PARIS — The killing of a 12-year-old girl whose body was found inside a plastic trunk has left France “profoundly shaken” and led to accusations that far-right lawmakers have politicized her death to attack the government’s immigration policies.
The girl, identified by authorities only as Lola, was last seen alive on surveillance camera footage in her apartment building in northeast Paris at 3:15 p.m. local time (9:15 a.m. ET) on Friday, the Paris state prosecutor said in a statement Monday.
The numbers 0 and 1 were written in red ink on the bottom of each of the victim’s feet — a macabre detail in a case that has left France “profoundly shaken, faced with the horror and the pain,” government spokesman Olivier Véran told reporters Wednesday, according to The Associated Press.
An autopsy revealed Lola had died of “cardio-respiratory failure with manifestation of asphyxia,” and there were signs of cervical compression, the prosecutor’s statement added.
A 24-year-old woman who was arrested Saturday in a northeastern suburb of the capital is in custody on charges of murder and rape of a minor, torture, acts of barbarity and concealment of a corpse, the Paris state prosecutor said Monday.
A 43-year-old man is also in custody, charged with helping to hide the girl’s body, according to a prosecutors’ statement. Four others have been released without charge.
Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti told the National Assembly on Tuesday that the arrested woman was given an order to leave France on Aug. 22. The suspect was unknown to the police, he added, but was herself a victim of violence.
She entered the country legally in 2016 after obtaining a student visa that had since expired, Veran said. In August, when she landed at Paris’s Orly airport, authorities noticed her flawed immigration status and issued her an order to leave French territory before letting her in, the government spokesman explained.
Far-right politicians have since lashed out at French President Emmanuel Macron’s centrist government and blamed its immigration policies for the girl’s death.
“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, who this year ran for president unsuccessfully for a third time, tweeted Tuesday.
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne told a parliamentary session later that day that Le Pen should “show some decency and respect for the grief of the family.”
Eric Zemmour, the far-right controversialist who came to prominence during this year’s presidential election before his challenge faded, called the death a “Francocide,” the targeted death of a French person, in a tweet Monday.