Hunt for body of 'missing' 5-year-old French girl after parents' confession
PERPIGNAN, FRANCE (AFP) - French police on Thursday launched a search for the body of a five-year-old girl missing since May after her mother and stepfather finally admitted that she died at home.
Cecile Bourgeon issued a tearful appeal for her daughter Fiona in May. The 25-year-old elicited nationwide sympathy with her tale of how, pregnant at the time, she had fallen asleep on a park bench and had woken to find her little girl was gone.
Bourgeon and her partner, Berkane Maklouf, both admitted on Wednesday that that account was a total fabrication, but gave contradictory accounts of how Fiona died. A judicial source said Bourgeon cracked under intensive questioning and told police that Fiona died as a result of being hit repeatedly by her boyfriend after a heavy drinking session, and that her body was buried on the fringes of a forest.
Maklouf, described by acquaintances as a heroin addict, claimed the child died after choking on her own vomit, and that the couple panicked when they found her dead body in the morning.