The Catalan police have arrested an American couple after walking into their Girona duplex and finding the decomposed body of a young boy, presumably their son.
Investigators said the child appeared to be around seven years old and had been dead for around four weeks judging by the body’s advanced state of decay. An autopsy will determine the cause of death, which the parents had not reported.
The parents, who were arrested on Tuesday, have so far failed to provide any details about the child’s death.
The pair had been living in Girona for around a year and a half, but the children were not going to school
Mossos d’Esquadra officers arrived at the scene after the owner of the duplex apartment came by to demand that the tenants pay their rent, which they had been behind on since September.
As this woman stood outside the door, ringing the doorbell and getting no reply, she heard loud shouting inside the property. That is when she decided to call the police.
When the Mossos showed up at the apartment, located in Girona’s central Eixample district, the couple were visibly agitated and did not resist arrest, said sources familiar with the case.
Officers who walked inside the premises noticed a strong offensive smell and proceeded to inspect the rooms, one of which held the lifeless body of the child. Sources said there were no obvious signs of violence, and that the family had placed mattresses near the body, suggesting that they were spending time in the same room.
The same sources said the suspects are a middle-class family with two other children ages 12 and 14. They had been living in Girona for around a year and a half, but the children were not going to any local schools and were apparently following online courses in English. None of the family members spoke either Spanish or Catalan.
The father, a 39-year-old engineer, might have ties with the US consulate, these sources added. He and his wife, 38, were paying a monthly rent of €1,100 for their duplex apartment, although they fell back on their payments in September.
Neighbors said the family kept mostly to itself and that for a long time nobody had seen any of its members other than the father, and then only occasionally.
The inquiry will now try to determine whether the child died of natural causes, whether he suffered an accident or whether there was criminal intent behind his death. The question also remains as to why the parents did not report the death in the first place.
Although all avenues of investigation remain open, one of the main hypotheses is that the child got sick, that his condition worsened, and that the parents failed to seek the necessary medical attention.
English version by Susana Urra.