A six-year-old girl from Nantou County died early last month after allegedly being caned and kicked down the stairs by one of her father’s co-workers.
The victim, surnamed Wu (吳), was rushed to a hospital by her separated parents on Feb. 8 after lapsing into unconsciousness.
She scored between three and four on the Glasgow coma scale (GCS) and died on Feb. 14, police said.
Prior to the tragedy, the girl had been living with her father, a labor dispatch company employee, in a company-owned dormitory in Nantou’s Caotun Township (草屯) since the second half of last year.
The girl’s father entrusted his daughter to his employer, surnamed Chuang (莊), and colleagues who resided in the same dormitory after he was dispatched to Greater Kaohsiung on Jan. 10 for a month’s work.
He received a telephone call from the company on Feb. 8 saying that his daughter had lapsed into a coma after she accidentally fell down the stairs in the dormitory.
He then notified his wife, who had separated from him and lived with the girl’s brother in Nantou, and they took their unconscious daughter to a nearby hospital.
While the company claimed that the girl’s death was the result of an accident, an autopsy found that she had suffered from ante-mortem acute intracranial hemorrhage and multiple bruises, both old and new.
The findings led prosecutor Chen Chen-yi (陳振義) to believe that the girl could have been tortured, particularly after doctors who treated the six-year-old also confirmed that her intracranial hemorrhage “was not caused by falls, but rather by blunt force trauma.”
However, Chuang, his live-in girlfriend, surnamed Tai (戴), an employee and a young man, surnamed Ku (古) all gave the same statement that the girl fell down the stairs by accident.
Investigators said they then looked into records of home visits by social workers to the girl, only to find that she had complained in October last year that people in the dormitory had beaten her and made her stand in the corner as punishment.
She also named a man, A-pin, whom she said would “poke her fingers with toothpicks.”
After looking through the company’s employee list, investigators said they found a man who went by the name Chiu Chien-pin (邱建彬) was actually a wanted theft suspect called Chiu Chien-pin (邱建斌), who fled the dormitory on Feb. 8.
The discovery led the four to retract their earlier statements on Monday and confess that Chiu had beaten the girl and kicked her down the stairs, warning them not to say anything, according to investigators.
Chiu was apprehended on Tuesday and is being detained on suspicion of murder.
He denies the abuse allegations.
As Chiu said that Chuang and other employees had also tortured the girl, investigators said they would look into his allegations.