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France

Baby found in car boot, parents charged

Terrasson-Lavilledieu
Terrasson-Lavilledieu Père Igor/CC

A couple in south-west France have been charged with child abuse after a car mechanic found thier baby daughter in the boot of their car. Investigators say the child, aged between 15 and 23 months, may have passed most of her life there.

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The child was found when mechanic Guillaume Iguacel heard "strange sounds, like sighs" coming from the car, opened its boot and called the police.

The little girl was "white as plaster", lying in her own excrement and rolling her eyes, Iguacel said, adding that he was having difficulty sleeping two days after his grim discovery.

The 45-year-old woman and her 40-year-old partner were arrested on Friday and have been charged on several counts of child abuse and failure to feed and care for the baby, who was dehydrated and showed signs of arrested development.

The mother did not seem to find the situation strange and remained calm when the police arrived, Iguacel said.

She said that she had hidden the birth from her partner, a unemployed Portuguese building worker who was too drunk to be questioned at the time of his arrest.

The couple's three other children, aged four, nine and 10, have been taken into care.

The woman had brought the car to the garage before, according to Iguacel who said that he had noticed a strange smell, leading him to suspect that the child may have been in the boot then.

The public prosecutor on Sunday told journalists that he could not tell whether the girl had spent most of her life in the car boot.

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