SPANISH police have arrested a French couple in Algeciras for allegedly plotting to murder their five-year-old son in Morocco.
According to authorities, the couple, originally from the town of Carcans near Bordeaux, planned to “sacrifice” the child after becoming convinced he was possessed.
The Guardia Civil intercepted the couple — who had been issued a European arrest warrant — in their vehicle moments before they boarded a ship to Tangier.
The force reported in a press release that the child was found in good health and was transferred to a youth centre in Andalucia after his parents were arrested.
After receiving an urgent message from the French police, the Guardia Civil acted quickly to locate and stop the couple before they crossed into Morocco.
“The goal was to intercept them in a very short time in order to protect and save the child,” Cedric Roger, the French commanding officer of the investigation, told French news agency AFP.
After leaving Carcans on December 16 in a recently purchased 4×4 vehicle, the couple and their son stayed in a hotel and a friend’s apartment before crossing the border into Spain.
On December 19, a “friend” of the couple made an anonymous tip expressing concern for the child’s safety, AFP reports.
Shortly afterwards, the Bordeaux prosecutor’s office opened an investigation on charges of “arrest, kidnapping, sequestration, or arbitrary detention of a minor hostage.”
In a video posted online, Carcans mayor Patrick Meiffren recalls his reaction to hearing of the couple’s arrest on December 21.
He described them as “well integrated into the village,” and having “the behaviour of real parents — loving, very attentive, very supportive.”
They were the founders of a music school in Carcans, which Meiffren said had more than 250 students.
Still, the mayor recalled odd behaviour from the couple.
During the autumn 2023 Ciaran windstorm, which struck much of Western Europe and killed 21 people, the man was found naked in the woods babbling incoherently.
He was placed in a psychiatric hospital shortly afterward.
Through interviews conducted with Carcans residents, AFP reports that local parents allegedly withdrew their children from the couple’s music school due to unkind remarks towards students, and that a neighbour of the school said the father was cold and “rarely said hello.”
The couple is currently detained in Algeciras, awaiting extradition back to France in preparation for their trial.