MYSTERY surrounds the discovery of the body of a German boy found in an upland mountain area of north Cordoba.
The five-year-old was found after an intensive three day search in the Sierra de Castillo, near Espiel.
The boy, who was apparently on holiday with his mother, was reported missing on Tuesday.
An autopsy will this weekend confirm the exact cause of death, but it appears most likely to have been from dehydration.
The mayor of Espiel, Jose Antonio Fernandez insisted there were no obvious signs of violence, although there was a nasty burn on his arm.
Police say his mother, who is being kept in Cordoba hospital, reported the disappearance of the child when she was found in a distraught state at a petrol station that day.
Although police released pictures of both the mother and child on Thursday, they did not formally name either, and identified her only as ‘Tanja K’.
The mother, who comes from North Rhine-Westphalia, was found in Espiel in a state of shock and disorientation, suffering from cuts, bruises and dehydration.
Prior to that, the boy and his mother had been seen camping, swimming and fishing at a reservoir, known as Puente Nuevo.
Tanja K. told Spanish police she had driven a week ago with her son from Germany into Spain. But she was unable to explain her condition, nor give her son’s whereabouts.
According to German reports, local residents had seen the mother and the boy camping and fishing on Sunday and had also seen a boy walking hand-in-hand with a bald man.
Other witnesses said she asked residents for help on Monday because her car had broken down. The car was found late Tuesday near a religious shrine.
The boy’s father and other relatives had flown from Germany to join in the search.
The case is sure to revive memories of Madeleine McCann who disappeared three years ago, while on holiday with her parents and twin siblings in the Algarve region of Portugal.
The British girl went missing from an apartment, in the central area of the resort of Praia da Luz, a few days before her fourth birthday.