A 12-year-old girl named Lola has been laid to rest at a funeral after she was murdered 10 days ago in Paris.
Her body was found inside a plastic box in a courtyard by her home, with her death leaving the city horrified.
French government spokesman Olivier Veran said during a media briefing: ‘We are profoundly shaken, faced with the horror and the pain.’
Lola’s dad reported his daughter missing on the afternoon of October 14 when she didn’t return home from school.
He works as a concierge in the building and used CCTV to retrace his daughter’s final steps.
He claimed she entered the building with an unknown woman, who later appeared alone in a hallway as she was leaving, carrying what appeared to be a heavy suitcase.
A post-mortem examination showed Lola died of ‘cardiorespiratory failure with signs of asphyxia and cervical compression’, the prosecutor said.
The coroner’s report cited wounds to her face, back and neck and injuries consistent with sexual assault.
A 24-year-old woman was arrested on Saturday in the capital. She is in custody on charges of murder and rape of a minor, torture, acts of barbarity and concealment of a corpse, the Paris state prosecutor said.
According to the prosecutor’s statement, a 43-year-old man is also in custody, charged with helping to hide Lola’s body.
A judicial investigation is now underway to determine the motive for the killing and the timeline of events that led to the devastating death.
The mayor of Paris and education minister Pap Ndiaye has visited the girl’s school and psychologists have offered support to parents and pupils.
Emmanuel Macron also received the girl’s parents at the Elysee Palace on Tuesday and said he had expressed ‘condolences and offered solidarity and support in their terrible ordeal that upsets us all’.
Reports claim the woman who has been arrested is an immigrant from Algeria who remained in the country despite a deportation order.
The president’s political rivals lashed out at Macron and blamed his immigration policy for the girl’s death.
Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally party, said during a heated National Assembly session: ‘The suspect in this barbaric act should not have been in our country.’
Mr Veran, the government spokesman, said on Wednesday that Lola’s parents ‘ask us for collective support in what they are going through, without adding to their pain’.
He added: ‘Like them, we want answers. Like them, we want to punish with the needed tough stance warranted by atrocities that have been committed. It’s up to judicial authorities to do so.’
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