The shocking murder of a 12-year-old schoolgirl whose body was found on Friday in a container in the courtyard of her apartment building has shocked Parisians.
The girl identified as Lola, was in school like every other kid but her father raised the alarm when she was not seen at home after school had closed for the day.
BBC reports that the presence of a transparent plastic packing box attracted attracted people to the foot of the apartment building – a residential block in the 19th arrondissement where Lola’s father is employed as a concierge.
Lola’s body was found pressed inside the container, covered by a material. Her hands and feet were tied and she was reported to have a gash on her neck.
An autopsy this weekend discovered that she died of asphyxiation. Two Post-it notes were also on her feet, one saying “0” and the other “1”.
Police on Saturday arrested the main suspect in the killing. The suspect was identified as a 24-year-old Algerian-born woman, Dahbia B.
The woman was identifiable on a security video taken at the apartment building, in which she was seen entering the main door on Friday afternoon in the company of Lola.
She later left the building pulling a container and then acting abnormally on the street. One eyewitness said she asked for help in return for money from an “organ-trafficking affair.”
However, police said they did not believe this was a serious lead. Their most plausible theory is that Dahbia B, who has no fixed abode, is psychologically unstable and that her act was “gratuitous”.
Also in custody is a 43-year-old man who is believed to have driven Dahbia B and the container in his car. Police think that, having been driven by him around the Paris suburbs, Dahbia B returned to the apartment building – where her sister also is a resident.
There, the two sisters are reported to have had a noisy row, before Dahbia B left again – this time without the container. She spent the night in a flat in the suburb of Bois-Colombes where she was picked up the next day.
Police have opened an investigation for the murder of a person under 15 years of age accompanied by acts of torture and barbarity. Dahbia B is expected to be placed under judicial investigation and kept in custody.
At Lola’s school, children and parents were visibly distressed on Monday morning. The school received visits by Education Minister Pap Ndiaye and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, and psychological support teams have been sent to comfort pupils.
“My daughter cried all weekend, she hasn’t slept a wink. “We can’t trust anyone now in our neighbourhood. I am very afraid for my children,” Gasmi, a father of two, told Le Parisien newspaper.
“It’s turned me upside-down,” a local woman told the paper. “This morning I followed my son on the way to school, just a few metres behind him. Just to be safe. I’ll take him to school from now on and I’ll go and get him too. If he finishes at half past four, I’ll leave work at four. Its non-negotiable.”
Brigitte Macron, wife of the president, while commenting on the incident said it was an abomination.