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Couple lived with corpse of their dead son 'because they could not accept he had died'

The Spanish prosecutor said the American couple 'lost their sense of reality' following the death of seven year old Caleb

Caroline Mortimer
Saturday 09 January 2016 16:11 GMT
The apartment in Girona where Caleb Hopkins' body was discovered
The apartment in Girona where Caleb Hopkins' body was discovered (AP)

A couple lived with the rotting corpse of their seven-year-old son because they refused to believe he was dead, police have said.

Bruce and Shrell Hopkins had been living with the body of their dead son Caleb - who suffered from asthma - for as long as two months after his death in their apartment in Girona, north-eastern Spain.

Prosecutor Enrique Barata said the pair had "lost their sense of reality" after their son’s death.

He said: "They would live normal home life around the dead body. They couldn't accept that the child was dead."

Police discovered Caleb’s body after the landlord raised the alarm following a visit to the apartment to collect unpaid rent.

Their defence lawyer Christian Salvador said they had now acknowledged their loss and were going through the mourning process.

The exact time and cause of the boy’s death will not be confirmed until the results of a postmortem are released but he was last seen alive on 15 November when he attended a family birthday.

The couple - originally from Detroit in the US - have been charged with negligent homicide after a judge heard they did not take their son to hospital because they do not believe in conventional medicine.

But Mr Salvador said Mr Hopkins had tried to resuscitate his son with cardiac massage and mouth to mouth breathing.

They could be released once the cause of death is determined if it can be proved the child was dead when they found him.

The couple’s other children - a boy and a girl aged 12 and 14 - have been taken into state care.

Additional reporting by AP

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