Investigators say that the man in his forties found dead in an uncovered well early on Monday morning probably died in a tragic accident.
Guardia Civil in the village of Villanueva del Trabuco, in inland Malaga province, began a missing persons search late last Sunday after Juan Antonio Santamaría had failed to return home after going out to walk his dog. Shortly before 3am the next day, police divers found his body inside a water-filled well three metres deep. His dog, also dead, was found with him inside.
Locals in Villanueva del Trabuco said that the man knew the rural area well and organised walking groups there, pointing to it being an accident. Friends added that he was "happy" and "fine", ruling out early suggestions it could have been a suicide. His large, white crossbreed dog had been "a loyal friend" and never left his side, they added.
The well, a few kilometres from the village, is surrounded by a waist-high wall and is a few metres wide. According to sources, the man was found naked inside with his clothes alongside the well on the ground.
Investigators believe that the dog had jumped into the well and that Santamaría had gone in after it to save him, removing his clothes first. Unfortunately he had been unable to get out again and both had died of hypothermia.
Inquiries are also now under way into whether the well was illegal or not. Locals said that it has been there for 20 to 30 years.