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France: Woman charged over murder of 12-year-old girl found in suitcase

Dahbia B

Paris investigators on Monday charged a woman suspected of raping and murdering a 12-year-old girl whose body was found in a trunk on Friday, a source close to the case told AFP.

The main suspect, identified as a 24-year-old woman suffering from psychiatric disorders, was questioned earlier Monday alongside an older man suspected of sheltering her.

The 24-year-old has been charged with the rape and murder of a minor aged under 15 along with torture and abuse, the source said.

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A judge ordered that she be held in provisional custody.

Prosecutors said in a press release Monday that under questioning, the woman made “varying statements, switching between admitting and denying the facts of the case.”

But she eventually said she had brought the girl — identified only by her first name, Lola — to her sister’s apartment in the same building, where she forced her to take a shower.

The woman said she had then “committed harm of a sexual nature and other violent acts against (Lola) that caused her death, and hid her body in the trunk,” prosecutors said.

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According to the autopsy, the young girl died due to “cardio-respiratory failure with signs of asphyxia and cervical compression”.

Other non-fatal wounds were found on her face and back as well as large gashes on her neck, and the numbers 0 and 1 were written in red on the soles of each of her feet.

“Investigations are continuing to determine exactly what happened (and) to establish the criminal responsibility of the people involved,” prosecutors added.

The suspect’s lawyer Alexandre Silva expressed sympathy for Lola’s family, before calling on the press not to report “rumours” and insisting on the presumption of innocence for his client.

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The 43-year-old man also questioned in custody on Monday admitted that he brought the 24-year-old woman to his home with the trunk and two suitcases, where he said she stayed for two hours before leaving again in a chauffeur-driven car he had called for her.

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