An emaciated 6-month-old baby girl is fighting for her life after being found in a cupboard where her mom left her to starve to death.
The child, named Katya was born in April and had been living off water and scraps of discarded food given by her elder brother, Russian media reported.
Krasnoturyinsk Live, the news outlet that revealed the horrifying incident, said the child’s mother Yulia ‘hoped that the baby would pass away from starvation.’
The mother is now in Police custody and a criminal case has been opened by the Russian Investigative Committee into ‘torturing’ the child, an offence that can lead to up to seven years in jail if convicted.
She is currently undergoing examination in a psychiatric clinic, said law enforcement.
The baby girl was reportedly found by a friend of the 37-year-old mother who ‘heard a muted cry’ during the 13th birthday party of Yulia’s son, who had been secretly feeding his little sister.
The mother had kept the birth of her third child secret, according to the report, and had put the baby girl in a duffle bag inside a wardrobe in an empty room in her flat.
Sverdlovsk regional police spokesman Valery Gorelykh said: ‘It is hard to believe in this horrendous story. But however difficult it is to say this, it is true.’
Officers ‘went to check out the flat after receiving information about this case,’ he said.
The girl was airlifted 270 miles by helicopter to a hospital in the regional capital Yekaterinburg where she is now in intensive care.
‘They found the starving baby and organised her urgent transportation to hospital where doctors are fighting for her life.’
The child was suffering from severe malnutrition.
‘She wanted to kill the baby but in the end didn’t have enough heart for it,’ alleged a source familiar with the case.
‘She thought that perhaps the baby would die from starvation. She was found by accident.
‘The mother was having a birthday drink with a friend, who asked why one of the rooms in her flat was always shut.’ Yulia said it was used for storage.
‘A young woman who was there for the party heard a very weak, muted cry, and asked the mother about it. I think it’s just a doll there, it just cries by itself’, the mother answered.
‘One of the friends who went for a cigarette in the middle of the party decided to check that room after hearing the cry. She opened the wardrobe, looked in the bag and found the baby.’
A family friend: ‘People who know Yulia struggle to believe that she did it.
‘Her son knew about the baby, but as I understand it she threatened him not to say a word about it.
‘The boy was feeding the baby from time to time.’
It was also reported that the child was born from an affair Yulia had with a married man, following a split with her husband.
The mother had not sought medical help before or after the birth, say police.