Woman arrested for keeping her child in a car trunk for 2 years faces up to 20 years in jail

A woman from France who kept her baby hidden the filthy boot of her car for two years will serve jail time for her negligence. 

Rosa Maria Da Cruz, a mother-of-four from Portugal, kept her daughter Serena hidden away until she was nearly two. 

Read more on our Twitter account, @amomama_usa. Da Cruz's lawyer said she "had never accepted falling pregnant again" and her boyfriend wasn't even aware that she had another child.  

The baby was discovered by a mechanic five years ago when he heard a noise coming from the trunk. The baby was dehydrated and surrounded by maggots. 

Little Serena was also kept in an unused room at Da Cruz's family home in Correze, France; the court heard earlier this week. 

The trial lasted a week and Da Cruz and could face more than twenty years in jail. She will also be monitored by social workers and undergo psychiatric treatment. 

THE CASE CAUSED CONTROVERSY

Serena, now seven years old, is in foster care and has from severe mental impairments, including irreversible autism.

Specialists said she developed these conditions due to the sensory deprivation she experienced during the first few months of her life. 

She asked her daughter's forgiveness during the trail, saying: 

"I realize I hurt her a lot and that I will never again see my little girl." 

SHE WAS KNOWN AS A GOOD MOTHER

Her partner. Alves said he had no idea why she did what she did, as she had always been a "good mother" to their children, who were 14 and 15 years old. 

The doctor on the case also confirmed this, saying "you could see she had been a good mother, and we could not understand why Serena had not received the same quality of care at home."

Her legal team told the court that Da Cruz "was in denial of her pregnancy" and argued that a suffering woman could not be jailed. 

However, Judge Gilles Fonrouge said Da Cruz's action deprived Serena of adequate care and food, as well as contact with the outside world and childhood stimulation.

A similar case made headlines five years ago when a French couple was arrested for keeping their baby in the boot of their vehicle. 

The child, estimated t be between 15 and 23 months old – had a fever and was found in her own excrement. 

The couple was charged with neglect, and their other children were taken into protective foster care. Read the full account here. 

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