THE discovery of the bodies of a man and his seven-year-old son at the bottom of a ravine has led a coroner to surmise it was a case of grim murder-suicide.
Txetxo Apestegui, 54, and Mateo were found dead in Navarra’s rugged Urbasa mountains on Tuesday morning after the mother reported the child’s disappearance.
The preliminary report suggests that both victims died from the fall, with no toxic substances in their bodies and no signs of strangulation in the case of the child.
The preliminary finding is that the father leaped into the void while holding his son.
The child was found to have fewer injuries, suggesting the father cushioned the fall.
The alarm was sounded after Mateo Apestegui’s mother, estranged from Txetxo, went to pick him up from his school in Estella-Lizarra on Monday, only to find he had not shown up.
She quickly filed a missing person report.
The mother described to investigators how Txetxo had experienced bouts of depression and had previously threatened to take his own life.
He had especially mentioned the area of Balcón de Pilatos and the Ubaba ravine.
An immediate search operation was launched and within hours they located Txetxo’s vehicle, parked in the Balcón de Pilatos area.
The van had its doors open, the keys in the ignition, and inside were both Txetxo and Mateo’s coats, as well as the father’s mobile phone.
At daylight the next morning, a Guardia Civil helicopter confirmed the worst fears.
The bodies of the father and son were found at the bottom of the Ubaba ravine, right below where the vehicle had been parked.
The recovery of the bodies required the assistance of Navarra’s mountain rescue and intervention group.
The day before, on Sunday, the Txetxo and Mateo were seen in Ayegui, enjoying a football match at Arenas, where the child played, and the Txetxo was the coach.
On the same day, according to sources in the investigation cited by the Efe agency, they called the child’s mother to wish her a happy birthday.
The following day, Mateo did not attend school.