BERLIN — German prosecutors have detained a woman’s mother and grandparents for holding their 8-year-old daughter in near-life confinement in a house in a small German town.
While there are still many open questions in the case, the details revealed are shocking. The girl is said to have been held for almost seven years at a house in Attendorn, about 20 miles east of Cologne. She said after the girl was rescued by police she had never seen a forest or meadow and she had never been in a car, according to local newspaper Sauerlandkrie.
Police and local child protection agencies conducted a house search on September 23 and rescued the girl. Her medical examination found her to be relatively healthy and she was placed in emergency care with her foster parents.
Siegen’s public prosecutor’s office said the child’s mother and grandparents were under formal investigation.
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Prosecutors said the girl showed no clear signs of physical abuse or malnutrition.
“But the girl has never seen the outside world,” Senior Public Prosecutor Patrick Baron von Grotfuss told Deutsche News Agency DPA. She could speak and walk, but “can hardly climb stairs or overcome uneven ground on her own.” was”.
The mother and grandparents did not provide any information to investigators, officials said.
In 2014, the mother told the girl’s father, whom she had separated from before her daughter was born, that she wanted to move to Italy with the child. Suspicions began to rise that the was pursuing the plan.
In September 2015, the father told Child Protective Services that he had seen the mother walking around town several times. When questioned by authorities, her grandparents said her daughter had moved to Italy with her children.
The father said all letters and gifts he had sent to his daughter with an Italian address had been returned unopened.
Child Protective Services also received anonymous hints that at least the mother may be in the attendant. . Police were also denied entry into the home by the grandparents, but no search warrant was issued due to the apparent lack of evidence.
Finally, a maternal relative of the family contacted police and said he and his wife had recently visited relatives in Italy where the girl and mother were supposed to live together. Neither my daughter nor I have ever lived there.
A phone call was then made to the girl’s mother at her grandparents’ home in Attendorn, and authorities finally obtained the necessary search warrant.
The mother and grandparents have been charged with unlawful deprivation of liberty and abuse.
Family acquaintances are also being interrogated.
According to von Grotfuss, the next step would be a thorough evaluation of the girl’s mental and physical condition, the mother would also be psychiatrically examined and, if necessary, other accused persons. He said it was “very likely”.
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