French mechanics made a gruesome discovery Friday when they opened the trunk of a car that was brought in for repairs and found a naked baby girl inside.
Police are now investigating the parents of the child, who is believed to be between 15 months and 2 years old. The baby appeared to have been kept in the car trunk for some time, according to reports.
It all started when a 45-year-old woman brought the vehicle to a garage in the French town of Terrasson for repairs. Mechanics became concerned after they heard noises coming from the trunk, coupled with the strong smell of excrement. However, the woman -- later confirmed to be the girl's mother -- explained that toys in the trunk were responsible for the noise.
Guillaume Iguacel, a worker at the garage, was skeptical of the woman's story and decided to open the trunk. In it, he found the naked baby girl, conscious but frail and sickly.
"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," he told the Agence France-Presse.
The little girl was transported to a local hospital, where she was found to be dehydrated and malnourished. Local prosecutor Jean-Pierre Laffitte also noted the baby appears to suffer from delayed growth problems and has some psychological impairment, regional newspaper Sud-Ouest reports. While physical violence does not appear to be at play, it's possible the girl experienced psychological brutality.
After DNA testing confirmed the woman and her partner are the biological parents of the child, the two were indicted Sunday on charges of neglect, violence against a minor and concealment, according to local reports. For his part, the father says he was unaware of the baby's existence.
While an investigation is still underway, police say they believe the mother hid the baby's existence from family and authorities since the girl's birth. Three other children between the ages of 4 and 10, found living at the couple's home in Corrèze, were turned over to child welfare services over the weekend following the discovery of the neglected baby girl, Le Parisien notes.