A funeral was held Sunday for the toddler whose body was found in a deep borehole the day before, ending a frantic search that lasted nearly two weeks. Julen Roselló, 2, was buried in Spain’s Málaga province.
The search for Julen captivated people around the world, and hundreds of people reportedly attended his memorial service to pay their respects.
“All of Spain shares in the infinite sadness of Julen’s family,” Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez tweeted.
Julen disappeared on Jan. 13 near the village of Totalán while his family was making lunch. “I heard my son crying, and 30 seconds later I couldn’t hear him anymore,” the boy’s father, José Roselló, told Spanish media.
Rescue workers found hair in the shaft that matched DNA from the toddler and his family. The borehole, reportedly some 360 feet deep, was dry and seems to have been dug in the hopes of extracting water. Its opening was said to be just 10 inches across.
Attempts to reach the boy by boring a hole horizontal to the shaft failed when engineers hit heavy stone, so they began digging vertically.
Again, layers of hardened soil and rock hampered the rescue operation. “We have to be very careful, here the mountain is in control,” Jorge Martín, a spokesman with the Málaga province Civil Guard, was quoted as saying by The Associated Press.
Last Thursday, rescuers began setting off a series of small explosions to allow crews through a tunnel to the cavity. José Roselló said the family was hoping for “a miracle,” the AP reported.
Civil Guard officers found Julen’s lifeless body at about 1:25 a.m. local time on Saturday, El Pais reported. The newspaper said he was covered with a layer of soil at the bottom of the shaft, which rescuers believe “was most likely dislodged as he fell down the borehole.”
“But how did such a large layer of earth — which could not even be removed by a sand absorption truck — fall on top of Julen? Did Julen pull down this earth himself during his freefall?” El País asked, adding that questions will be raised by a Spanish court that has opened an investigation into the boy’s death.
El País reported that forensic experts performed an autopsy on Saturday and that “sources close to the investigation say that the child had multiple bruises on his body, suggesting he likely died from the impact of the fall.”
In 2017, according to the newspaper, the Rosellós’ 3-year-old son, Oliver, died of cardiac arrest during a family walk on the beach.