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A missing four-year-old girl's body parts were found wrapped in plastic bags in the family freezer on Wednesday, a Belgian prosecutor said.

The girl's mother, Juliana Santana Duran, confessed to strangling her daughter Diana on Sunday evening before chopping the body up but gave no reason for the killing, said prosecutor Pierre Magnien.

The find ended a massive search for the little girl, who was reported missing on Monday and whose picture headlined newspapers and TV news in a country haunted by the 1990s deaths of several girls at the hands of paedophile killer Marc Dutroux.

Police suspected foul play after the mother initially reported she had failed to exit school on Monday afternoon while teachers said she never showed up in the morning. The mother then claimed she had disappeared from inside her car while she was shopping.

But on Wednesday morning she confessed after officers found bloodstained clothes in the washing machine. - AFP