Updated 17 June: Canarian President Ángel Torres has said that he is delighted that the Diocese has defrocked the priest known as Padre Baez for what Torres called the shameful statements from his pulpit that the little girls’ mother was responsible for their deaths because of her so-called infidelity. The president said that he had already called for anyone making such comments from a pulpit to be removed given the scourge of chauvinist and vicarious violence. Torres has confirmed the defrocking and explicitly called it the right thing to do.
Updated 16 June: The Ángeles Alvariño will stay in the area a few more days after the Canarian Government was asked to request its continued deployment. The Guardia Civil say that private sector technology is also being arranged to replace the vessel’s functionalities when it does finally leave.
Updated 15 June: Police have confirmed three things today. First, that the Ángeles Álvariño, which has resumed seabed scanning after a brief repair/work in Santa Cruz harbour, will cease operating in the case this Thursday. Secondly, that the next couple of days are expected to shed further light on the case – that is the sum of the announcement, make of it what you will. And thirdly, that wild and spreading rumours in some media and especially social media that Ana’s body and perhaps Tomás’ body too have been found, are completely false. The search for both is still at full speed because they have not been found, and police are at a loss to understand why anyone would initiate such a rumour at this stage of an investigation of this sensitivity.
Updated 11 June: Unimaginably and unbearably, the body of six-year-old Olivia was found yesterday. The investigation had called in the seabed-searching robot boat Ángeles Alvariño (left) which, a few days ago, found an oxygen bottle and a duvet cover in Santa Cruz harbour which were confirmed to belong to Tomás Giméno. Now, tragically, the Ángeles Alvariño has made the further discovery of the child’s body three miles out to sea off Santa Cruz at a 1km depth: appallingly, that appears to be what happened to the anchor off Giméno’s own boat because the little girl’s body was weighted down with it. The search continues now for Ana, with investigators’ hearts in their boots.
Reacting to the discovery, Canarian President Ángel Torres said that after weeks desperately hoping for good news, instead we have the worst possible; the Canaries are shattered, he said. Spanish PM Pedro Sánchez himself said that he could not imagine the pain of the little girls’ mother, Beatriz, to whom he sent his affection, love, and solidarity. No-one has words for this. It’s beyond anything we can express.
Updated 7 May: It seems what people do when they feel the need to do something and can’t think of what else to do, and so there is a coordinated clapping throughout the Canaries at 8pm this Sunday evening in support of Beatriz Zimmerman, the mother of Olivia and Ana who disappeared with their father, Beatriz’ former partner Tomás Giméno, on 27 April. As with the care workers, people are asked to clap from their windows or balconies to allow their support to be publicly expressed for maximum effect, and anyone driving at the time is asked to blow their horn, as are those aboard boats, whether in harbour or at sea.
Updated 6 May: Interpol has joined the search for Olivia and Ana, and three boats currently crossing the Atlantic are being tracked. Meanwhile, police continue to keep an open mind while they consider various hypotheses including that the trio are still in Tenerife or perhaps La Gomera. The investigation remains sub judice but police ask the public to be aware at all times and phone them immediately if they see anything of interest relating to the case: the numbers specifically to call are 091 (Policía Nacional), 062 (Guardia Civil) or 112 (Emergency Services).
Updated 4 May: It’s a week now. The little girls’ mother, Beatriz Zimmerman, has issued a video and asked for it to be shared as widely as possible in an attempt to find Olivia and Ana her daughters of just 6 and 1 years of age who, she fears, might be in or on their way to a South American country where her former partner, the girls’ father, had contacts. Please do therefore spread this film about as much as you can. Meanwhile, police have confirmed that the blood found in the boat was of Tomás Giméno, not the girls, and they are taking it as a given now that he had assistance in carrying out what they’re describing as a prearranged plan. At least this all suggests those girls are still safe, a comfort of some sort while police keep an open mind as they clarify the facts.
Updated 1 May: Police, who have now searched the father’s dwelling and finca, say that they are considering a range of hypotheses, and that no theories are being discounted at present. As the investigation continues with the arrival of a specialist kidnap search unit and the Guardia Civil’s serious crimes squad (Unidad Central Operativa), a Güímar Court has now issued an international search warrant for the father, Tomás Giméno, who apparently withdrew some €70,000 from the bank before disappearing, and left with a fair amount of clothing.
His Audi was discovered at Santa Cruz harbour where his boat had been moored before it set sail for the third time to end up adrift in Güímar. That boat was found without its anchor, and it’s not hard to envisage a situation in which it was deliberately de-anchored in order to drift to lay a false trail; one possibility police are seemingly considering is that he took a second boat from off the Güímar coast. Anyone with any information on this man’s whereabouts should call the Guardia Civil on 062 or Emergency Services on 112; he is 37 years old, 1.85m tall (around 6ft), hair and eyes are brown.
Updated 30 April: The search continues today, intensified by the arrival from the mainland of a specialist police unit for searching for kidnap victims. The discovery, meanwhile, of a child’s car seat in the water near the father’s adrift vessel has been confirmed as that of one of the girls, and some blood discovered inside the craft is being analysed. An appalling investigation in which everyone is on edge, fearing the worst, praying that the girls are safe and that a false trail is being laid for police. If that is the case the specialist unit will probably be able to clarify it fairly quickly, but all hopes are now centred on finding these children alive and getting them back to their mother, and on finding nothing that leads to the conclusion that everyone fears, and no-one dares speak aloud.
Original post 29 April: A terrible situation is occurring in Tenerife right now as a mother waits for news of her two young daughters, children of just one and six years old, who have been taken by their father without permission. The awful series of events started on Tuesday when the father collected them at 5pm but failed to return them as required by 9pm. Police indicate that various people have received messages from the man, some saying he had said goodbye to them, and today the Guardia Civil have said that the mother herself had a call from her former partner to say that she would never see him or her daughters again.
Some of the messages sent led police to suspect that the man was taking his daughters to a boat he owns, and this was found last night adrift off the coast at Puertito de Güímar but without anyone on board. Camera footage subsequently shows that he set sail from its mooring in Santa Cruz after midnight Tuesday night, and a fingertip search of the vessel has been undertaken while a far wider search is ongoing with air, sea and land-based resources. Clearly many are fearing the worst but at the moment police are limiting themselves to describing the case as one of “potential parental kidnap”.