American Couple Arrested In Spain After Decomposing Body Of Their Son Discovered In Home [Updated]

An American couple living in Spain has been arrested after the decomposing body of their son was found in their apartment.

Police in the region of Catalonia, Spain, recently arrested an American couple following the discovery of the decomposing corpse of a young boy in their apartment in Girona. The boy is presumed to be the son of the American couple.

According to the Spanish-language news service El Pais, investigators told the media the child was approximately seven years of age, and due to the advanced state of decomposition of the body, it is likely the child had passed away at least four weeks prior to the discovery.

The discovery was made when the Mossos d’Esquadra were called to the apartment Tuesday after the owner, who had been trying to get overdue rental payments from the couple, had been unable to get a response when she rang the doorbell. According to the owner, she had received no payments since September of last year.

The owner reportedly knew the American couple was in residence, as she heard loud shouting emanating from the home located in the central Sant Pau district of the city.

The Local reports that according to witnesses in the Girona suburb, when the Mossos d’Esquadra police officers arrived on the scene, the American couple was visibly disturbed, although they did not attempt to stop police officers entering the apartment and did not resist arrest after the officers made their gruesome discovery.

When the police officers entered the premises, they immediately noticed a strong odor and proceeded to inspect the various rooms. In one room, the officers discovered the lifeless and decomposing body of the young boy in a small bed, wrapped in sheets and blankets. According to police, the family had placed mattresses close to the body, which suggested they were occupying the same room as the child’s corpse.

According to police sources, there was no obvious sign of violence to the young boy, but he had been dead for at least four weeks. While an autopsy will reveal the cause of death of the boy, the parents were allegedly unable to give the police any information relating to his passing.

Police are questioning why the American couple did not report the death as it happened. Authorities are considering that the child may have been ill, and when his condition worsened, the parents did not attempt to get the necessary medical attention.

The autopsy will endeavor to determine whether the boy died of natural causes, was the victim of an accidental death or if there was any criminal intent behind his death.

El Pais quoted sources in the area as saying the couple were a middle-class family from the U.S. with two other children, a boy and a girl aged 12 and 14 years.

Reportedly, the family had been living in the duplex apartment in Girona for approximately a year and a half, and the father, 39, worked as an engineer while the 38-year-old mother stayed at home. The American couple were allegedly several months behind in their rental payments of 1,100 euros ($1,192) per month.

A source close to the area told the media the children were not attending any of the local schools and rarely left the apartment. The children were reportedly home-schooled and following online courses in English, as reportedly neither child spoke either Spanish or Catalan.

Update: The autopsy run on Thursday on the body of the boy ruled out violence as the cause of death.

The couple were detained by police after the discovery of the dead child and they underwent psychiatric tests at a hospital nearby, while social services took charge of their other two children, aged 12 and 14.

According to the Local, the couple appeared in a Spanish court Friday relating to the discovery of their dead seven-year-old son in their apartment. The judge charged the American couple with involuntary manslaughter in the death of their son and they were given conditional release pending trial. However the judge seized the couple’s passports to prevent them from leaving the country.

[Photo via Flickr by Teresa Grau Ros/CC BY-NC 2.0]