Garage mechanics who were servicing a middle-aged woman’s car and told not to open the car boot were shocked to find a naked, starving little girl when they opened the trunk.
It later came to light that the woman, 50-year-old frenchwoman Rosa Maria Da Cruz, kept the child – her own biological daughter – locked in the trunk of her car after hiding her pregnancy from her family and secretly giving birth to the girl.
Named Serena, the toddler was found to be around two years old. Her mother had hidden her away in the car trunk and, at times in her basement, while continuing to raise her three other children, after the “clandestine birth,” and deprived the girl of food and appropriate care.
As a result of the abuse, Serena was severely malnourished and suffered from several developmental issues. When the mechanics discovered her, she was mere minutes from her death.
Recalling their horrific discovery, mechanic Denis Latour told the local press that Rosa prohibited him and his colleagues from opening her car boot, claiming that the trunk was full and that she did not want to empty it.
Although the mechanics agreed, they decided to investigate after hearing scratching sounds coming from the boot. Instead of finding an animal like they had expected, the mechanics made a shocking discovery.
Denis revealed: “I discovered this little girl in the bottom of the trunk, naked, next to a rotten bassinet, disgusting. I jumped back so much the smell was strong.” Another colleague, Guillaume Iguacel, added: “The firefighters told us that if we had not opened the chest, she would be dead in half an hour.”
Rosa is now facing 20 years in prison after being charged with repeated violence against a minor causing permanent disability. She is on trial as Serena, now seven, continues to receive specialist care.