A young girl, who authorities say was stricken with fear, was discovered hiding among the dead bodies of family members found in a van after a mysterious shooting occurred in eastern France, near the French Alps on Wednesday. Police have reported that her father, an Iraqi-born Briton named Saad al-Hilli, was also among the dead.
- (Photo: Reuters/Screenshot)
"This little girl is doing well. She was examined and has been hospitalized. Her life is not in danger, but she has experienced something awful," local prosecutor Eric Maillaud told reporters, according to CNN.
The young girl, reportedly around four years old, was found eight hours after a mysterious shooting occurred in which one French cyclist, two British women and one British man were killed.
According to CNN, the cyclist, Sylvain Moliet, had lived in the area for 20 years and was on paternity leave when he was shot.
Authorities did not discover the 4-year-old girl hiding in the van among the bodies for eight hours because she remained extremely still under the legs of one body as police waited for crime scene technicians to arrive to open the vehicle.
Another girl, seven years old, had been found wounded by the shooting outside the van several hours earlier and taken to the hospital.
BBC News is reporting that the three adults found inside the van in the mysterious shooting, which took place at the popular tourist destination Lake Annecy in the Haute-Savoie area of eastern France, were the mother, grandmother, and father of the two little girls found at the crime scene.
The family was reportedly staying at a nearby campsite when they were shot in their van.
French authorities have told multiple news outlets that they are still investigating the reason for the shooting, but they have confirmed that both young girls are of British decent.
"This is an ongoing investigation being carried out by the French police and we are unable to confirm any details about the incident," British police officials told the BBC News.
Additionally, the vehicle in which the girl was found was registered in Britain.