The dead boy is believed to have been seven years old and police sources said that the body, found in a bed under several blankets, could have been left to decompose for several weeks. There were no obvious signs of physical violence, the same sources said.
Officers from Catalonia's Mossos d’Esquadra police force attended the family’s home on Tuesday after being called by the couple’s landlord. He told the police that he had visited the family to settle unpaid bills but became suspicious when he was not allowed in and heard screams the other side of the door.
When police agents gained access to the flat at midday on Tuesday they were met by a strong smell of decomposing flesh. The body was not taken away until some six hours later after officers had searched the home for clues which could explain the cause of death. The results of an autopsy were being awaited on Wednesday, while the police questioned and eventually arrested the couple on suspicion of manslaughter.
The couple have been identified only as American citizens of 38 and 39 years of age. They have two older children, a boy and a girl, who were also in the flat when the police arrived. They are now in the care of local authorities and are being given psychological support.
Neighbours described the couple as unusual in that they were Americans who did not speak much Spanish or Catalan. One resident of the same building told the newspaper El Periódico that in recent weeks he had only seen the father, said to be an engineer who worked over the border in France, leave the house.
“The only really strange thing I saw with them was that the children did not go to school in Girona, but seemed to do classes online”, said one neighbour.
Even if the autopsy shows that the child died of natural causes, the parents could still be charged with manslaughter if they are considered to have been reckless in not seeking out medical treatment.
Source: The Telepgraph