CANARY ISLANDS

Search continues for two missing girls in Tenerife

The father of the children, who has also disappeared, transferred €55,000 between two of his bank accounts the day before they were last seen

Guardia Civil officers search the home of Tomás Gimeno, the father of the missing girls, Anna and Olivia.
Guardia Civil officers search the home of Tomás Gimeno, the father of the missing girls, Anna and Olivia.Ramón de la Rocha / EFE
Santa Cruz de Tenerife - 04 May 2021 - 12:21 UTC

Update

A man who disappeared with his two young children last week on the Spanish island of Tenerife made a €55,000 transfer between two of his bank accounts a day earlier, investigators said.

An extensive search operation is underway for one-year-old Anna and six-year-old Olivia after their mother reported them missing on April 27. The children were visiting their father, Tomás Gimeno, 37, who reportedly told his ex-partner in a telephone conversation that night that she would never see the kids again, but that he would take good care of them.

(l-r) Olivia, aged six, and one-year-old Anna.
(l-r) Olivia, aged six, and one-year-old Anna.

Gimeno’s boat was found adrift on Wednesday off the east coast of the island, and traces of blood were located on board. A police analysis has determined that it is the father’s blood, according to the Cadena SER radio network. On Thursday, a child safety car seat was found floating in the sea, and the Civil Guard has confirmed that it belonged to Anna, the youngest.

The government delegate in the Canary Islands, Anselmo Pestana, gave a news conference on Tuesday and said that the search has moved to the south of the island, where investigators suspect that sea currents may have dragged the boat.

Around 20 members of the Civil Guard on Monday conducted a second search of Gimeno’s home in Igueste de Candelaria, a municipality near Candelaria, in the eastern region of Tenerife. Specialized air and sea units are participating in the search operation.

Investigators are following up on the possibility that Gimeno was aided by one or more individuals to carry out a preconceived plan to kidnap his own children, according to sources cited by the news agency Efe.

Sources familiar with the investigation said that no cash withdrawals have been made from Gimeno’s accounts since his disappearance on April 27. On that day, he picked up his youngest daughter from the home of his ex-partner, Beatriz Zimmerman, with whom he had reached an informal agreement on visitation rights.

Tomás Antonio Giméno, father of the missing girls who has also disappeared.
Tomás Antonio Giméno, father of the missing girls who has also disappeared.SOSDESAPARECIDOS / Europa Press

From there he headed to a German learning center called Die Villa, in the municipality of El Rosario, to collect his eldest daughter, according to the Civil Guard’s report. This document states that at 9pm, Beatriz Zimmerman went to Gimeno’s house to take the girls home, but nobody opened the door. When she phoned her ex, he said that he’d gone out to dinner with the kids and that he’d drive them home later.

Shortly before 10pm, the mother phoned Gimeno again. This time, he told her that she would never see either him or the children again, but not to worry because he would take good care of them.

At that point, Zimmerman went to the nearest Civil Guard precinct, in Radazul (El Rosario) to file a report. From there she made a third call to Gimeno, who answered in similar terms. By 11.45pm the father’s phone was either turned off or without reception.

There was one final phone conversation at 1.30am, during which the couple “talked about their relationship” and Gimeno said that “he is going somewhere far away and she will not see the girls again,” according to the police report.

The next day, Zimmerman told officers that Gimeno’s parents said their son had visited them with the kids at around 7.30pm on the day of their disappearance, and that he used terms that “sounded like a farewell.” Friends of the missing man reported having similar conversations with him.

A Civil Guard patrol searches for the two missing girls and their father.
A Civil Guard patrol searches for the two missing girls and their father.Europa Press / Europa Press

Last seen at the port

Gimeno was seen at the local marina on Tuesday at 5.50pm, where he told employees that he was going to “check the engine” of his boat. He was back there at 9.30pm, where the night watchman saw him take out several bags and suitcases from his white Audi A3. This employee said that Gimeno was alone.

Gimeno sailed out in his boat at around 9.50pm, then returned at 23.30pm. He asked the security guard to let him charge his phone for around 15 minutes, then sailed away again half an hour past midnight.

A court opened proceedings the next morning for alleged kidnapping and an extensive search operation got underway.

English version by Susana Urra.

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