Even as the murder of a 12-year-old girl last Friday, 14 October, in the 19th circumscription of Paris, continues to haunt France, the police have arrested four suspects and identified them as Algerian-born. They are two sisters and two men, one of whom has been known to one of the women suspects. Readers in India may find an uncanny resemblance of the inference drawn by the police from this investigation with that in cases of the type in their country where the cops have called the prime suspects in assaults and murders, all Muslims, "mentally unstable", diluting the gravity of the criminal acts.
The victim, Lola, was discovered by a homeless man in a plastic trunk around 11 PM in front of the building where she lived. The autopsy, performed the next day, revealed death by asphyxiation with significant wounds on the neck.
The investigation brought to light a certain Dahbia B spotted by surveillance cameras. She was the last person to see Lola alive. She was seen returning with the victim to her residence before exiting alone on the day of the murder.
Curiously, the police are assuming the young Algerian suspect suffers from "potential psychiatric disorders", according to sources that are privy to the investigation.
Police take 4 Algerians into custody for Lola's rape, murder
Testimonies report the exit of the young woman with two suitcases that she loaded into a car. She asked passers-by to help her carry the plastic trunk. The suitcase containing the young victim was stained with blood and heavily bleached.
Dahbia B was arrested the next day near Bois-Colombes, in the Hauts-de-Seine, northwest of Paris. She was taken into custody along with five other people. The homeless person who discovered the body and another individual were released without charge.
But the young Algerian, her older sister and two other men, all born in Algeria, were kept in custody for the "murder of a minor under 15 years of age in connection with a rape committed with acts of torture and barbarism" and "rape of a minor of 15 years with acts of torture and barbarity and concealment of a corpse", according to judicial sources cited by La Libération.
According to a video from a TV channel, a neighbour is an eyewitness. When Dahbia B discovered that little Lola was in the plastic trunk, she started running with her phone, shouting, "He did it! He did it!" This is another clue that the young woman may not be the murderer; it indicates at the same time that she knows who committed the murder.
The main suspect is now indicted and suspected to have acted alone. An investigating judge heard Dahbia B, the 24-year-old homeless person yesterday with another man after the macabre discovery three days earlier of the body of the young Lola in a plastic trunk.
In the early evening, a liberty judge placed the main suspect in pre-trial detention. A judicial investigation had been initiated earlier in the day for the murder and rape of the minor with acts of torture, barbarity and concealment of the corpse, says a judicial source.
At the end of the debate behind closed doors, the lawyer of Dahbia B, Alexandre Silva wanted to cut short the various rumours that hover around the case. Addressing the court "despite [his] qualification of a defence lawyer", he said her thoughts reach out "to the family of little Lola, to the parents of little Lola". "I have no idea, of course, of the trauma and horror that they are going through right now," he said.
Before looking into the case of his client, he said: "Currently, I find it absolutely inhumane to let rumours that are not verified, that are not discussed, that have not at any time been in the procedure circulate and thus overwhelm (Lola's family) with two things that have never happened and that are absolutely not envisaged," he continued, sweeping away the hypotheses of organ trafficking or "rituals on children".
According to the BFMTV account, Dahbia B would have acted alone, luring Lola into her sister's apartment before abusing her. Gagged, the girl would then have succumbed to asphyxiation, before being hit with a multitude of stab wounds and scissors. Morbid details that the investigation will have to be confirmed while the profile of the main suspect, psychologically unstable, are not affirmative as of now.
Last Friday mid-afternoon, Lola leaves her college, Georges-Brassens, in the 19th circumscription of Paris to return home with a 3 min walk. After 3:30 PM, with no news of her, her parents are worried. They question neighbours and then quickly reach the police.
Lola's father, the caretaker of the building on Manin Street, asks for the video surveillance images of the day. He sees his daughter in the hall accompanied by a young woman, about 20 years old. Immediately, the mother makes a call for witnesses on social networks, which remains unanswered.
Around 11:20 PM, a police crew encounter a homeless person who said she had found a plastic trunk. Inside, there is Lola's folded body under a pile of laundry. She died of asphyxiation before being pierced by stab wounds.
Quickly, the judicial police seize the investigation. The next day, six people are taken into custody, including a woman, arrested in the morning in Bois-Colombes (Hauts-de-Seine). To date, she is the prime suspect in Lola's murder.
According to information from Le Parisien, it would be Dahbia B, a homeless person of 24 years. It is she who appears on the CCTV images of the building. If no motive emerges for the moment of the investigation, Dahbia B would get away under the excuse of suffering from "potential psychiatric disorders". This is a claim that will have to be confirmed by experts, but this suggests the possibility of a "gratuitous murder".
In this regard, the suspect's lawyer assured last evening that "this criminal irresponsibility that will be raised during the investigation is a usual procedure in criminal matters" and that "there is no need to deduce, as things stand, anything".
A witness who allegedly met Dahbia B in the evening of the incident reported that the woman of Algerian origin asked him for help in a case related to organ trafficking. This claim is not corroborated.
In addition, according to Le Monde, the suspect's sister was taken into custody too. She lives in the Manin residence, very close to Lola's family, in the 19th circumscription.
The investigation does not yet say precisely whether or not Dahbia B knew Lola. Nor under what circumstances they intersected. Was it a chance encounter? Or was the murder premeditated and executed in cold blood?
Inscriptions were found on Lola's body, on her feet more precisely. A series of numbers, 1 and 0, which follow one another. Impossible to know if it is a track or the assaulter's delusion.
On 16 October, a rally was held in tribute to Lola. Candles and messages were laid. In the neighbourhood, fear now dominates, especially among parents of teenagers. "We wanted to let go of the nanny but we will keep her finally," Olivier, a local, told La Libération. Since then, the federation of parents' councils of the 19th circumscription has organised itself to support students and parents.
A psychological cell has been set up at Georges-Brassens College and a psychologist will visit all nursery and primary schools in the area during the week. Journalists have been advised not to approach the school to leave students in peace.
According to La Libération, a psychological cell is being set up today by the town hall of the 19th, at the Pierre Girard space, for anyone who feels the need.
Resemblance with police inferences in India
An IIT Bombay product Ahmad Murtaza Abbasi attacked the Uttar Pradesh Provincial Armed Constabulary personnel stationed at the Gorakhnath temple on 3 April. He was arrested after a brief chase. Police said later he was mentally unstable.
Two burqa-clad women were taken into custody after they were allegedly seen vandalising a statue of the Virgin Mary and also a Durga murti in a locality in Hyderabad on 27 September. After the puja organisers handed them over to the police, the cops said the women were "mentally unstable".
Domestic help Yasir Lohar, accused of murdering Jammu and Kashmir Director General (Prisons) Hemant K Lohia, had made an unsuccessful attempt to commit suicide before fleeing from the spot after the killing, police said and declared him "mentally unstable" on 16 October.