HORRIFIED beachgoers mistook the “headless” body of a child that washed up in Spain for a doll, it is reported.
The remains of the youngster, thought to be aged between two and three, were found on the sand early this morning.
Police cordoned off the beach after the remains were foundSolarpix
SolarpixThe grisly discovery was made in the Costa Dorada resort of Roda de Bera[/caption]
Emergency services raced to the scene in the Costa Dorada resort of Roda de Bera at around 8.50am local time (7.50am BST) after a council cleaner made the grisly discovery.
Cops found the body of the child, which is understood to be heavily decomposed and missing body parts including the head.
The remains had washed onto the beach in the east coast province of Tarragona from the water.
But before the alarm was raised, beachgoers are understood to have walked past the body and not contacted police as they thought they were looking at a doll because of its decomposed state.
Roda de Bera mayor Pere Virgili told local programme El món a RAC1 the body had been “in the sea for a long time”.
He added: “It is a decapitated corpse, so it was difficult to know if it was a person.
“At first instance it could look like a doll.”
Virgili said the youngster could have been on a migrant boat that capsized in the Mediterranean, adding that the child appeared to be wearing “a bodysuit and a kind of jacket”.
He added: “It’s not the typical outfit for a kid going to the beach.”
Cops quickly cordoned off the beach and moved locals and holidaymakers onto other areas of the sand and urged people to stay away.
The remains were removed from the sand at around 11.30am local time (10.30am BST) following judicial authorisation.
A spokesman for the Civil Guard said: “All we can confirm at the moment is that the body of a baby has been found at Roda de Bera beach in the province of Tarragona.
“The matter is still under investigation.”
An autopsy will take place in the coming hours to try to determine the cause of death.
The town hall said in a tweet: “We inform you that this morning the body of a two to three-year-old child was found on the shoreline on the Costa Dorada beach.
“The area is cordoned off and we ask the public to avoid the area.”
The court probe is being led by a judge based in the nearby town of El Vendrell.
A court spokesman said: “A court of instruction, Court of Instruction number 7 in El Vendrell which is acting as a duty court, has today authorised the removal of a body found on a beach in Roda de Bera.
“The judge has opened the corresponding inquiry and is awaiting receipt of the corresponding forensic and police reports.
“We do not have any extra information we can make public at this moment in time.”
As well as trying to establish the cause of death, forensic experts will try to calculate how long the youngster’s body had been in the sea.
Roda de Bera is a 25-minute drive north of Tarragona and, with Barcelona just over an hour’s drive north, it is popular with British tourists.