The circumstances of the death of the 7-year-old girl, who died on Friday but was only reported dead by her mother on Monday, are still unclear.
After being informed on Monday, the Brussels public prosecutor immediately sent a medical examiner to the site for an investigation. According to preliminary results, it cannot be ruled out that the girl died at the hands of a third party.
Neighbours said that they have been wondering about the mother for some time now, as the child often went to school without food, and the police found an empty fridge during a search.
The girl and her mother lived in the Ribaucourt area in the Brussels municipality of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, in an apartment of the social housing company Le Logement Molenbeekois.
The neighbours, who were questioned by the police on Monday, said that there had been problems with the woman for some time. “We had been worried about her daughter for a long time, and wondered if she was fit to take care of her child,” said a neighbour, reports LaCapitale.
On Friday, when the girl died, the neighbours said they did not hear anything suspicious. The mother always shouted a lot and made a lot of noise, but they did not hear the girl screaming or crying, according to another neighbour. “Last week, the mother was attacked here on the street by the girl’s father because she wouldn’t let him see his daughter,” a neighbour said. “We never noticed that she beat or mistreated her daughter, I can’t say that,” they added.
“She was always friendly, but clearly had a lot of issues. She was depressed, and took a lot of medicines,” another neighbour said.
On Monday, the mother went to the city hall to say that her daughter had died. Since no doctor had been to the house, there was no death certificate. The police were notified, mostly because the woman gave the impression of being very confused.
“When the police arrived, the girl was lying dead in her bed. We found indications that were suspicious, but what exactly the girl died of, the coroner could not yet say,” said Denis Goeman of the public prosecutor’s office of Brussels, reports Het Nieuwsblad. An autopsy will take place on Tuesday.
The woman has been interrogated for hours, but she insists that she does not know how her daughter died. She remains imprisoned for the time being, and the apartment has been sealed.
The Brussels Times