Five unanswered questions on missing Emile as hunt for French boy is called off after five-day search of Alpine village

MYSTERY surrounds the disappearance of two-year-old Emile Soleil who vanished from his grandparents’ garden in the south of France.

Cops launched a frantic search in the village of Le Vernet in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, where young Emile Soleil disappeared last Saturday.

Twitter/@GendarmerieTwo-year-old Emile Soleil vanished from his grandparents’ home in Le Vernet[/caption]

AFPCops and volunteers scoured the area but could not find any trace of Emile[/caption]

The search for the young boy was called off on ThursdayRex

Émile’s grandparents alerted the authorities about 5.15pm local time sparking a massive search for the missing boy.

French investigators alongside volunteers spend days scouring the area around the slopes of Haut-Vernet, using a helicopter, drones and sniffer dogs but to no avail.

Officials called off the search on Thursday as “no sign” of Emile was found in the small hamlet, home to about two dozen people.

Authorities said they now enter a different phase of the investigation where they will analyse their findings including phone records to track locals at the time of the tot’s disappearance.

The boy’s disappearance has sparked multiple theories regarding his whereabouts with several questions remaining unanswered.

Why was the search called off? 

Over 800 people were involved in the search for the missing boy as even a recording of Emile’s mum voice was playing from speakers hoping the child would run towards it.

As that technique didn’t work either, authorities decided to change their strategy and analyse the data they already had.

Local prosecutor of Digne-les-Baines Rémy Avon announced the “physical search” would end on Wednesday evening saying if the child was in the area he “should have been found in the perimeter in two days”.

He explained police are looking into all possible theories and have not ruled out anything.

He said: “At the moment we have no clue, no information, no element that can help us understand this disappearance.

“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 added that cops are investigating all possibilities including that Emile had been murdered, kidnaped or involved in an accident.

What did the neighbours say?

Émile, who is originally from Bouches-du-Rhône near Marseille, was described as 3ft tall with brown eyes and blonde hair.

The day he disappeared he was wearing a yellow top, white shorts with a green pattern, and hiking shoes.

He was last seen by two people when he left his grandparents’ home but they said they “lost sight of him.”

A source close to the investigation told La Depeche the two witnesses who “confirmed that they saw the child walking alone at the time of his disappearance” are “reliable people” who they “trust completely.”

Was Emile’s family involved in his disappearance?

The absence of the boy’s parents from the public eye as well as information emerging about their background has fuelled speculation regarding the family’s involvement in the boy’s disappearance.

A police source said: “A family reunion was taking place, with several uncles and aunts of the child, of all ages, including some minors.

“Émile was seen on Saturday morning, along with other children.”

Meanwhile a local told French newspaper Le Figaro there was “some bickering between the children” a few days before Emile’s disappearance.

Asked whether it is possible for the boy’s family to be somehow involved in his disappearance, a source close to the investigation told La Depeche that it is a theory police are exploring among others.

Could Emile’s disappearance be linked to his dad’s past?

It has been confirmed that cops are probing the boy’s parents’ extreme-right wing background.

Colomban Soleil, 26, was a member of the notorious far-right nationalist group Action Francaise as well as Bastion Social.

Legal sources confirmed to the Mail Online, the dad’s background was being probed by the cops after he was arrested for “an attack on foreigners” in 2018.

A source said: “You make a lot of enemies when you’re an ally of Eric Zemmour and groups like Action Francaise and Bastion Social.

“No theory for Émile’s disappearance has been ruled out, so of course this background is being examined.

“It may be that a kidnap is linked to political enemies.”

Was Emile kidnapped?

The mayor of Le Vernet  Francois Balique said their best hope is for the boy to have been kidnapped.

Speaking to Le Figaro, Francois Balique said: “Our only hope now is that he’s been taken and is alive. It’s the last thing we can hope for and it’s already terrible.

“We could consider that someone wanting to cause harm to a child passed by the area, that he saw this beautiful little boy and took him away. He couldn’t survive alone in the wild, that’s for sure.

“And since little Emile’s body has not been found, it means that he was not alone at the time.

“We can consider a car accident in which the driver would have panicked and concealed the body. That’s one hypothesis.”

AFPFrench cops said they are not ruling out any theory[/caption]

AFPVolunteers spent days searching for the tot in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence[/caption]

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