Paris police question two over murder, suspected rape of 12-year-old girl

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Paris investigators were on Monday questioning a woman and a man suspected of raping and murdering a 12-year-old girl whose body was found in a trunk on Friday.

Possible charges include the rape and murder of a minor aged below 15 along with torture, abuse and concealing a body, a source in the French judiciary told AFP, adding that prosecutors had ordered two people held in provisional custody.

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The main suspect has been identified as a 24-year-old woman suffering from psychiatric disorders.

She was arrested on Saturday in Bois-Colombes in Paris’ northwestern suburbs, after being spotted on CCTV images from the block of flats home to the young victim, identified only by her first name, Lola.

An eyewitness who also saw her at the scene said that she had offered him money to help her move a large trunk, several media outlets reported.

Investigators suspect a 43-year-old man also under arrest sheltered the young woman and drove her around in the vehicle where she was discovered.

Lola’s parents called police after their daughter did not return from middle school on Friday afternoon, also unsettled by the unknown young woman’s presence in the residential building in Paris’ 19th district.

But a homeless man was the first to discover the body, which sources familiar with the investigation said was hidden under cloths in a plastic box in the building’s courtyard.

The body had visible large wounds on its neck and an autopsy performed on Saturday found that Lola died of suffocation, one source said.

Six people have so far been placed in custody in relation to the case, with four since released.

Local residents placed flowers at the gate of the family’s building over the weekend, an AFP reporter saw.

Meanwhile, school authorities have announced they will set up psychological aid for staff and pupils at Lola’s middle school and others in the area.

One mother told AFP that her daughter, another pupil who knew Lola by sight, was “not doing well today, she doesn’t want to go to school.”

“Today it’s time for mourning and for the investigation, which seems to be progressing quickly,” 19th district mayor Francois Dagnaud said during a visit to the Georges-Brassens school.

“What’s important is that the main suspect for now has been arrested, there’s no psychopath roaming the streets of this neighborhood,” he added after local parents reported fears for their children’s safety.

“Of course, the fact that a 12-year-old child can die in such circumstances is overwhelming for everybody,” he added, saying that counselling would also be offered to local residents.

Read more: France opens murder probe after body of 12-year-old girl found in a trunk

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