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A 15-month-old baby girl discovered filthy and naked in south-west France had spent her entire life in the boot of her mother's car, police believe.
“The baby was completely hidden away, apparently since birth. It's a situation that defies belief,” the local prosecutor, Jean-Pierre Laffitte, said on Monday.
The child was discovered by mechanics in the Dordogne region when a 45-year-old woman brought her Peugeot 307 estate car in for repair.
They heard noises and complained that there was a terrible smell.
The Portuguese-born mother tried to distract them, but they opened the boot and found the little girl in a baby basket, naked, feverish and covered in her own excrement.
The woman, who has not been named, told police that she had concealed her pregnancy, delivered the child herself and kept the baby, whom she called Anne-Marie, locked away in the car.
Both she and her 40-year-old husband, who was drunk when police went to their home, have been formally accused of “repeated violence” towards a child and “deprivation of care”.
The couple has been released on bail. Three other children, aged four, nine and 10, have been placed in care homes.
“The infant doesn't have the right size or weight for her age and she displays a mentality and behaviour that don't conform to her age,” said the prosecutor.
The mechanic who found the girl, Guillaume Iguacel, told Agence France-Presse on Monday: “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 Independent