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Final autopsy report confirms that Julen died instantly as a result of his fall down the borehole in Totalán

Machinery at the scene of the borehole.
Machinery at the scene of the borehole. / SUR
  • Tests and a study of the toddler's injuries suggest an immediate death, ruling out the hypothesis of the landowner's defence team

The final autopsy report has finally cleared up some of the unknowns that had arisen around the death of two-year-old Julen, who fell into a unsealed borehole 22 centimetres in diameter on 13 January in Totalán, near Malaga. The body of the minor was recovered after an enormous operation lasting 13 days.

Almost three months after the post mortem examination was carried out, the head of the Pathology Service has handed over the final report to the court in Malaga investigating the case, after receiving the results of all the forensic tests carried out.

Its main conclusion coincides with the doctors’ theories at the time of performing the autopsy: Julen died from the blows suffered in the fall, which caused two head injuries. Therefore, his death was immediate, or almost.

Specifically, the report establishes the time of death at around 1.50pm. It explains that the minor had two head injuries, one near the left temple and another on the back of the head. It also establishes that the first of these injuries would have been caused by an object and, the second, caused by the fall itself.

The 25-page document, signed by four forensic doctors, states that the main cause of the child’s death was the fall and the immediate cranioencephalic trauma.

Doubts dispelled

The final autopsy report, which also includes the complementary analyses requested from the National Institute of Toxicology, dispels one of the doubts raised by the defence of David Serrano, the only party under formal investigation in the case (and the owner of the land where the events took place).

The law firm Lawbird Legal Services, representing Serrano, presented a report at the beginning of March in which it was suggested that one of the instruments used during the first hours of the rescue to break through the layer of earth that had formed on top of the child, could have hit the minor on the head and even caused his death.

However, the final report states that this tool, a kind of long pick with a hooked end, did not cause any of the injuries. For the pick to have been able to cause the injury to the left temple, Julen’s head would have had to be tilted. The report states that the child’s head was straight as the position of his clothes and arms prevented any tilting.

In any case, this was not used until 5.29pm so, “in the unlikely event” that it did hit him, he would have already been dead for more than three hours.

As a result of these findings, the judge has confirmed that Serrano remains under formal investigation and, as the owner of the land, could be charged with negligent manslaughter.

However, Serrano’s defence team continue to insist on new tests and interviews with rescue workers being carried out, a request rejected last month, and have also suggested that the man responsible for digging the borehole should be investigated further as, they allege, he lied to the judge when he came in to testify.

The investigation continues.