The body of a missing five-year-old girl has been found in a wooden box filled with cement that her mother was using as a bedside table.
Officers discovered Milagros Nazareth Martin’s body in the Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires after her concerned father contacted them because he had not seen her for months.
The girl’s mother, Vanesa Mansilla, has reportedly been charged with “culpable homicide”.
She is said to have first told the father that she had placed the child in the care of social services because of the poor living conditions in her home.
When police turned up to search her house, she reportedly admitted her daughter had died but that she did not know what to do and was “scared”.
Fearing her other two children, aged three and seven, would be taken from her, she is said to have placed the body in a bag, which was put into a box that was filled with cement taken from a nearby building site.
“She used the box with the body inside as a bedside table in her bedroom,” an investigator told Telam, a local news agency.
A post mortem examination concluded that Milagros had died from a respiratory infection due to pre-existing illnesses, which required her to have a tracheostomy and a nasogastric tube.
A judicial spokesperson said: “So far there is no record of previous complaints of gender violence.”
An investigator told Telam that the mother had first admitted her daughter had died to her relatives.
“She said that everything happened one afternoon after bathing her children,” the investigator said.
“She went to take a nap and when she woke up she went to see the girl, and she had already died. She said that she had a runny nose and drool in her mouth.”
The emergency search was reportedly ordered after those relatives informed the authorities.
Milagros’s two brothers have reportedly been placed in the care of their grandmother.