Shocked neighbors laid flowers and candles on Tuesday, Oct. 18 in tribute to a 12-year-old girl who was murdered in Paris, in a brutal killing which right-wing populist opposition leader Marine Le Pen criticized as a result of France’s lax immigration policies.
The Paris prosecutor’s office said the girl disappeared on Friday, Oct. 14, and her body was discovered later that evening in a plastic trunk outside her building in the 19th arrondissement of the French capital. She had suffered bruises and cuts and died asphyxiated, the prosecutors said in a statement.
Footage from Paris shows flowers left at the residence of the deceased, with a message reading “for Lola, we will never forget you.”
The main suspect, a 24-year old woman, was seen on CCTV exiting the building in the afternoon, carrying heavy luggage, including the trunk in which the victim was found. Local reports had said citing police and judicial sources that the suspect was from Algeria and present in France illegally, something that the authorities later confirmed.
“Too many crimes are being committed by clandestine immigrants one has not been able or willing to deport,” Le Pen said in parliament. “The suspect of this barbaric act should not have been on our territory, and it was the case for more than three years. That’s one too many.”
To this, Prime Minister Elizabeth Borne asked her to “show some decency.”
Meanwhile, French President Emmanuel Macron met with the girl’s parents. “He offered them his condolences and assured them of all his solidarity and support in the ordeal they are going through and which upsets us all,” his office said.
Reuters contributed to this report.