8-year-old German girl freed after being kept inside for seven years
A young girl in the northern German town of Attendorn has been freed by police after allegedly being kept inside by her maternal family for the majority of her life.
German girl allegedly imprisoned by her family in grandparents’ house
An 8-year-old German girl has been freed by police and social services after she was apparently kept imprisoned by her maternal family. It is suspected that the girl, known in the media as “Maria”, had been kept locked inside a room of her maternal grandparents’ house for the last seven and a half years.
The girl was freed by local police in North Rhine-Westphalia earlier this autumn. According to a statement issued by municipal authorities, the doctors who examined her after her release reported no signs of physical mistreatment or malnourishment.
While she was being examined by the doctors, “Maria” reportedly said that she had never seen a forest, been in a meadow or been driven in a car. Prosecutor Patrick Baron von Grotthuss also told local newspaper the SauerlandKurier that the girl was “barely able to climb stairs by herself or navigate uneven ground”.
Isolated girl’s mother said the pair had moved to Italy
As of yet it is unclear as to why “Maria’s” mother and her maternal grandparents decided to isolate the child from social life.
It has been reported by The Guardian that the girl’s mother and father were separated at the time of her birth. Speaking to SauerlandKurier, the father said that when “Maria” was around 6 months old he had found a note on the windscreen of his car saying that “Maria” and her mother were intending to move to Italy.
In mid-2015 the mother, named “Rosemarie G” by tabloid newspaper Bild, told local authorities that she and the child had moved to Calabria, in south-west Italy. However, after having seen “Maria” and “Rosemarie G” in Attendorn after their supposed move, the father reported his sighting to local youth welfare authorities and questioned “Maria’s” maternal grandparents about their true whereabouts. The grandparents insisted that the pair had moved to Italy.
In July this year investigators revisited the case after a couple living in nearby Lennestadt told police about a rumour that the girl was being held in her grandparents’ house. Italian police confirmed to Attendorn authorities that “Maria” and her mother had indeed never lived in Calabria, shortly after which the police found the girl.
“Rosemarie G” and the girl’s grandparents are now being investigated for false imprisonment and mistreatment of a minor.