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11th Jul 2023

Major search operation underway after boy (2) disappears from grandparents’ house in France

A major search is underway after a 2-year-old boy went missing from his grandparents’ house in France.

Police do not believe the boy was kidnapped, but believe he went missing after wandering off alone.

Émile has not been seen since Saturday afternoon when he was playing at his grandparents’ house in the south of France.

The family was on holiday in the small village of Le Vernet in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence when he vanished.

Police are now racing against time to find the missing boy.

It is understood that the family was getting ready to go out for the day before Émile disappeared. His grandparents went to put the young boy in the car when they noticed he wandered off.

They immediately contacted emergency services and officers have been searching for the young boy since.

Investigating officers believe he “took advantage of this fleeting moment of inattention to leave”.

The Mayor of Le Vernet François Balique said they do not believe the toddler was kidnapped.

He told French TV, “It’s a small village with 20 or so houses … we see everything. He could have gone some distance and perhaps got lost or was hiding.”

The search has been extended and helicopters are now being used in a bid to find the child. He was spotted by two people near his grandparents’ house but they reportedly “lost sight” of the child.

Sniffer dogs and thermic camera drones are also being used to help find Émile.