MADRID – The case of a child who recently disappeared in southern Spain took on Friday a new turn as Interior Minister Juan Ignacio Zoido announced that a man had been arrested for violating a restraining order issued by the child’s mother.
Gabriel, 8, was reported missing on Tuesday, but Zoido said it was too soon to know whether the detained man, who was allegedly stalking Gabriel’s mother Patricia and was arrested on Thursday, was in any way linked to the disappearance.
“Gabriel would not get lost, he would not have gone into the mountains, he isn’t easily scared but he’s cautious,” said Patricia on Thursday, insisting that her son must have been taken by force.
The case has rocked Spain, where media outlets have been closely following every step of the search, which included 500 people scanning the desert-like landscape for any hint that the child may be nearby and a unit of the Spanish police’s scuba diving force.
He is believed to have gone missing somewhere between his grandmother’s house, where he was staying for a long weekend, and a friend’s house, which are separated by a dirt track that barely measures 100 meters (328 feet).
Patricia said he usually ran down the road and the journey would take him less than 30 seconds.
They raised the alarm at 8:00 pm, hours after he may have disappeared, when they realized he had not spent the afternoon with his grandmother, his cousins who lived nearby or any local friends.
The search for the eight-year-old started up again at first light on Friday, with Spanish authorities sending their well-wishes to the family and asking the public to not spread any rumors that could complicate the case.