Six-year-old Renè Hasèe from Germany disappeared from a Portugal beach in 1996. He has never been found.
About the Case
During summer 1996, Renè Hasèe, 6, his mother, Anita and her partner, Peter were vacationing in southwest Portugal from their home country, Germany. On June 19th, they were enjoying a day at the beach at Praia da Amoreira in the city of Aljezur, about 160 miles south of Lisbon.
Around 6:00 p.m., the family finished eating at Paraiso Do Mar, a restaurant overlooking Praia da Amoreira, and headed down to the beach. Renè Hasèe took off his shirt and pants so he could play in the sand. According to Anita, Renè was about 30 meters from her when “suddenly our son was gone as if he had been swallowed by the earth.” Apparently, his footprints in the sand ended where he was last seen.
The family called police, but there are conflicting reports as to what happened next. Anita claims police did not take her seriously and told her the boy probably drowned. Police claim they searched the area for Renè Hasèe and filed a report; however there is no police report or file on him. The boys maternal grandmother claimed her grandson would never go into the sea alone because he was afraid of the waves.
The Renè Hasèe case bears similarities to the Maddie McCann case 11 years later. Both kids were fair-skinned with blond hair and blue eyes, and on vacation in Portugal with their families at the time of their disappearances. Maddie disappeared from Praia da Luz, which is only about 27 miles from where Renè vanished. It is not the opinion of this author that the cases are related. Rather, I wanted to point out the similarities.
True Crime Diva’s Thoughts
This is a short post today due to time restraints over the weekend.
Here we have another case where a child disappears in plain sight in a public place in broad daylight. Somebody had to see something, for crying out loud.
Like in many missing children cases, some are skeptical about the mother, but I’m not sure. I read that she goes every year to that same beach looking for her son. So either she goes because she’s looking for him or she goes out of guilt.
It sounds to me like someone may have picked Renè Hasèe up which would explain why there were no more footprints in the sand beyond where he last stood. I saw one report where the mother said the boy had been standing near sand dunes, but I’m not sure if this is true.
As busy as public beaches can get, maybe nobody noticed. I would think that if a stranger picked him up he would have called for his mother though unless for some reason, he was unable to do so.
I did read that at this particular beach, high tide as currents close to the mouth of the Ribeira de Aljezur river can be very strong, per a local blogger. In a forum, there was talk about high tide and that the boy may have been swept out to sea. You’d think someone would have noticed that.
There is also the possibility that this is a parental abduction. Anita and Renè ‘s father were not together at the time. I do not know when they split up. But if the boy’s father picked him up that day, he would not have cried. Of course, this is assuming he was in contact with his father at the time.
As I stated above, I do not believe the disappearance of Maddie McCann is related to Renè’s. But it’s hard not to see how similar they are! However, we have an 11-year-gap between the two, and one child is a boy, the other a girl. That doesn’t necessarily mean anything, though, if these two cases are the work of a long-time criminal organization or network.
Honestly, this one is a real mystery!