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PARIS, Nov 21 (Reuters) – France is shocked by the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl of Colombian origin in the south of the country, just weeks after the brutal killing of another 12-year-old girl in Paris.

Police on Friday arrested a 31-year-old man suspected of raping and murdering the girl, named Vanessa, after forcing her into his car after leaving school in Tonneins the same day. The suspect left the body in an abandoned house and was quickly identified from security camera footage, according to authorities.

The prosecutor in Agen, southern France, told reporters on Saturday that when police went to arrest the man at his flat in the southern city of Marmande, he said: “I know why you are here” and confessed.

Authorities said the man had been sentenced to a suspended 15-day jail term for sexually assaulting another minor in 2006, when the suspect was just 15 years old.

Dante Rinaudo, mayor of Tonneins, told reporters on Monday that the girl’s parents want to bury their daughter in Granada, in Spain, where the family had lived for several years before moving to France.

Rinaudo said he had launched an online fundraiser to support the family and would organize a march for the victim on Friday.

The murder comes just weeks after France was rocked by the brutal murder of a 12-year-old girl named Lola, whose battered body was found in a suitcase outside her Paris home.

The main suspect in that case, a 24-year-old woman, has been accused of murder, rape and acts of torture.

Lola’s murder became a source of political tension, with opposition parties taking advantage of the suspect’s profile – an illegal immigrant – to call for tougher policies.

In both cases, the far-right opposition has criticized political and judicial authorities for being soft on crime and not doing enough to keep dangerous individuals off the streets. (Reporting by Geert De Clercq Editing in Spanish by Javier López de Lérida)

Reuters

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