An eight-year-old girl is said to have been held in a house in Sauerland for almost her entire life. The public prosecutor's office in Siegen is investigating the child's mother and grandparents, as spokesman Patrick Baron von Grotthuss said on Saturday. It is assumed that these people would not have enabled the girl to "participate in life" - not in kindergarten, not at school and not playing with other children.
The girl allegedly lived in her grandparents' house in Attendorn for almost seven years without being allowed to leave it. Several media had reported on the case.
According to the public prosecutor's office, the mother once told the youth welfare office that she and her child were moving to Italy. However, the youth welfare office then received information that the child was not there at all. Italian authorities then confirmed that the mother and child were not on site – and had probably never been there.
Therefore, the youth welfare office and the police made representations to the house in September. "You had to go in with a court order," said senior public prosecutor Baron von Grotthuss. Officials said the child, now almost nine years old, came up the stairs to meet them.
The background is still completely unclear. According to the investigators, the mother and grandparents are exercising their right to remain silent. Therefore, one is still groping in the dark, "what may have been going on in people's heads," as Baron von Grotthuss said. Attendorn is in the country. "You think the social control still works there," he said. But even the neighbors did not know that mother and child were in the house.
The girl is now in a foster family. There is currently no evidence of physical abuse or malnutrition. "However, we have the situation that the outside world has not seen it," said Baron von Grotthuss. The investigations are not yet complete.