A body found in a bag 3,000 feet deep on the Atlantic Ocean seabed off Tenerife is “almost certainly” that of Olivia Gimeno, a missing six-year-old girl, Spanish authorities have said.
The schoolgirl has not been seen since she was abducted with her little sister, Anna, by her fugitive father on April 27.
Interpol issued “yellow notices” for the girls last month – a step to help locate missing people, often minors, or help identify those unable to identify themselves.
Olivia Gimeno has not been seen since being abducted with her little sister, Anna (pictured together), by her fugitive father on April 27.
Interpol issued ‘yellow notices’ for the girls last month – a step to help locate missing people, often minors, or help identify those unable to identify themselves
Anna and Olivia disappeared with their father Tomas (pictured), triggering a huge search operation
Olivia and Anna’s mother, who is divorced from their father, Tomas, claims he told her she would never see him and her daughters again.
Now authorities say a body, believed to be Olivia’s, was found in a sports bag deep in the water and weighed down by an anchor.
The discovery also raised fears that one-year-old Anna’s body could never be found if it was in the bag.
The girls’ mother, Beatriz Zimmerman, has been informed of the discovery.
A spokesperson for the investigating judge in charge of the ongoing judicial investigation gave an update on Thursday evening.
He said: “Pending more conclusive forensic testing, the body could almost certainly match that of Olivia G, the youngster who went missing on April 27 with her one-year-old sister and their father.
“The body was found by a robot from the research vessel Angeles Alvarino at noon today about 1,000 meters underwater about three miles off the coast of Tenerife.
“It was inside a sports bag attached to an anchor. Next to it was another empty gym bag.
“The body was taken to dry land for an autopsy. The ship called Angeles Alvarino continues its research.
Spain’s Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez also reacted to the discovery on Twitter.
He wrote: “I cannot imagine the pain of the mother of little Anna and Olivia, who disappeared in Tenerife, following the terrible news we have just heard.
“I send a hug and my love and that of all my family, which today is in solidarity with Beatriz and those close to him. “
The President of the Canary Islands, Angel Victor Torres, added: “Weeks hoping to receive hopeful news and today we receive the worst possible, the one that freezes our soul, about little girls from Tenerife, Anna and Olivia.
“Our condolences, encouragement and strength for their mother Beatriz, her family and her friends. The devastated Canary Islands. ‘
Wanted notice in Spain calling for help in locating father Tomas Gimeno
Olivia and Anna’s mother, who is divorced from their father, Tomas, claims he told her that she would never see him or his daughters again.
Now authorities say body, believed to be Olivia’s, was found in a sports bag deep in the water and weighed down by an anchor
A huge social media campaign was launched when the disappearance first emerged, in a desperate effort to help and support the girls’ mother.
The call was supported by a number of prominent figures, including football star Cristiano Ronaldo’s partner Georgina Rodriguez.
In a post to her 24 million Instagram followers, Ms Rodriguez wrote: “I want to use my reach on this great social network to make sure this reaches as many people as possible.
“These are two sisters who are wanted in Spain and abroad. They are called Olivia and Anna and are six and one year old.
“Their mom is looking for as much publicity as possible for this video to try to find them as soon as possible and bring them home.
“I hope with all my heart that the girls are found safe and sound and that they can kiss their mother again soon. “