A COURT in Malaga has opened a negligent manslaughter investigation into the death of two-year-old Julen who was killed when he fell down a well.
According to Spanish media, officials will examine two leads; whether the owner of the land Julen died on, or the man who bored the hole, Antonio Sanchez, were negligent, and how Julen came to be buried under large quantities of soil after his fall.
The negligent manslaughter charge carries a sentence of one to four years in prison for serious cases, or a fine in more minor instances.
Anyone found to be at fault could also be liable for compensation to Julen’s parents, as well as for the costs of the rescue operation, thought to be millions of Euros.
After the Guardia Civil’s Nature Protection Service (SEPRONA) confirmed the hole Julen fell down had been bored without the necessary permissions, police say they will focus their investigation on whether Antonio Sanchez attempted to seal the well as he claims, and whether the land’s owner removed any covering.
The second arm of the investigation will use witness accounts from those present when Julen fell, including his parents, his father’s cousin, the owner of the land, and two walkers who came to the family’s aid.
Officials say these statements could uncover how Julen came to be buried under around 70 centimetres of soil and rocks after his fall, leading rescuers to incorrectly believe the boy was trapped two-thirds of the way down the borehole.
After finding a build-up of soil, workers initially believed Julen was trapped at a blockage around 72-meters down to well they thought measured 110-meters.
Fears any attempts to rescue the child from above could lead to more harm to him prompted experts to build a second hole and connecting tunnel, taking almost two weeks.