Girl, 5, found dead in rubbish bag after suspected sexual assault

The naked remains of a young girl hidden inside a rubbish bag have been discovered by police just 100 metres from her family home after the girl’s parents reported their daughter missing. The parents have been left devastated as reports suggest their daughter may have been kidnapped and killed by a teenage boy already known to the municipal police “for acts related to sexual abuse”. The suspect, “aged 15 or 16” has been taken into custody and is the “presumed perpetrator” after he was discovered in the flat where the young girl’s body, stripped of all her clothes, was found inside a rubbish bag. 

The victim’s mother, speaking through tears on Wednesday morning, demanded to know why the teenage boy, who was released from a psychiatric facility earlier this month, had been discharged. 

The five-year-old girl was reported missing early on Tuesday afternoon by her Romanian family, who initially “asked local residents if they had seen their daughter by describing her and how she was dressed”.

One young man who was asked whether he had seen the girl following her disappearance “said he had seen her going in the complete opposite direction to where she was found”, according to Mayor Jean-Pierre Michel. 

He suggested this young man had been “probably trying to cover his tracks” and has since been arrested as the “presumer perpetrator”. 

The French commune of Rambervillers, western France, is now dealing with “inexplicable pain”, according to the mayor, as the close-knit, only 5,000-strong community learns more details of the case. 

According to a source close to the investigation, the teenager was taken into custody after he was found in the flat where the girl’s body was eventually found.  Another source close to the investigation said that he is suspected of having moved the body. 

The young man, “aged 15 or 16”, was “known to the municipal police and the local force for acts related to sexual abuse”.  

He had been released a “few weeks ago” from a specialised institution, where he had been placed after he tied two other teenagers to a tree before performing oral sex on them almost two years ago. 

Mr Michel said the municipal police were aware of the teenagers’ release and had been “worried” about his reappearance in the town. The young man was known to suffer from psychiatric problems and made a habit of “luring young children into making inappropriate sexual gestures”.  

The body of the little five-year-old girl, suspected to be the teenager’s latest victim, was found naked in a rubbish bag on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after she went missing, according to local newspaper Le Republicain Lorrain.

“The girl was found in a flat, lifeless,” Mr Michel said. “The municipal police officers intervened at first, they are the ones who discovered the body, and then the emergency services came, they tried to do cardiac massages, but there was nothing to do, it was too late unfortunately.”

The residence within which she was discovered, on rue du Parmoulin, was just 100 metres from the child’s family home on rue du Cheval Blanc. 

“Everyone is upset (…) A child who dies, if it is accidental, it is dramatic, but in such conditions, it is even more painful, it is inexplicable,” said the mayor. 

“I am destroyed,” the girl’s mother, speaking tearfully, announced to reports on Wednesday morning. “It’s too painful, it doesn’t go away.” 

“They say that a fortnight ago he was locked up in a psychiatric hospital. Why did they let him out?‌

“I want justice and I don’t want the sick people to be left outside because they don’t destroy one life, they destroy the life of the whole family.

“They destroyed my life, all my memories with my daughter, all my plans, they took everything away. They took away my little princess. I don’t want people like that left outside anymore.”

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