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Missing toddler ‘may have been run over by combine harvester’ says new theory

2 min read

Police searching for a missing toddler in France are exploring the horrifying theory that he may have been run over by a combine harvester in long grass.

Two-year-old Émile Soleil went missing on July 8 while staying with his grandparents in Haut-Vernet, an Alpine hamlet south of Grenoble.

Theories around his disappearance have spread since he first went missing, and a bird of prey or wolf attack had even been mentioned. But now, police believe he may have had a brush with an agricultural machine.

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The Mirror reported that a farmer from the village of Le Vernet, where the search is taking place, told local media that it would not be an illogical scenario.

He explained: "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 countryside search for missing Émile was called off on Wednesday evening last week, after four days.

Hundreds of gendarmes, police and volunteers had been involved in a vast operation beating fields and bushes, and examining them from the air.

Prosecutor Remy Avon said that the "physical search" could go no further, because there was 'no sign' of Émile.

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He added: "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."

He said the possibilities that Émile had been murdered, kidnapped, or got involved in an accident were all being looked at. "All these theories are active," said Mr Avon. "Nothing has been ruled out."

The police have released a photo and description of Emile, who is almost 3ft tall, with brown eyes, and blonde hair. He was wearing a yellow top, white shorts with a green pattern, and hiking shoes at the time of his disappearance.

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