11/21/2022 – 7:40 pm
PARIS (Reuters) – France is in shock over the rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl in the south of the country, just weeks after the brutal murder of a 12-year-old girl in Paris.
Police on Friday arrested a 31-year-old man suspected of raping and killing the girl, named Vanesa, after forcing her into his car as she left school in Tonneins. He left the body in an abandoned house but was quickly identified through security camera footage, authorities said.
The prosecutor in Agen, in the south of France, told reporters on Saturday that when police went to arrest the man at his apartment in the southern city of Marmande, he said: “I know why you are here” and confessed.
Authorities said the man had been sentenced to 15 days in jail for sexually assaulting another minor in 2006, when the suspect was just 15 years old. The execution of his prison sentence was suspended.
The death comes just weeks after France was rocked by the brutal murder of a 12-year-old girl named Lola, whose beaten body was found in a suitcase outside her Paris home.
The main suspect in the case, a 24-year-old woman, was charged with murder, rape and acts of torture.
Lola’s murder has become a source of political tension, with opposition parties taking advantage of the suspect’s profile – an illegal immigrant – to demand stricter immigration policies.
In both cases, the far-right opposition criticized judicial and political authorities for being soft on crime and not doing enough to keep dangerous individuals off the streets.
Dante Rinaudo, the mayor of Tonneins, told reporters on Monday that the girl’s parents, who are of Colombian origin, wanted to bury their daughter in Granada, Spain, where the family lived for several years before moving to France.
He said he had launched an online fundraiser to support the family and would organize a march for the victim on Friday.
(Reporting by Geert De Clercq)