For more than a week, the relatives have been worried about eight-year-old Joe from Oldenburg. Now the missing child is found alive - in a gully. However, it is unclear how the boy got in there - the lid is extremely heavy. The police are investigating.
Happy ending in the case of eight-year-old Joe in Oldenburg, who has been missing for eight days: the boy was found alive early on Saturday morning – in a gully, the police said. "8-year-old Joe is alive," tweeted the police in Oldenburg in the morning. "We are so happy - really!" Said police spokesman Stephan Klatte. The news spread rapidly on social media.
A walker in a residential area in the Donnerschwee district heard a faint whine from the direction of a manhole cover around 6:20 a.m. and informed the police, fire brigade and rescue services. When they opened the heavy lid, they found the little boy. The mentally handicapped child was found only a few hundred meters from his parents' house. He was last seen in that part of the city, in the area of former barracks.
The question of where the mentally handicapped eight-year-old Joe could have gone occupied people across Germany. The images that circulated showed a curly-headed child beaming happily at the camera. But the longer the futile search lasted, the greater the fear of not finding him alive. The police also looked into the possibility of a violent crime. A murder commission was set up after a witness tip. So the relief at the happy ending is all the greater.
Joe was externally unharmed when the police freed him from the gully, Klatte said. "But he was clearly hypothermic due to the cooler night." He was immediately taken to a hospital for treatment and examination. The fact that Joe was finally found does not mean that the police have now completed the investigation. There are still many questions, chief among them: How did Joe get into the manhole? Even a strong adult cannot easily lift the extremely heavy lid. It is conceivable that the child climbed into the tunnel labyrinth at another point in the branched canal system and crawled through the tubes, the police spokesman said.
"Some of the sewer pipes are so narrow that no adult can get through," said Klatte. Now the investigators want to use cameras to look for clues in the sewer system in order to understand the path that Joe could have taken. But the other possible explanation, that a crime has been committed, has not yet been filed by the police, said Klatte. So it's conceivable that someone put Joe in the manhole on purpose. "We will continue to keep an eye on this possibility," said the police spokesman.