Tainan authorities yesterday launched an investigation into the death of a one-year-old girl, who was allegedly beaten to death by her 17-year-old mother and three relatives.
The girl was allegedly beaten on Tuesday over a cup of spilled milk, local Chinese-language media reported.
She was taken to a hospital later that night, but doctors found that the girl had been dead for a few hours, reports said.
The girl’s body was covered in old and fresh bruises, suggesting that she had been previously abused, the doctors said.
Tainan police brought in the four suspects for questioning, during which they admitted to beating the girl on Tuesday, police said.
The suspects reportedly admitted to routinely doling out physical punishment to the baby to silence her, because she frequently cried.
Word of the child’s death quickly spread on social media and a crowd gathered outside the police precinct where the suspects were being held.
Several people tried to assault the suspects as they were being escorted out of the precinct for further questioning at the Tainan District Prosecutors’ Office.
A coroner’s examination found that the girl had internal bleeding in her brain and signs of other internal trauma in her body.
Tainan prosecutor Yeh Ching-tsai (葉清財) said that he almost could not bear to watch the coroner’s examination, as the girl’s body was covered in red and purple bruises.
“It was very painful for me to follow the examination. I broke down and cried. I will do my job properly to investigate the case in detail and bring justice for the child,” he said.
Prosecutors last night said that they would charge the suspects with murder, and asked a local court not to grant bail and place them under detention.
“We all feel sorry about this tragic incident and I have requested that all city departments be proactive when dealing with such cases. We shall have zero tolerance for child abuse in Tainan,” Tainan Mayor Huang Wei-che (黃偉哲) said.
“I have asked all police units, social welfare agencies and schools to have plans in place, to be aware of child abuse, and to report and deal with such cases early on,” Huang said.
“I also urge everyone in society to take a stand on this issue... It is better to watch and listen to your surroundings for such incidents, and immediately alert the police and social workers, so that the abused children can be quickly saved from violence,” Huang added.
Police said that they conducted a search at the mother’s home and found rattan sticks, a plastic water hose and other plastic tools, which they suspected were used to beat the girl.
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