A five-year-old girl, who was left alone in a Moscow apartment cluttered with junk for several days, is being treated in intensive care, Russian officials said on Monday (March 11).
The Investigative Committee, Russia’s main investigative body, has detained the girl’s mother and has launched a criminal enquiry into conspiracy to murder.
They gave no information about the girl’s condition.
Investigators, who are also probing the actions of police and social workers, said the 47-year-old woman left her daughter for several days and that water and electricity in the apartment had been cut off due to unpaid debts.
Emergency workers on Sunday removed the child from the apartment, which was cluttered with what appeared to be trash bags and plastic bottles, according to the investigators’ footage.
The furniture in the apartment looked smashed and the walls and the ceiling splattered with dirt or paint.
The ombudswoman for children’s rights in Russia said the girl, identified as Lyuba, does not appear to be able to speak.
“Water and electricity had been cut off in the apartment, and it’s horrifying to imagine what would have happened to the child if no one had reacted and if the mother did not show up,” Anna Kuznetsova said in comments to Russian news agencies.
The mother said in questioning that she had to leave the child alone for “short periods” to go to work, the Investigative Committee said.
Neighbours had reportedly complained about the child crying and the stench coming from the apartment. But police officers had initially refused to force their way in. Another police squad called emergency services a few days later to get the door down.
Neighbors interviewed by Russian state television said the girl’s mother kept to herself and that her behavior did not arouse any suspicion.