The little girl’s parents being escorted into court by police
In a case that has appalled France and investigators say “defies the imagination”, a baby girl was forced to live hidden in the boot of her parents’ car for almost two years!
The tiny baby was found naked and feverish by mechanics who were carrying out repairs on the family’s Peugeot 307 car.
The mechanics were alerted to the child’s presence after hearing “strange noises that sounded like moans” coming from the rear of the vehicle.
The mother, 45, a Portuguese woman known only as Rose-Marie, claimed that the noise came from “toys”.
But the men insisted on opening the boot and were horrified to discover a small, dehydrated and apparently feverish child lying naked in its own excrement.
The mechanic who found the girl, Guillaume Iguacel, said today he was still in shock from the discovery. That the girl’s mother appeared to have little concern for her daughter.
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.
We were deeply shocked because she (the girl’s mother) didn’t find this abnormal. We told her to remove the little girl (from the boot) and give her something to drink right away.
Paramedics were called and the little child was immediately taken to hospital.
The mother told investigators that she had kept the child’s existence from her husband, an unemployed builder, also Portuguese, who police were unable to question straight away given his drunken state.
The mother said she gave birth alone then hid the baby in the boot. It has no birth certificate and apparently no name.
“It appears the child had been hidden from her birth, and even worse is seriously retarded,” said Jean-Pierre Laffite, the prosecutor in nearby Brive-La-Gaillarde.
He said the girl’s height, weight and mental development didn’t conform to her age, estimated to be between 15 and 23 months. She cannot speak a word.
“It’s a situation that defies the imagination,” he added.
The little child’s parents have been charged with child abuse and neglect, and social services have taken into care their three other children – a four-year-old girl and two boys aged nine and 10.
The couple, who remain under strict judicial supervision, face a maximum ten-year prison terms if convicted.
As to the motive for hiding the baby, a judicial source said: “(The mother) provided none. That remains the big mystery.”