A family allegedly spent a month eating and sleeping next to the rotting corpse of their seven-year-old son. The mother and father have now been arrested by police who believe they spent up to four weeks living alongside the body.
Spanish police found the pair, along with their two teenage daughters, in the same room as the dead boy after letting themselves into their rented home in Girona in north east Spain with a key given to them by the landlady.
Investigators are awaiting the results of a post-mortem to confirm their suspicions the youngster died of an illness.
The Mossos d'Esquadra confirmed the couple, named locally as Americans Bruce and Schrell Hopkins, were being held on suspicion of manslaughter.
A spokesman, who declined to officially name them, said: "The parents of the youngster found dead in Girona have been arrested on suspicion of manslaughter.
"The detainees, American nationals aged 38 and 39, will be handed over to an investigating judge in the coming days.
"The investigation to clarify the circumstances of the youngster's death remains open."
The boy, who has not been named, was found dead on Tuesday after failed attempts by the owner of the property to speak to engineer Mr Hopkins and his wife about several months of unpaid rent.
Police discovered the parents sat with their two daughters aged 15 and 13 next to his body when they returned to gain access to the property.
Local reports said they had moved mattresses from their bedrooms into the youngster's room and spent more than a month living next to his decomposing body.
The teenage girls were taken into care and their parents taken away for a psychiatric examination before being taken into custody.
Respected Catalan daily El Periodico said the main theory being probed was that the youngster fell ill and his parents tried to cure him themselves with alternative medicine.