Schoolgirl allegedly killed in Germany

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Schoolgirl allegedly killed in Germany

A nine-year-old girl who vanished on her way to school in eastern Germany last week has been found dead in a wooded area following a massive search effort, reported dpa.

Police said the girl, Valeriia, was the victim of a crime and that the "absolute focus" is now on identifying the perpetrator.

"The loss of a child is heartbreaking," said Carsten Kaempf, the chief of police in the nearby city of Chemnitz.

Valeriia is Ukrainian and moved to Germany with her mother in 2022. They settled in the town of Döbeln, about 40 kilometres north-east of Chemnitz. The girl's father reportedly has remained in Ukraine, and has been in close contact with German authorities.

She was last seen on June 3 as she was on her way to school, but she never arrived. Her disappearance became major news across Germany, and the subject of an intense search and investigation.

Her body was discovered on Tuesday during a search that involved more than 400 police officers from the surrounding region.

The location was about 4 kilometres away from her home, "away from any forest paths, deep in the undergrowth," said Mandy Kürschner, head of the Chemnitz criminal investigation department, at a press conference on Wednesday.

Prosecutors believe the place where her body was found was also the scene of the crime. Kürschner said the body likely wouldn't have been discovered without the intensive search.

There are no indications she was the victim of a sexual crime, said Ingrid Burghart, spokeswoman for the public prosecutor's office in Chemnitz. She stressed that the criminal investigation is proceeding on suspicion of murder or manslaughter against an unidentified perpetrator.


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