Kidnapped French girl found alive in car boot in Germany

16th November 2012, Comments 0 comments

A 15-year-old girl whose disappearance from her home in southern France sparked a nationwide hunt was found alive Friday in the boot of a car in Germany, police sources said.

Chloe Rodriguez was discovered by German police near Offenburg, close to the French border, and the driver of the car has been held by police on suspicion of kidnap.

The 32-year-old driver, from the same region as the girl, has a string of convictions, including one for sexual assault, and was wanted for robbery in Germany, the sources said.

He was last released from prison in September and expected to appear at the probation office soon after but never did.

The girl was hospitalised but initial indications were that she had not been harmed physically, and prosecutor Robert Gelli said that there was no indication of sexual assault.

In a statement detailing the chain of events that led to Rodriguez's discovery, German police said they received a call Friday that a man had broken into a car to steal a laptop.

The caller was able to describe the man's fleeing car, which the officers then engaged in a car chase. After the man struck another vehicle, he continued his flight on foot, before officers caught up with him.

It is only after taking the man into custody following the accident -- which left the other driver with grave injuries -- that police found Rodriguez in the car boot.

"We are so lucky," the girl's mother, Violette, later said.

"There was a combination of circumstances: if we hadn't opened the boot, I would never have seen my daughter again. Life is just too beautiful."

The teenager had been missing since November 9. Her moped was found that evening in front of the family house in the village of Barjac in the Gard region with all her personal effects in it except her helmet and mobile phone.

French police have opened a kidnapping inquiry and are seeking the immediate extradition of the man from Germany.

© 2012 AFP

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