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Argentine teen who spent nine years locked in garage rescued

Costa Rica,Immigration/Law/Rights, Thu, 17 Apr 2014 IANS

Buenos Aires, April 17 (IANS/EFE) A 15-year-old girl was rescued Wednesday after spending nine years locked in a garage, being fed only brewer's yeast, bread and water, and bearing signs of physical violence, Argentine police said.

The teen, who police said had only a dog and a monkey for companionship in her prison, weighed just 20 kg and suffered from medical underdevelopment due to the lack of food and education.

The girl was rushed to a Buenos Aires hospital, while her guardians were taken into custody by the judge in charge of the case, Maria Gabriela Lanz.

The judge accused the guardians of "subjugation to slavery and servitude, illegal privation of freedom and serious injuries," since the girl was found with signs of having been beaten with a belt, treatment that investigators believe she was subjected to if she tried to "eat the leftovers" of the animals' food.

The couple had taken the girl into "provisional guardianship" in 2001, after a court found that her biological parents were in no condition to care for her, since they already had seven other children and were in precarious economic circumstances.

However, the two families lost contact in 2005 and apparently nobody interested themselves in checking up on the girl until one of her sisters, who recently turned 18, alerted the judicial authorities after discovering the situation in which her sibling was living.

The girl told police that she had only been able to leave the garage twice during the nine years she spent without any contact with the outside world.

--IANS/EFE

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