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The search returns to Gabriel's environment

The investigation into the disappearance of the child is centered in the Hortichuelas, a district of Almería in which barely a dozen neighbors live

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The search returns to Gabriel's environment

There is a general maxim in investigation of a criminal or apparently criminal fact, such as disappearance of a minor: "The chances of author being someone in environment are inversely proportional to risk that victim assumes, that is, if The situation in which facts occur involves very little danger — in broad daylight, in known territory — it is much more likely that matter is related to nearby people. " Perhaps that is why, in case of Gabriel Cruz, eight-year-old boy who disappeared 12 days ago in Níjar (Almería), researchers return again and again to exact place where trail was lost: Hortichuelas.

More information
  • The difficulty of investigating a disappearance
  • DNA tests confirm that shirt found is from Gabriel, child disappeared from Níjar

It is a tiny district divided, despite its dimension, in two parts: High Hortichuelas and Low Hortichuelas. Seen from top of valley, are two small groups of whitewashed houses at a distance of one kilometer from each or, on each side of road that crosses Natural Park of Cabo de Gata, from Campohermoso (inland) to black (on coast). The communications of Hortichuelas with outside world consist of a daily bus that arrives to Almería. Stop by highway at 7.30 and return at 15.15.

In total, in all district, a hundred people are registered, but at this time of year, without tourism, locals are counted with fingers of hands. "Here? All year? Living? We will be about thirty people, 15 in upper and ors in Baja, "says one of inhabitants, born 60 years ago in small house Encalada from which he speaks, and able to give names of all his neighbors, house by house.

Chronology of an investigation


Tuesday, February 27th, 2018. Gabriel leaves his grandmor's house in Hortichuelas towards 15.30 to his cousins ' house, a hundred metres away. He never came and nobody else has seen him since. It took five and a half hours to warn Civil guard.

on Wednesday 28 February , man who had been harassing child's mor, Patricia Ramírez, was interrogated for two years. He remains detained for almost 72 hours and judge sent him to prison for third time restraining order was skipped. The mor says he has nothing to do with disappearance of his son.

on Saturday, March 3, current far of child's partner, Ángel Cruz, finds a T-shirt next to a scrubber, which alters both search and research. DNA evidence certifies that it's from Gabriel.

In Hortichuelas not only children live all year round, "except two of a Moroccan woman, who lives in upper part," says anor neighbor. Javier, son of Paca, one of those older ladies, who can not read "or dial phone because he does not know numbers", is in charge of collecting. It takes m in ir car, toger with children of Black ones (to three kilometers) and those of Rodalquilar (to 5 kilometers), until a school in Campohermoso, to 14 kilometers.

There are only children on holiday or holidays. Gabriel disappeared around 15.30 on Tuesday February 27th, day before Andalusia. He was passing bridge with his grandmor Carmen. Those days it was his turn to be with his far, Ángel Cruz, who is separated from his mor, Patricia Ramirez, but he worked in a company in area and left him with grandmor. Gabriel matched those days with his cousins and that afternoon he was on his way home when something happened to him. It never came.

Since n, all neighbors who were in village have become suspects in investigation carried out by Guardia Civil. The hyposis of loss is unlikely, because distance between house of his grandmor and that of his uncles is scarce one hundred meters and child ran it several times a day. "Someone has taken him," repeats his far.

"Here, in Hortichuelas, that afternoon, apart from Carmen and woman who is now with her son — a young Latin American — because y were her cousin Rosita and her husband, which is house that child was going to and who also live here for a lifetime" , says a neighbor who prefers not to go out with her name. "Then re are or cousins of Carmen [ grandmor of child], who are two women of about 90 years, Margarita and Carmen, and son, Antonio and his daughter-in-law, Sonia", continues. "Then re is consolation, which is one that says he felt a car slam that afternoon and is in charge of saving and cleaning some of houses that are rented." "is also Tato, who works in work and must be about 45 years." "and Lola, who lives with her three children since she broke up, and works in greenhouses, her little boy is 18 years old." "I think two young girls are still living for rent who are looking for a bar to run it." "Oh, and I think I just lack innocence, which is house that is right in front of those of boy's uncles, how many do I leave?" According to account of this neighbor add 18 — counting on her — adults who could be in village afternoon that Gabriel disappeared. The majority are family with each or: "Closer or farr, but here we are all family," says lady.

All se inhabitants of Hortichuelas have been interrogated, and ir houses and environs inspected by agents and by dogs specialists in detecting biological remains without finding any trace of Gabriel.

The trail of T-shirt

The only trace found so far is inner shirt that child allegedly wore and found — four kilometres from that neighborhood — bride of child's far in one of Monte beats, four days after his disappearance. It was in ravine of Eagles, in black. There, at bottom of ravine, next to skimmer, was garment. Divers, dogs, helicopters, firefighters, civil protection, volunteers, Civil Guard agents, journalists... They've all tracked that area again without finding anything else.

Meanwhile, in low Hortichuelas, Grandma Carmen's house, with ample land, remains full of cars and people. It is penultimate of small dirt road in which Gabriel was lost, and on one hand leads to town, but on or ends up on road, a direct exit for any vehicle without having to go through population. For twelve days, in that little district, silence of nap time has been replaced by a buzz reminiscent of a swarm of bees. It is a drone that flies over area incessantly.


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