A 6-year-old German boy led authorities to a cave in Tenerife, in Spain’s Canary Islands, where they found the bodies of his mother and brother after the boy had fled his father who allegedly trapped his whole family there.
After escaping the cave, the boy, who was identified as Jonas, was found crying and covered in dirt by a group of hikers on a path near the south of the island, reported local media El Pais. It was believed the boy had been wandering the mountains alone and in shock for about five hours.
A 43-year-old German national has been accused of murdering his former partner and 10-year-old son inside a cave in Tenerife, in Spain’s Canary Islands. Police were alerted to the crime by the six-year-old brother, who helped officers find the bodies https://t.co/EWqRgsu9Hq
— El País in English (@elpaisinenglish) April 25, 2019
The hikers took the boy, who couldn’t speak Spanish, to a Civil Guard station where a local resident helped to translate. There, the boy told authorities how his father led his family into a cave before allegedly launching an attack on them. The boy said he managed to escape after seeing the blows and a large amount of blood.
The father, who was identified as 43-year-old Thomas Handrick, was subsequently arrested in his apartment in Adeje, which is located in a town of 43,000 residents in southwestern Tenerife.
When authorities came to arrest Handrick, he was asleep as though nothing happened. During the arrest, the 43-year-old began acting violently and refused to tell authorities where the rest of his family was, reported the news website, citing sources familiar with the investigation. He also had scratches on his face, indicating that the victims had tried to defend themselves.
Using the information provided by the 6-year-old, a search party of 100 emergency workers and two helicopters went out to search for the victims’ bodies on April 24. The bodies of the mother, Shylvia, 39, and the 10-year-old brother were recovered in the afternoon of the same day in a sparsely populated area between two ravines.
The sources told El Pais that they believe the father allegedly attacked the mother first before attacking his eldest son, who was paralyzed by fear.
It is believed that Shylvia and her two children traveled to Tenerife on April 22 to visit the father, who was living and working on the island as a cook, the news website reported. The couple had reportedly separated, and Shylvia would routinely bring the children to the island so that the children could spend time with their father.
The case remains under seal and is being handled by a court that specializes in crimes against women in Arona, according to the news website, citing judicial sources.
Tenerife cave: Son leads police to bodies of mother and brother https://t.co/NQtlnvy6aO
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 25, 2019
The father is being held at a police station in Playa de las Americas and is expected to appear in court on April 26, reported BBC.
Adeje authorities have declared three days of mourning and also maintained one minute of silence at noon on April 25 in the wake of the tragedy.
Moreover, Jonas’s maternal grandparents are flying to Tenerife to take care of the 6-year-old boy.
This case raises the number of women who had been murdered by partners or ex-partners so far this year to 18, according to Deputy Prime Minister Calvo.
Tenerife is the largest and most populated island of the seven Canary islands and is also a popular tourist destination.