Bones found on a bonfire during a search for two missing children, and dismissed by the police as belonging to small animals, have now been shown by an independent expert to be human remains. They almost certainly belong to Ruth, six, and her brother José, two, who vanished in Cordoba in October last year. Their father, José Breton, reported that he had lost them in a park but was arrested ten days later when his account of events threw up suspicious contradictions.
The police search for the children centred on a property, 'Las Quemadillas', belonging to Bretón's family. Bones were found on a recent bonfire but were ruled out of the investigation as not being of human origin.
The children's mother, Ruth Ortiz, was not convinced and paid for a private analysis by Francisco Etxeberria, a world authority on forensic pathology, who has worked on many high profile cases. He concluded that the bones were those of children. "I have no doubt about it, the analysis is very clear", he said, and commented that it had taken him only a minute to detect that the remains were human.
The police then asked for another analysis, from José María Bermúdez de Castro, an expert in human evolution. He confirmed that the bones came from humans and added that one of them was 6.22 years old, with a margin of error of 43 days.
The police are working on the hypothesis that the children were killed by their father as a form of vengeance against their mother, by drugging them and burning the bodies. The intense heat of the fire was enough to destroy the DNA which could have identified them.
Psychiatric reports have shown that José Breton does not suffer from a mental illness, although he has psychopathic traits such as lack of empathy. He is described as being "cold and calculating", and neighbours say that he mistreated his ex wife and children.
Those same neighbours are now asking why the family have had to undergo ten months of torture while the police continued searching for the children’s bodies.