A seven-year-old German boy who escaped as his father killed his mother and brother in a Tenerife cave has told of how he fled and hid in bushes after being lured in with the promise of Easter presents.
A Dutch woman who translated Jonas’s tale for Spanish police told reporters how the father had on Tuesday enticed his family to the cave, where the mother and 10-year-old brother were later found dead.
Thomas Handrick, a 43-year-old German cook who was arrested while sleeping in his Tenerife apartment on Wednesday, had hired a car and prepared a picnic drive after his former partner and two sons had flown in from Germany to visit him.
“It all seemed lovely, and then the father deceived them,” said the Dutch woman, who identified herself as Annelies B. “He said he had hidden Easter presents in a cave.”
Guardia Civil investigators in Tenerife believe that when the family entered the cave, Mr Handrick first began to beat his ex-partner Shylvia savagely. The elder of the two boys may have frozen in fear and remained in the cave, but Jonas fled for his life.
Jonas, who Annelies said is seven years old, was found wandering, muddied, scratched and confused by locals near the town of Adeje on Tuesday. The boy said that he had deliberately avoided the road that led to the cave so that his father would not find him.
“Being alive is better than Easter treats," he later said of his escape, the woman related.
His testimony launched a search among the cave-studded hills above Adeje until the gruesome discovery of the woman and boy’s bloodied bodies was made on Wednesday. Mr Handrick is due to appear before a judge on Friday, suspected of double murder.
Annelies said that the officers allowed her to keep Jonas at her house for 24 hours, and that he had played with her grandson, eaten only a banana and fallen asleep exhausted on a bunk bed. Before his maternal grandparents were due to arrive in Tenerife late on Thursday, Annelies said that she had visited him in a care home.
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“He doesn’t officially know that his mother is dead, but he saw that she was badly hurt,” she said. “He had two sweets. ‘One for me, and I’ll keep the other one for my brother’, he told me.”