German prosecutors have launched an investigation into the secret detention of an 8-year-old girl for most of her life, considering how the child welfare agency was defrauded.
Authorities in West Germany have launched an investigation into the case of an eight-year-old girl who was locked in a room for more than seven years of her life. The story is from the small German town of Autendoorn, where a girl’s mother and “grandparents” hid her in a room for more than seven years. German prosecutors are now trying to trace the mystery of how the case of this girl did not pass the eyes of the officials of the child welfare institution or how this institution ignored the case?
Reports so far
Officials said they found no signs of malnutrition or abuse in the girl, Maria. However, he is reportedly not able to climb stairs or even make his way over uneven ground due to his stunted growth. The girl says she has never been in a car, nor has she ever seen a meadow or a forest, officials said.
A senior prosecutor said, “Given the fact that this girl has not been out of the house since she was one-and-a-half years old, it is not surprising that she has no conscious awareness of the outside world.”
Meanwhile, Maria’s mother and ‘grandparents’ have not yet responded to the police’s question as to why the girl was kept hidden for so long. Maria’s mother’s name is Rosemary G and her age is estimated to be 47 years old. The woman told authorities in 2015 that she had moved to the Italian region of Calabria.
Maria’s father told local childcare services that he had seen Maria and her mother several times in September 2015 in the German city of Autendoorn. However, Child Welfare Services officials say that when they spoke to Maria’s grandparents in 2015, they were told that Maria was in Italy.
Child protection officials said Maria’s whereabouts were not revealed to them despite repeated attempts by the grandparents to keep them out of the case, and police were not allowed access to the home, nor was anyone ever allowed access to the home. An official warrant was issued.
In July this year again, the investigation to get information about the girl was started when the police got the information that the girl was locked up. Her mother’s relatives told the police that the girl and her mother had never lived in Italy.
Meanwhile, Italian authorities told youth welfare officers that the girl had never lived at the address her mother had given German authorities. Meanwhile, on a court order, the girl was recovered from her grandparents’ house.
This girl is now almost 9 years old and has been placed in an orphanage. Her mother and grandparents are being investigated for ‘depriving the girl of free movement’. The maximum punishment for this crime is 15 years in prison.
A separate investigation will examine how child protection services could have missed the mark.
Senior public prosecutor Patrick Baron von Groths told the news agency dpa, “We have to shed light on whether the Youth Welfare Office took all the necessary steps to uncover the case.” If it is considered that an eight-year-old girl was hidden in a house for about seven years, the question inevitably arises whether this girl could not have been found earlier.
Child welfare officials are said to have received reports a couple of years ago that the girl was locked up at the said location, but said they had no concrete evidence to base it on. They would investigate the case further.
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