigating source confirmed that only part of the body was located including the skull.

They revealed: "The deceased’s teeth have all been recovered too, but some other elements of the body are gone.

"Drones and sniffer dogs are combing the entire area of countryside to try and find more.

"It may be that body parts were taken away by wild animals, but no theory is being ruled out."


After going missing on July 8 last year from his isolated grandparents' home, police launched a major search.

For days, police, soldiers, sniffer dogs, scores of volunteers, a helicopter and drones failed to find any sign.

They began a criminal investigation into possible abduction but didn't rule out the possibilities of an accident or fall.

This heartbreaking news was feared.

Emile's Parents

There had been no trace of Emile since, with investigators refusing to rule out any theory for the tragedy, including abduction and murder.

Cops. soldiers and volunteers scoured the area but could not find any trace of Emile last year
Cops. soldiers and volunteers scoured the area but could not find any trace of Emile last yearCredit: AFP
Huge crowds gathered to help fine the missing toddler
Huge crowds gathered to help fine the missing toddlerCredit: Rex
The case left police baffled as Emile appeared to have vanished
The case left police baffled as Emile appeared to have vanishedCredit: AFP

The grim discovery on Saturday was described as a major breakthrough for the criminal enquiry that stalled last year.

On Sunday, the entire village was blockaded by police with nobody allowed to leave or enter.

A statement released by public prosecutors in Aix-en-Provence on Sunday added that "genetic analysis identifies" the bones as belonging to Emile.

It added that "criminalistic analysis" was also underway, and that gendarmes were carrying out "additional research" in the area where they were found.

"This heartbreaking news was feared," the child's parents said in a statement.

The official search site is two miles as the crow flies from the house in Haut-Vernet, where Emile was last seen with his grandfather, Philippe Vedovini, 58.

Emile was officially in the care of Mr Vedovini on the day of his disappearance as his parents, Marie Soleil and Colomban Soleil took a break.

A witness saw Mr Vedovini, a physiotherapist-osteopath, cutting wood outside his house around the time Emile is thought to have wandered off.

The grandfather's lawyer on Sunday declined to comment, "out of respect for the family's grief".

Lead prosecutor Rémy Avon said the possibilities that Emile had been murdered, kidnapped, or got involved in an accident were all being looked at.

He confirmed that Emile's parents' home, in the southern town of La Bouilladisse, near Marseille, was searched back in July, while the grandparents' homes nearby, and in the Alps, were also raided.

The mysterious saga has evoked comparisons with the BBC series, The Missing, in which a young boy vanishes whilst on holiday with his family in France, only to be killed in a hit-and-run accident after chasing a fox.

Timeline of the search for Emile

July 8, 2023 - Emile Soleil vanishes from his grandparents' home in a small village near Le Vernet in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence

July 8 to 14, 2023 - Police lead a huge search that uncovers no trace of the toddler

July 14, 2023 - Cops call off the search and the investigation goes cold

March 30, 2024 - A walker finds bones near to the village that Emile disappeared from

March 31, 2024 - Investigators confirm the remains belong to the missing French two-year-old and a renewed criminal probe begins 


Residents of Vernet often refer to it as the "village of the damned" due to a number of horror incidents in its past.

In March 2015, the hamlet was also cordoned off following a horrific air crash in which 150 people died, including two babies.

The Germanwings Airbus A320 was deliberately brought down by co-pilot Andres Lubitz, who had previously been treated for suicidal tendencies.

Many Vernet residents took part in high mountain searches for possible survivors at the time.

They also opened their homes to family and friends of those who perished in the disaster.

The inhabitants of Vernet were also shaken by the murder of a local café manager in the village 15 years ago.

Jeannette Grosos, who ran the Café du Moulin, was brutally killed by a customer in 2008.

Mayor François Balique said: "It was a real drama for the whole village – one which it has had a hard time recovering."

One resident of Vernat said: "Everybody is saying it – Vernet feels like a village of the damned."

On Sunday, a statement from Emile's parents, Marie and Colomban Soleil, who are both devout Catholics, said they "now know on this Resurrection Sunday that Emile watches over them in the light and tenderness of God".

It continued: "Marie and Colomban would like to thank all those who helped and supported them as well as the investigating judges and investigators for their work, their professionalism, their personal commitment and their humanity which were of great comfort to them, in recent months and in particular on this day...

"But the pain and sorrow remain. The time has come for mourning, contemplation and prayer."

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