“She’s wearing white jeans,” the girl’s mother posted on Facebook, “a white hoodie and her gray backpack.” “Help us find her,” she pleaded.
Below Delphine Daviet’s message, two images completed the post. In one, a young girl, 12-year-old Lola, smiles for the camera, in the other, a pixelated snapshot from security camera footage shows a woman in a doorway.
In a case that took hold FranceLola’s body was found mutilated and stuffed in a plastic box just hours after her mother posted this message on October 14. Captured on camera, her mother said, the woman with Lola is the last time she was seen alive in the building where the family lives.
The two were spotted by security cameras at 3.15pm on Friday, just minutes after Lola left the school, as they entered the building where she lived, according to a statement from the Paris Police Prosecutor’s Office.
At around 5 p.m., the woman left the building alone with heavy luggage. Three hours later, Lola’s father sounded the alarm and alerted officers to Lola’s disappearance, the statement added.
Shortly after 11pm, Lola’s body was found in a plastic box with wheels, which was said to have been abandoned in the common areas outside the family building where Lola’s father works as a concierge.
On Monday, French authorities opened an official judicial inquiry into the case for “murder of a minor under the age of 15 accompanied by rape of a minor, torture or acts of cruelty; rape of a minor with torture or violent acts; and hiding a body,” the statement said.
An autopsy on Lola said she died of cardiorespiratory failure with signs of asphyxiation and cervical compression, according to the statement. She had several other injuries, “particularly to the face, back and large lacerations to her neck, which the coroner’s conclusions on her cause of death have played no role in her death,” the police statement said. There were no signs of injuries from sexual trauma, the prosecutor told police, and a zero and a one were written under each of the young victim’s feet.
Police arrested the prime suspect in the case, a 24-year-old woman, whose name was not released, just before 8am on Saturday, the day after Lola was killed, in a north-western Paris suburb, according to Paris Police Prosecutors informed .
CNN has contacted the suspect’s attorney.
During interrogation, according to prosecutors, the woman’s account “oscillated between acknowledging and contesting the facts of the case”, but admitted that she had led Lola to her sister’s apartment, who lived in the same block of flats. She is currently under official investigation in connection with Lola’s murder, the statement said.
There, the statement said, she forced the girl to take a shower before “committing sexual assault and other acts of violence against her that resulted in her death” before hiding the child’s body in the plastic box.
Speaking to CNN affiliate BFMTV, Hafida, a school friend of Lola’s, said: “I can’t get my head around it. I’m like, ‘No, I’ll see her later at break, but no.'”
Bamba, the mother of one of Lola’s friends who used to stay at their home, also expressed shock at what happened. “I can’t believe it,” she told BFMTV, “I tell myself it’s not possible, it could happen to anyone, even me.”
Flowers were laid outside the building where Lola lived on Tuesday afternoon as locals paid homage to a life brutally ended. Local authorities in Paris’ 19th arrondissement, where the killing took place, have also opened a support center for the local population, particularly schoolchildren, along with increased police patrols near schools, the mayor of the 19th arrondissement said in a statement.
Police have also arrested a 43-year-old man, an acquaintance of the prime suspect, who confessed to transporting the 24-year-old woman with her suitcases and plastic box to his home outside Paris and then arranging for her return with the box and suitcases in a taxi to the capital, according to the prosecutor.
According to the police prosecutor, investigations to clarify the precise background to the killing are ongoing.