A 5-year-old German boy led police to the bodies of his mother and brother, saying that his father attacked them in a cave on the island. Spain's prime minister has decried the act of "gender-based violence."
The bodies of a missing 39-year-old German woman and her 10-year-old son were discovered in a cave on the Canary Islands' Tenerife and the boy's father has been arrested, Spanish authorities said.
"Everything indicates that the mother and her child were brutally beaten to death in the cave," a spokesman for the investigators told news agency dpa on Thursday.
Police were alerted after hikers spotted the couple's youngest son, a 5-year-old boy, crying alone on a mountain near the town of Adeje.
Speaking through a translator, the boy reportedly told police that his father took the family to a cave and began attacking them. The boy managed to escape, but said he saw large amounts of blood.
Over 100 emergency workers and police took part in the search, and located the bodies on Wednesday.
The 43-year-old father, who is also German, was arrested at an apartment in Adeje. According to Spanish authorities, the man did not cooperate with police and resisted the arrest. It is not clear what prompted the fatal attacks.
Couple had been separated
The woman traveled to Tenerife on Monday with her two sons to visit. According to media reports, the couple had been separated for some time.
The 43-year-old man had been living in Adeje, but had not registered as a resident, the town's mayor said.
German police told dpa that the couple is originally from the eastern German state of Saxony-Anhalt.
'We have to put an end to this'
News of the crime sparked outrage in Spain, with Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez offering his condolences on Twitter.
"The worst news from Adeje (Tenerife) has reached us. A woman and her son have been murdered. Gender-based violence has struck again," Sanchez wrote, adding: "We have to put an end to this."
Tenerife is the largest of Spain's Canary Islands, located in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Morocco. The island is a popular holiday destination for German and British tourists.
rs/ng (dpa, AP, AFP)