Case of baby girl forced to live in car boot stuns France
Mother tells police she gave birth in secret then hid daughter in vehicle's boot for more than a year
FRANCE has been gripped by the plight of a baby girl whose mother allegedly kept her hidden in the boot of a car for more than a year.
The girl, who is believed to be between 15 and 23 months old, was discovered by a mechanic in Terrasson, in the Dordogne, Sky News reports. After hearing "bizarre noises, like moans" coming from the vehicle's boot, he found the underfed, badly dehydrated girl naked and lying in her own excrement.
"The baby girl was laying on garbage bags at the bottom of the trunk... crying and trying to get some fresh air because not only did it smell, but it was also airtight," the mechanic said. "I'm still having trouble sleeping. It was a horrifying sight, seeing this little girl in her own excrement, not able to hold up her head, white as a sheet."
The girl's 45-year-old mother and her 40-year-old partner have been arrested and charged with child abuse and endangering a minor. They face up to ten years in jail if found guilty.
The mother has reportedly told police she gave birth to the girl in secret and hid her existence from everyone, including her partner, the girl's father. That story was corroborated by the father’s lawyer, who said his client "knew nothing" of his daughter’s existence and is in a state of shock and disbelief.
The couple, who are of Portuguese origin and unemployed, have three other children - a four-year-old girl and two boys aged nine and ten. They were handed over to social services after their parents were arrested.
French prosecutor Jean-Pierre Laffite said the girl appears to be "seriously retarded", the Daily Telegraph reports. Her height, weight and mental development "don’t conform to her age", and she "cannot speak a word".
"It's a situation that defies the imagination," Laffite added. ·