Mechanics Find Toddler Force to Live in Car Trunk, Parents Face Prison Time

International   Steven Ertelt   Oct 29, 2013   |   11:18AM    Paris, France

Parents in France face prison time after officials discovered they had subjected their toddler to living in the trunk of a vehicle. Authorities discovered a an underfed and dehydrated baby girl who had been forced to live hidden in the trunk of the car, possibly since birth.

An AFP report on the girl suggests she was anywhere between 15 and 23 months-old and she was found when mechanics in Terrasson were working on the vehicle. The report says police were contacted when a mechanic heard “bizarre noises, like moans” coming from the vehicle’s trunk and the mechanic discovered the little girl, naked, inside and lying in her own feces.

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The girl was taken to hospital where doctors said she was suffering from delayed growth and mental problems.

The girl “was hidden, it seems since birth, and more seriously, she is suffering from significant (developmental) delays,” local prosecutor Jean-Pierre Laffite told AFP. The situation “defies belief,” he said.

The girl’s mother, 45, and her 40-year-old partner were arrested and charged on Sunday with child abuse and endangering a minor.

The two face up to 10 years in prison. The mother told police that she had given birth in secret and hidden the baby’s existence from everyone, including her partner, the girl’s father. The couple have three other children — a four-year-old girl and two boys aged nine and 10 — who were handed over to social services following their parents’ arrest.

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The mechanic who found the girl, Guillaume Iguacel, told AFP on Monday that he was still reeling from the discovery.

“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,” he said.