BERLIN – Prosecutors in Germany are detaining a mother and grandparents accused of keeping the woman’s eight-year-old daughter captive in a house in a small German town for most of her life.
There are still many unanswered questions in this case, but the details that have come to light are frightening: the girl was allegedly held in a house in Attendorn, around 20 kilometers east of Cologne, for almost seven years. After being rescued by police, the girl said she had never seen a forest or meadow or driven in a car, according to local newspaper Sauerlandkurier, which cited documents from a regional children’s hospital.
The police and the local child protection service searched the apartment on September 23 and freed the girl. A medical examination revealed that she was in relatively good health and she was placed with an emergency care family.
Investigations were being launched against the child’s mother and grandparents, the public prosecutor’s office said in Siegen.
The girl shows no clear evidence of physical abuse or malnutrition, said the public prosecutor.
“However, the girl has never seen the outside world,” said senior prosecutor Patrick Baron von Grotthuss of the German Press Agency. The girl is said to have lived in the house in Attendorn for almost seven years without ever being allowed to leave it. She could speak and walk, but was “barely able to climb stairs or negotiate uneven floors on her own.”
The mother and grandparents did not provide investigators with any information, officials said.
In 2014, the mother is said to have informed the girl’s father, from whom she had separated before her daughter was born, that she wanted to move to Italy with her child. But doubts were raised that she had gone ahead with this plan despite providing a forwarding address in Italy.
In September 2015, the father informed the youth welfare office that he had seen the mother walking around the city several times. Questioned by authorities, the grandparents said their daughter had moved to Italy with the child.
The father said letters and gifts he sent to his daughter to the Italian address were all returned unopened.
The youth welfare office also received anonymous tips that at least the mother could be in Attendorn. Recent attempts by authorities to contact the grandparents have been rebuffed and officers have been denied access to the home. The grandparents did not let the police into the house either, but due to the lack of evidence no search warrant was issued.
Finally, a relative from the maternal side of the family contacted police and said he and his wife had recently visited relatives in Italy where the girl and her mother were to live. The Italian relatives said that neither the mother nor the daughter ever lived there.
Then the girl’s mother was reached by phone at her grandparents’ house in Attendorn, and the authorities eventually obtained the necessary search warrant.
The mother and grandparents are charged with illegal detention and ill-treatment.
Family acquaintances are also interviewed.
The next step, von Grotthuss said, would be a thorough evaluation of the little girl’s mental and physical condition, and he said it was “very likely” that the mother, and any other suspects, would also undergo a psychiatric evaluation.
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https://news.yahoo.com/girl-rescued-years-captivity-hardly-141453867.html Girl ‘barely able to climb stairs’ after years in captivity