A mechanic investigating strange noises coming from a car trunk was horrified to find a naked, starving, and dehydrated baby girl inside, lying on garbage bags and covered in excrement. Workers at the garage in central France say the car's owner, a woman in her 40s, brought the vehicle in for basic repairs and claimed the noises were probably a toy that had been left switched on, the Guardian reports. Authorities believe the child, aged between 15 and 23 months, may have been forced to live in the car since birth.
The woman and her husband have been arrested and charged with child abuse, and their other three children have been put in foster care. The mother told authorities that she had tried to keep the baby's birth a secret, even from her partner, the BBC reports. The child is now in the hospital, where tests have found significant developmental and mental problems. The mechanic has been having trouble sleeping since he found the girl. "It was a horrifying sight seeing this little girl in her own excrement, not able to hold up her head, white as a sheet," he says. (It's the second grisly find in France in the last week.)