On February 27, 8-year-old Spanish boy Gabriel Cruz left his grandmother’s house in the municipality of Níjar and headed to his friend's place for a playdate.
But Gabriel never returned home. His relatives notified police and a missing person’s alert was issued with the smiling boys face, which went viral via social media and mobile messages.
As the BBC reports, more than 4000 police and volunteers searched for the 8-year-old; on Friday, thousands gathered at a rally in support of Gabrielle’s mother and father.
“(We) hope we will get Gabriel back soon and that he will return home with his family, which is where a boy who is only eight should be,” father Angel Cruz told reporters on March 3.
But on Sunday, the Spanish government announced the devastating news that Gabrielle had been found dead in the boot of a car driven by his father’s partner, Ana Julia Quezada.
“This morning, the Civil Guard stopped the companion of Gabriel’s father while she was transporting the little boy’s corpse in the boot of a car,” Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido said, news.com.au reports.
Ms Quezada was pulled by police and arrested.
According to Spanish media, police were monitoring the boy’s stepmother after she and Angel Cruz fond a T-shirt with the boy’s DNA about 10km from Níjar.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy mourned the loss of 8-year-old Gabrielle on Twitter. “I share with all Spaniards the pain of losing Gabriel,” he tweeted. “Rest in peace.”