Spanish police have found the bodies of a German woman and her 10-year-old son in a cave on the island of Tenerife and have arrested the boy’s father.
Spanish media say the couple’s other son, aged five, had been wandering in the mountains near Adeje, muddy and crying. Some locals who found him alerted police on Tuesday.
The search was difficult as the area has many caves. The German father was arrested at his apartment.
The victims appear to have been beaten.
The little boy is quoted as saying he ran away when his father turned violent in the cave.
Officials are treating it as a case of domestic violence. The father is reported to be resident in Tenerife’s Adeje district. The Canary Islands are especially popular with German and UK tourists.
Sources quoted by Spain’s El País daily say the mother had arrived on Tenerife with the boys on Monday to visit the father.
El País says the cave was found after a long search in mountain mist – the clue was a wristwatch found by a path.
The paper quotes sources as saying the father was aggressive and refused to give police any information about his partner and sons.
“It is suspected murder,” a spokeswoman for the local police (Guardia Civil) told the BBC.
The father is being held at a police station in Playa de las Americas, near Adeje, and will probably go before an investigating judge on Friday, she said.
She declined to give any further details about the case.
The little boy’s maternal grandparents are reported to be flying to Tenerife from Germany to look after him.
A woman called Rosi told Spanish media how she had found the five-year-old boy “tired and all red-faced”.
In a video clip on La Vanguardia news website she said the boy “gripped my hand, as he was anxious”.
Unable to understand German, Rosi said she fetched a friend, who then translated the boy’s story. “He said he had escaped, run away.”