A woman has succeeded for two years in keeping her youngest daughter hidden from the outside world. Even her husband and three children, between 6 and 12 years old, have no knowledge about it. “I became entangled in my lies,” says Rosa Cruz. Her baby was discovered in a suitcase by a car mechanic when the woman had her car repaired.
Today in France the assisting process starts with the mother of the “trunk baby”, as it sounds in French media. The child was discovered in 2013 by a car mechanic. “She is white like plaster and has rolling eyes,” he says. Serena was then almost 2 years old, but she could not even keep her head straight. She was surrounded by excrement. She lay in a basket in the trunk of a car brought in by a customer.
The owners of the car were arrested. It was a Portuguese woman, Rosa Cruz, and her husband, who worked as a bricklayer. The couple lived in a house in Brignac-la-Plaine and had three other children. According to the investigators, the attitude of the woman immediately intrigued. “She is not panicking, even relaxed. As if the discovery of the baby is a liberation for her”.
Both parents were taken into custody, but the man denied that he knew about the girl’s existence. The pregnancy, the delivery, (…) he did not know anything about it. Because he does not drive the car, he never came into the garage of their house. He did not know that there was a child in the suitcase. “There is no proof that the man knew about it”, it explains in the investigation.
How that was possible, the woman explained at the end of 2013 in an interview with TF1. “Everyone in the house was asleep,” she says about the delivery. “I gave birth to my daughter and cut the umbilical cord. I took her in my arms for a moment, but then I hid her. A little later I prepared my children to go to school. I pretended nothing had happened. For me it was a child that should not have been born.”
“I did not tell anyone about it at the first day”, she continues. “Neither the second day, nor the third…” And so, it went on. “I got so caught up in my own network of lies, and I could not talk about it to anyone.” She gave her daughter something to eat, and she says that she occasionally spent time at night with her.
In the interview, Cruz says that the term ‘suitcase baby’ is not correct. “I hid him at home, in a room where no one came because it was not finished yet. Anyone who entered the room would have discovered the child. Only when I left the house, I put her in the suitcase.” The child was then hidden between the laundry. And nobody heard the baby? “No, Serena never cried, she did not make any noise.” However, during those two years there was a regular visit in the family, but no one ever heard the child.
Mama Rosa Cruz is now 50 years old and rises to 20 years in prison. Serena, who is almost 7 years old, is heavily autistic. Presumably there is a causal connection with the confinement at the beginning of her life. The girl lives in a host family. “She walks, she runs in nature, she likes to cycle a lot, but she cannot bear to be locked up,” one of the girl told AFP. “But she does not talk. She makes noises.”