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Nine-year-old girl found seriously injured in gully

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Nine-year-old girl found seriously injured in gully
Photo: DPA
16:24 CEST+02:00
Police in the town of Velbert, North Rhine-Westphalia have found a critically injured nine-year-old girl in a gully after she was reported missing by her parents on Monday night.

Her parents contacted police when she failed to arrive home on time after a homework help session, despite having a journey home of only 100 metres.

Police then began a full search effort for the girl in the Neviges area of the town. The authorities said that helicopters with heat-sensitive cameras were deployed to survey the area between 11 pm and midnight. Finding nothing initially, the Federal Agency for Technical Relief (THW) joined on the search, along with a team of sniffer dogs.

The ten dogs and trainers began looking for the girl around 1 am on Tuesday morning, tracing her journey home from the former elementary school to her parents' flat in the town centre, before turning to the forest area nearby.

According to the police, search officials decided the area around the school should be searched more thoroughly, and at 1:19 am one of the sniffer dogs, named Christo, and his handler Birgit Oschmann went behind the sports hall. Here, the dog seemed particularly interested in a gully.

It was there that the young girl was found, seriously injured. She was immediately rushed to hospital.

“We thought we were working on a murder case. If we hadn't found her, she should have been dead,” a spokesperson for the public prosecutors office told media.

Police have refrained from releasing several details of the crime due to the ongoing investigation. Police are currently appealing for any witnesses who were in the area on Monday evening.

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