Neglect Case Parents Allegedly Hid Daughter for Nine Years

Police in the eastern German state of Brandenburg are investigating whether a local couple kept their mentally handicapped daughter out of school and away from any social contact for nine years.

Police in the town of Lübbenow in the eastern German state of Brandenburg say they are investigating whether two parents cut their daughter off from the outside world for nine years.

Police launched a child-neglect investigation after neighbors complained to local authorities that the family's 13-year-old daughter hadn't been seen since they moved to the town roughly nine years ago.

After looking into the matter on July 15, local police took the child and her two siblings into temporary protective custody, officials stated Wednesday.

Jürgen Schiermeyer, the senior public prosecutor for the area told the German news agency DPA that the child was physically and mentally disabled. Schiermeyer added that investigators were looking into the parents' actions and that criminal charges were possible. He also said that the girl had never attended school and was not allowed to have any social contact.

Schiermeyer said he believed the parents were guilty of neglecting the child and thereby endangering her health. He added, however, that there was no evidence that the child had been physically abused, locked up or kept behind close doors, though it is still unclear whether the girl had been allowed to leave the house.

The local youth welfare office has temporarily placed the child in the hospital for examination. State educational authorities are also investigating why the child did not attend school and, more importantly, why her absence failed to attract the attention of local officials.

dsl -- with wire reports
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