French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday met the parents of a 12-year-old girl whose brutalised body was found in a trunk in a killing that shocked France, his office said.
Macron “offered his condolences and assured them of his complete solidarity and support in the ordeal they are going through, and which has shaken all of us,” the Elysee added.
A 24-year-old woman with a history of psychiatric disorders has been charged with the rape and murder of the young girl, identified only as “Lola”, and is being held in custody.
Prosecutors said Monday that in a rambling interview, the suspect had described luring Lola into her sister’s apartment — located in the same building where the girl lived — and forcing her to take a shower, before sexually assaulting and ultimately killing the 12-year-old.
An autopsy report said Lola died of “cardio-respiratory failure with signs of asphyxiation and cervical compression”, as well as suffering wounds on her neck and elsewhere on her body.
Investigators quickly got on the suspect’s trail after Lola’s father, the building’s custodian, spotted her interacting with his daughter in CCTV recordings that he checked when Lola did not return from school on Friday afternoon.
The suspect was arrested in northwestern Paris suburb Bois-Colombes early on Saturday morning.
A 43-year-old man who acknowledged driving the suspect away from the crime scene with the trunk containing Lola’s body has also been charged with concealing a corpse.
– Far-right ‘making hay’ –
Some politicians have already begun using the case to attack the government’s immigration policy, as the suspect, an Algerian, was under an order to leave France after overstaying her student visa.
Far-right National Rally leader Marine Le Pen as well as the conservative Republicans party brought up the case in Tuesday’s regular government questions session in the National Assembly (lower house).
“You owe it to us to come up with urgent answers and uncompromising solutions to make sure the law is applied and respected in our country,” Le Pen told Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne.
Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told lawmakers that while the suspect was subject to an order to leave France, it was not yet known whether her lawyer had appealed the decision — which could have meant she was within her rights to stay.
“I’ll speak as I find. Doing petty politics, using the coffin of a 12-year-old girl as a stepping stone, is shameful,” he added.
Addressing the right of the chamber, Dupond-Moretti said that “you’re always there when tragedy strikes, you’ve been making hay out of it for years.”