Final autopsy: Spanish toddler died from fall down well, not from rescue pickaxe blow

The Local
The Local - [email protected] • 15 Apr, 2019 Updated Mon 15 Apr 2019 13:28 CEST
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Forensic pathologists have concluded that the tragic death of two-year-old Malaga boy Julen Rosello in January was caused by his fall down a 110-metre-deep borehole rather than by the use of pickaxes during the arduous two-week rescue mission.


Spanish society started the year gripped by the heartbreaking disappearance of a Malaga toddler, who had fallen down a narrow, unmarked borehole while on a walk in the countryside with his parents. 

After a problem-ridden rescue mission in which dozens of rescue workers helped to dig up upwards of 40,000 tonnes of earth, the child’s lifeless body was found thirteen days later.

Julen’s tragic fate put the spotlight on the 500,000 illegal wells found across Spain, including those on the plot in which he died as well as its owner, who is being investigated for involuntary manslaughter.

But despite the fact that the initial autopsy ruled that Julen had died soon after falling down the 110-metre-deep shaft from numerous bodily and head traumas, landowner David Serrano presented a case together with his defense lawyer that spread doubt about these initial forensic findings. 

“His parents heard him cry for 30 seconds, it’s impossible that the boy could’ve hit his head again as he fell standing,” lawyer Antonio Flores is quoted as saying by El Economista.

“It could’ve been one of the impacts of the rescue team’s pickaxes that caused Julen’s death.”

Serrano and his team’s accusations, presented in late February and backed up with alleged evidence of the child’s hair on one of the pickaxes, have now been fully dismissed by the final autopsy carried out on little Julen.

Pathologists on Monday reported that Julen died around 1:50 pm on January 13, 2019 and that " the main cause of death was the accidental fall," during which he suffered traumatic brain and spinal cord injuries ", according to judicial sources.


The forensic team completely ruled out the possibility of rescuers having accidentally hurt Julen with their digging tools as the report found "no cranial fractures” on the child.

The confirmed time of death doesn’t correspond either with the time at which pickaxes were used, with the rescue team only making use of these four hours after his death.

SEE ALSO: The images that tell the story of the hunt for missing Julen



The Local 2019/04/15 13:28

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