, CHEVALINE, France Sep 6 – A four-year-old girl miraculously survived a shooting in the French Alps that left four people dead by curling up under the bullet-riddled corpses of her mother and grandmother, officials said on Thursday.
The little girl spent eight hours concealed on the back seat of her family’s car following a mysterious and brutal gun attack which also left her elder sister seriously injured.
Her father, who was found dead in the driver’s seat, was identified Thursday as Saad al-Hilli, a 50-year-old born in Baghdad but resident in Claygate, Surrey in the southeast of England.
The fourth man who died is believed to be a local who happened to be cycling past the scene of the crime.
The shooting took place in a tree-lined car park on the edge of the picturesque village of Chevaline
The girl’s elder sister, who was found shot next to the car, was in a serious but stable condition in hospital after being flown by helicopter to the nearby city of Grenoble where she was visited Thursday by a British consular official.
Eric Maillaud, the prosecutor in charge of the investigation, said the four-year-old had emerged unscathed.
“She stayed, curled up under the bodies for eight hours and didn’t move in all that time,” he said.
The first police to arrive on the scene did not spot the girl and, with the car being left untouched and the area sealed off pending the arrival of forensic experts, she was left to endure a traumatic ordeal until she was finally discovered around midnight.
“It was only once we had access to the scene of the crime that we found her,” Maillaud said. “The little girl spoke English. She heard noises, shouts but she can’t tell us any more than that. She is only four years old.