Spanish authorities are searching for a missing one-year-old girl after the body of her sister was found at sea near the Canary Islands.
The six-year-old girl was found dead on the seabed on Thursday at a depth of around 1,000 metres. Coroners have confirmed that her body was found in a bag and tied to an anchor.
Another similar empty bag was found nearby by a special oceanographic research vessel, Spain’s Civil Guard said.
Authorities suspect the two young girls were taken by their father weeks earlier from Tenerife without the mother’s permission. A search for the one-year-old girl and her father, Tomás Gimeno, is still ongoing.
The incident has left many in Spain shocked and has sparked widespread messages of support for the victims’ mother, Beatriz Zimmermann.
“I cannot imagine the pain of the mother … at the terrible news we have just heard,” tweeted Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez.
“My embrace, my affection, and that of all my family, who today stand in solidarity with Beatriz and her loved ones.”
Gimeno and the girls went missing on April 27 in Tenerife, the largest island in Spain’s Gran Canaria. Zimmermann claims that the father told her she would never see them again.
Gimeno was last seen in the marina of Santa Cruz de Tenerife loading his boat with several bags. The next day, his vessel was found empty and adrift near Puertito de Güímar.
Interpol also joined the search, publishing the photographs of the two girls and issuing “yellow notices” for missing persons.
Women’s rights organisations have called for protests on Friday across Spain against violence against women, while a minute of silence in memory of the sisters was also observed in front of Tenerife’s city hall.