UP TO 500 volunteers and police officers have been combing fields in and around Nijar in search of Gabriel Cruz Ramirez.
The hunt for the 8-year-old boy, who was reported missing at around 8pm, is set to continue in the town of Las Hortichuelas this morning (Friday) after being suspended in the late afternoon yesterday due to poor lighting conditions.
Guardia Civil officers, Junta de Andalucia agents and members of civil protection groups from nearby towns took part in the search yesterday but his whereabouts still remained a mystery.
Gabriel left his grandmother’s home in the Cortijo La Molina de Nijar to play at a neighbour’s house around 100 metres away at around 3.30pm on Tuesday.
The Guardia Civil reportedly believes at this stage that the boy got lost but they are not ruling out other possibilities. Police added the mountainous terrain of the area had complicated efforts to find the 8-year-old.
Police have been using drones with video cameras on them to reach areas that are difficult to search on foot, according to reports.
Ramirez’s parents were certain their son had arrived at the neighbour’s house and did not know that he was missing until around 6pm. His disappearance was reported later in the evening.His father said in a television interview that he believes someone may have taken him.
More than 50 Guardia Civil and local police officers were joined by a helicopter, a dog unit, an underwater squad and 150 local volunteers for the search on Wednesday.
The town of Nijar suspended all events planned for the celebration of Andalucia Day due to all available resources being used in the search.
The operation was stood down at around 8pm, with patrols from the nearby police barracks continuing into the night.
The search resumed at around 7.20am yesterday and has so far focused on the areas around Nijar and Carboneras.
He was wearing black Adidas bottoms with white stripes and a red hooded jacket when he disappeared on Tuesday, his family said.
In a separate development, a 40-year-old man has been arrested for reportedly breaching a restraining order on the boy’s mother, however Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido was quick to disassociate the arrest from the case, stating: “There is nothing that today links this person with the disappearance.”