Probably no fault of their own: Eight-year-old Joe wandered through an underground labyrinth of sewers for days

Eight days after his disappearance, eight-year-old Joe is found in a gully in Oldenburg.

Probably no fault of their own: Eight-year-old Joe wandered through an underground labyrinth of sewers for days

Eight days after his disappearance, eight-year-old Joe is found in a gully in Oldenburg. The police reconstruct the path of the mentally handicapped boy, who must have experienced an underground odyssey. The investigators rule out third-party negligence.

Eight-year-old Joe was lost in the sewer system for days before he was found under a manhole cover in Oldenburg. Third-party negligence is currently excluded, the police said. After evaluating all traces and clues, the officers assumed that Joe had crawled through a drain into the rainwater sewer system on the day of his disappearance and had lost his bearings after several meters.

The mentally handicapped child must have experienced a real odyssey in the eight days. Joe was reported missing on June 17. He had been playing on a property and, according to police, "most likely" climbed into a nearby concrete drain pipe with a diameter of 100 centimeters. This is how the streak began. With the help of a robot with a camera, the police reconstructed the path of the boy. It first followed the drain pipe 23 meters and then a branching pipe with a diameter of only 60 centimeters. There, a robot found the boy's jacket after 70 meters and the rest of the clothing after another 65 meters.

Between the entrance and the place where he was found, there were sewer shafts and junctions at regular intervals, in which the boy was able to get up. The child lost his orientation more and more. "A first statement by the boy confirms this assumption," the police said in a statement. Furthermore, according to the investigators themselves, there is no evidence that Joe could have stayed outside of this canal system during the eight days.

Initially, investigators also feared there might be a crime because a witness said he saw the boy in the company of an unknown person. A homicide commission was therefore set up. Joe was found on Saturday because a walker heard a faint whimpering coming from the direction of a manhole cover early in the morning and called 911.

When emergency services opened the heavy lid just 300 meters from Joe's childhood home, they found the boy. According to the police, he was undressed, outwardly unharmed, but hypothermic. Investigators have not yet been able to question him in detail. The eight-year-old is still in the hospital. At the same time, the police asked that out of consideration for the boy and his family, no questions be asked about his state of health.

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