Mother arrested after girl, 5, found alone in filthy flat ‘unable to speak and afraid of water’

A woman has been arrested after her five-year-old daughter was left alone in an apartment for several days.

The girl was abandoned in a filthy flat in Moscow, Russia, filled with junk and clutter, without electricity or running water.

The ombudsman for children's rights said the girl, identified as Lyuba, couldn't speak and was afraid of water. She is being treated in intensive care in hospital.

The Investigative Committee, Russia's main investigative body, has detained the girl's mother and has launched a criminal inquiry into conspiracy to murder.

Investigators, who are also probing the actions of police and social workers, said the 47-year-old woman left her daughter for several days and that water and electricity in the apartment had been cut off due to unpaid debts.

Anna Kuznetsova, ombudswoman for children's rights in Russia, said: "Any fruit or other food we offered her she first smelled, and only then took in her hands. It's very disturbing to watch.

"She hasn't been taught to sleep on a bed, it was very hard for us to put her to sleep. She's also afraid of water."

On Sunday, emergency workers removed the child from the apartment, which was cluttered with what appeared to be trash bags and plastic bottles.

The furniture in the apartment looked smashed and the walls and the ceiling splattered with dirt or paint.

Ms Kuznetsova said: "Water and electricity had been cut off in the apartment, and it's horrifying to imagine what would have happened to the child if no one had reacted and if the mother did not show up."

The mother said in questioning that she had to leave the child alone for "short periods" to go to work, the Investigative Committee said.

Neighbours had reportedly complained about the child crying and the stench coming from the apartment. But police officers had initially refused to force their way in.

Another police squad called emergency services a few days later to get the door down.

Neighbours interviewed by Russian state television said the girl's mother kept to herself and that her behaviour did not arouse any suspicion.

- This article first appeared on Yahoo

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