Parents of girl in 1987 death charged with murder in France

The grave of an unidentified girl found dead in a ditch along the A10 freeway close to the city of Blois in August 1987 is pictured in Suevres, France, Thursday, June 14, 2018. A French prosecutor has said that the parents of a girl found dead three decades ago have been handed preliminary murder charges, in a cold case resurrected by DNA testing. (AP Photo)

PARIS — The parents of a 4-year-old girl found dead three decades ago have been handed preliminary charges for her murder, in a cold case resurrected by DNA testing, a French prosecutor said Thursday.

The then-unidentified girl's body was found in a ditch along the A10 freeway close to the city of Blois in central France in August 1987.

The girl, whose mutilated body had marks of long-term abuse, was known in France as the "little martyr of the A10." Her photo was circulated to authorities in 30 countries around the world.

Blois prosecutor Frederic Chevallier said that a breakthrough has been possible in the case that baffled authorities for years "because of the evolution of science and DNA."

The parents, who are both in their 60s, were identified and tracked by chance through their son's DNA, which was tested in an unrelated 2016 case and matched him as the dead girl's brother, Chevallier said.

The parents were arrested by French authorities on Tuesday.

"Inass Touloub has at last a name," Chevallier said.

The girl was born in July 1983 in Casablanca, Morocco, and was the third of seven children, Chevallier said.

The father said he was "relieved" that he had been arrested that "he was scared of his wife and lived under her domination," Chevallier said.

The mother gave an erratic account to authorities, claiming at one point that the girl was still alive, Chevallier added.

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