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Brutal Murder Of 12-Year-Old Girl Shocks France And Fuels Debate Over Immigration Policies
The brutal murder of 12-year-old Lola is sending shockwaves across France. The suspect in the girl's death is an Algerian national, who was ordered to leave the country in August.
The murder, rape and torture of a 12-year-old girl has shaken France and sparked backlash against far-right politicians accused of using the case to stoke anti-immigration policies.
The girl has only been identified as Lola by French authorities. She was last seen alive in security footage taken at her apartment building on Friday afternoon, the Paris state prosecutor said in a statement on Monday, according to NBC News.
Her father, who works as a caretaker for the building, reviewed the footage and saw his daughter with a young woman, unknown to the family, inside the building.
At least two hours later, that same woman was seen leaving the building alone with what appeared to be two heavy bags, according to the Washington Post.
The same day, the girl’s body was found in a plastic box near her apartment building.
Her mother, Delphine Daviet, reported her daughter’s disappearance after she failed to return home from school.
An autopsy revealed the cause of death was “cardio-respiratory failure with manifestation of asphyxia.” Prosecutors said in a statement there were also signs of cervical compression, NBC News reported.
The autopsy also revealed that the numbers zero and one were written in red on each of the victim’s feet, according to multiple media outlets.
A Paris state prosecutor said that a 24-year-old Algerian female immigrant, previously ordered to leave the country in August, is being held on suspicion of murder, rape and acts of torture, according to NBC News.
Additionally, a 43-year-old man was arrested and charged with helping to hide the girl's remains, prosecutors said.
Investigators are still trying to piece together what happened in the final hours of Lola’s life and a possible motive.
The Washington Post reports that authorities said the woman made conflicting statements to police.
Specifically, the prosecutors alleged that the woman said she took Lola to her sister’s home — located in the same apartment building — where she allegedly made the girl take a shower before sexually abusing her, the Washington Post reported.
Additionally, prosecutors said that the 43-year-old man reportedly told authorities that he drove the woman to his home along with two suitcases and a plastic box. She was at his place for about two hours and then headed back to Lola’s apartment building, taking the suitcases with her.
The young girl's death has become a much-discussed topic in French politics, as the female suspect had reportedly entered the country legally on a student visa in 2016. The visa later expired, and she was ordered to leave in August after authorities at the Orly airport in Paris had noticed it was no longer valid. It’s unclear why she was then allowed inside the country, a spokesperson for the French government said.
“Once again, the suspect of this barbaric act should not have been in France. What are you waiting for to act so that this illegal immigration out of control is finally stopped?” Marine Le Pen, a former three-time presidential candidate, and leader of the far-right National Rally party, tweeted Monday.
The comments came after French President Emmanuel Macron held a meeting with the girl’s parents offering his condolences and support, BBC News reported.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne called on Le Pen to “show some decency and respect for the grief of the family,” according to NBC News.
Another far right politician, Éric Zemmour, posted on Twitter, “#Lola’s killer should never have crossed her path.”
Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti noted that while the suspect was ordered to leave the country in August, she was also a victim of violence, NBC News reported.