A 6-year-old German boy led Spanish police Wednesday to a cave on the Canary island of Tenerife where they found the bodies of his mother and 10-year-old brother, apparently at the hands of his father.
Authorities said the boy was spotted by hikers on Tuesday alone near the town of Adeje, covered in dirt and crying on the path. It is believed the boy had spent about five hours wandering alone before he was discovered, El Pais reported.
The hikers took the boy, who doesn’t speak Spanish and appeared to be in shock, to the Civil Guard station, where a local resident helped translate.
The boy, which the Spanish newspaper identified as Jonas, told authorities through a translator that his father had led him and his family to a cave and attacked him. He said he was able to escape after seeing large quantities of blood.
Civil Guard officials arrested the 43-year-old father, who is also German and identified as Thomas Handrick by El Pais, in an apartment in downtown Adeje, a town of 43,000 residents in southwestern Tenerife.
He reportedly refused to say where the rest of his family was and became violent during the arrest. Handrick had scratch marks and injuries at the time of his arrest, El Pais reported.
On Wednesday, a search party of more than 100 emergency workers and police, aided by helicopters, was sent out to find the boy’s missing brother and mother.
The bodies of Shylvia, 39, and her 10-year-old son were located Wednesday afternoon in a cave between two ravines at the base of the Teide volcano, which towers over Tenerife.
The bodies had signs of violence, El Pais reported, citing anonymous investigation sources.
The mother and children had traveled from Germany to the Canary island on Monday to visit the father, who was living on there as a cook, according to the newspaper.
A local court that specializes in crimes against women has taken charge of the case and sealed the investigation, the Associated Press reported.
The volcanic Tenerife island in the Atlantic Ocean is a popular holiday destination. Adeje officials declared three days of mourning and maintained a minute of silence at noon on Thursday in tribute to the victims.
Violence against women is a persistent problem in Spain, where more than 990 women have died at the hands of their partners or former partners since 2003, when official Spanish records on such slayings began.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.