MADRID – On Wednesday morning, a 34-year-old suspect was arrested in Ceuta on suspicion of murdering 8-year-old Mohamed Abdeselam. The boy disappeared on December 18 after a game of football and was found lifeless and half-naked the following morning.
Cristian B., was arrested by the National Police on Wednesday by order of the judge. The police opened the hunt for the perpetrator after establishing that there could not have been an accident. Furthermore, witness statements, forensic evidence and extensive research of camera images led to the arrest of the suspect.
On Sunday evening, December 18, Mohamed played a game of football near his house. He was last seen by his friends at 8.00 pm. When Mohamed was not home by 10.00 pm, his parents became alarmed. The worried family decided to comb the neighbourhood, but to no avail. After midnight, the father reported his son missing to the police headquarters in Ceuta. Then a large-scale search was launched almost immediately.
A day later, on Monday morning, a police officer found the boy’s remains. His body lay among some bushes on a hill in the Loma Colmenar neighbourhood. This was the same neighbourhood where Mohamed lived with his parents and three siblings. His body was bruised and his pants were pulled down.
Autopsy confirmed parents’ suspicions
The autopsy confirmed the family’s suspicions that a serious crime has been committed. The boy must have suffered a severe blow to the head with a blunt object. Moreover, that was probably the cause of death. This has disproved an earlier police hypothesis of an accident.
Suspected perpetrator arrested
The suspect Christian B., arrested on Wednesday, is a Spaniard from the neighbouring district of Rosales. According to police sources, the 34-year-old detainee was also involved in sexual violence of minors in the past. He is said to have worked as a cleaner in various schools in Ceuta. By his own words, Christian B. suffers from an intellectual disability, according to the same sources. However, for the time being, in the absence of a statement from the suspect, the motive of the crime is still unknown.
Camera images were decisive
A special unit of the Policía Nacional interviewed more than 50 people and reviewed more than 600 hours of CCTV footage. One by one, the agents analysed the images until they ‘by chance’ saw how the recordings of little Mohamed and Cristian B. came together.
Deep mourning in the Spanish enclave
The arrest comes almost a month after family and friends buried little Mohamed in an Islamic cemetery in Ceuta. It was a period that plunged the autonomous city into mourning. “The people of Ceuta are deeply shocked and affected. It is an irreparable great loss. And finding comfort must be very difficult for the family, but they find support in us, they should know that,” said the devastated Juan Vivas, mayor and head of government of Ceuta.