Father's girlfriend arrested with missing boy's body in car boot

Ana Julia Quezada hugs Gabriel's father as the boy's mother looks on during an awareness event on Friday.
Ana Julia Quezada hugs Gabriel's father as the boy's mother looks on during an awareness event on Friday. / EFE
  • Eight-year-old Gabriel Cruz disappeared on 27 February in Níjar (Almeria). The Guardia Civil had been following the suspect for several days

The 13-day search for missing eight-year-old Gabriel Cruz came to a tragic end in Almeria on Sunday when his body was found wrapped in a blanket in the boot of a car driven by the boy's father's girlfriend.

The Guardia Civil had suspected 35-year-old Ana Julia Quezada, who is originally from the Dominican Republic, for several days and officers had been following her movements closely.

Since the boy's disappearance, when he was walking the no more than 100 metres between the houses of his grandparents and his cousins in Las Hortichuelas, Níjar, Ana Julia has been seen alongside his father, during searches and public appearances.

It was Ana Julia who found a child's white vest, which later tested positive for Gabriel's DNA, near the sewage treatment plant northeast of Las Hortichuelas.

Far from sending detectives on a false trail the vest led officers to focus their investigation on Ana Julia. The vest had not been included on the initial list of clothes worn by the boy when he disappeared and showed no signs of having been exposed to the wind and rain for so many days.

Ana Julia had been taken in for questioning and her movements had been followed closely by officers to be able to confirm their suspicions.

Both the boy's parents had been aware that she was under suspicion in recent days but had been told to behave normally around her until evidence had been found.

On Sunday officers watched as she apparently moved the body from a well on a country estate around six kilometres away from where the body disappeared. Her vehicle was intercepted by officers outside her home in La Puebla de Vícar and the body found in the boot.

On Monday the area where the body had been hidden in a well was searched by the authorities.