Landowner to be questioned on suspicion of negligent manslaughter in Julen investigation

David Serrano, the owner of the land, at a press conference last week.
David Serrano, the owner of the land, at a press conference last week. / SALVADOR SALAS
  • The judge in charge of the case of the toddler who died in Totalán has called the man who drilled the hole to be questioned as a witness

The investigation into the death of two-year-old Julen, who fell down a borehole in Totalán on 13 January, has reached a new phase this week. The judge in charge of the probe, after stating that she considered there to be evidence of manslaughter because of negligence, has announced a round of questioning.

The owner of the land where the toddler fell, David Serrano, is now under formal investigation and will be called in for questioning, as requested by the public prosecution.

The magistrate explained that she has based her decision on the fact that it was the owner of the land who ordered the hole to be drilled and on the report by the Guardia Civil's nature protection service, Seprona, which concludes that safety measures adopted were "nonexistent".

The judge has called several more people in for questioning, but in their case as witnesses. They include the man who drilled the borehole, the boy's parents, the wife of the landowner and the three hikers who answered the boy's relatives cries for help, as well as several Guardia Civil officers.

At a press conference last week, Serrano's lawyer, Antonio Flores Vila of Lawbird Legal Services, said that any responsibility for the death of the boy should be borne by the drilling company.

In reaction to the judge's decision this week, Flores said that he found it "outrageous that the person who had created the danger [the man who drilled the hole] has been called in [only] as a witness".

Julen's fall of more than 70 metres down the narrow borehole in Totalán, a municipality east of Malaga city, prompted a rescue operation that made the headlines around the world.

His body was recovered after a search of nearly two weeks in which engineers and rescuers worked round the clock to tunnel through to the bottom of the hole.