The mother of a Russian ‘Mowgli’ girl rescued from a home piled high with filth told court she was raising her child ‘in good conditions’ and she left the apartment clean.
Worried doctors in Moscow say the five-year-old child called Lyubov cannot speak, has never seen fruit nor slept in a bed, and is terrified of water.
Her university-educated mother Irina Garashchenko, 47, has been remanded in custody for two months on suspicion of attempted murder.
She faces up to 15 years in jail if convicted, but claims someone staged a ‘provocation’ to mess up her apartment.
Irina Garashchenko, 47, the mother of a 5-year-old girl left alone in a Moscow apartment, charged with attempted murder, during a hearing at Moscow’s Savyolovsky District Court
According to doctors, the girl, pictured above with rescue workers and neighbours, ‘could not speak, only make sounds, and was not socialised’
After police rescued the child, the mother returned and was prevented from fleeing again by neighbours, say multiple reports
Garashchenko stands in the dock at the Moscow court as she spoke to reporters to protest her innocence
Speaking for the first time from behind the bars of a court cage she told reporters that Moscow investigators suspect her of ‘beating’ the child and risking her life by neglect.
On the state of her home – so bad that rescuers wore chemical protection equipment when they entered it – the mother insisted: ‘It cannot be true.’
She insisted she raised her daughter in ‘good conditions’ adding: ‘I do not know what happened in the flat.’
However she admitted: ‘The investigator told me allegedly I was driving my daughter towards suicide, that I was beating her.
‘But I’m her mum, I gave birth to her, to my first child, when I was 41. And for five and a half years I fed her, raised her. Of course I love her. I would never leave her.’
The horrific conditions in which Lyubov was found have deeply shocked Russians with Vladimir Putin’s children’s ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova personally visiting the girl in hospital to hug her.
The mother told Life news outlet: ‘So far I cannot understand what has happened in the flat and I want to find out by myself.
‘I was not let in and I’m not allowed to see my daughter. So I do not know what happened in the flat. I was detained nearby.’
She said she had been absent ‘a few hours’ but neighbours believe she had left the child home alone for some days.
The five-year-old ‘Mowgli girl’, Lyubov, who was rescued from a cockroach-infested flat in Moscow, Russia
The neglected child is comforted by the Kremlin’s children’s ombudsman Anna Kuznetsova
The young girl plays with Ms Kuznetsova after she is taken into hospital care at the weekend. When she was found, the young girl appeared to be living in a ‘den’ built of garbage
Lyubov’s incessant crying altered altered them and they called police.
‘I have raised this child for five-and-a-half years and do everything for her,’ she told NTV, denying any wrongdoing.
The mother has claimed to work for an energy company and in financial services.
‘I earn money, pay for everything, maintain her, feed her and so on. She was in a good condition…’
The girl did not go to nursery school ‘because I was educating her myself… She can communicate, she can speak. I worry like every mother. I want to see her, hug and kiss her.
A necklace was ingrown into her skin, pictured above, and the five year old girl may not have seen the outside world since she was a baby, say reports
‘She is my child. I want to see how she reacts to me. I will fight for my daughter.’
But neighbours say they had not seen the girl since she was a baby, when she was healthy.
There were claims the child was hidden from the world and had a necklace ingrowing into her neck – now removed by doctors.
Earlier the mother had an obsession with cleanliness, sweeping public areas in the block of flats, said neighbours.
‘She loved cleanliness, often washed the floor near her door and and the elevator,’ said one.
Chief doctor Ismail Osmanov who is caring for the girl said: ‘Unfortunately she does not speak. She pronounces only separate syllables.
‘At the same time, she has no physiological disorders. Such a developmental lag is due to the fact that no-one was engaged with the child.’
She can point to her eyes, nose and mouth, he said.
But she ‘unfamiliar with sleeping in a bed. She falls asleep on the chair, curled up, and only after that the doctors put her into a bed.’
While she tried to use a spoon and fork, she was ‘really afraid’ of water.
‘She had never seen fruit,’ he said. ‘When we offered her a mandarin, she looked at it for a long time, intently. Then she tried it and smiled with happiness.’
But he said: ‘She did not know what a shower is. We still have difficulties with hygienic procedures. She does not want to take a bath at all.
Garashchenko claimed she had left the apartment in good condition and that someone had staged a ‘provocation’ against her
Neighbours pass the terrified girl to doctors after finding her living in a cockroach-infested flat in Russia
The young girl’s mother was brought to court today and is under investigation for attempted murder
The girl’s mother is escorted by police into court today and is currently under investigation
Irina Garashchenko is taken away by police for interrogation after her five-year-old daughter was found to living up to her neck in foul-smelling rubbish
‘She is scared of electronic devices, too… We want to make an ECG, but for now she won’t have this.’
No other family members have asked about her, said the doctor.
Rescuers had to wear chemical protection equipment to enter the flat and save the half-naked girl, according to reports.
The mother was reported to have been absent for days, leaving her daughter ‘half starving and dehydrated’.
Chairman of the Russian Investigative Committee Alexander Bastrykin, a close friend of Vladimir Putin, has taken the distressing case under his ‘personal control’.
The girl’s mother is reported to have told investigators that she was a single parent and had left the child alone when she went to work.
Neighbours say they repeatedly called police because of concerns over the girl, but their pleas were ignored.
On Monday police were seen wearing chemical protection suits as they rescued the five-year-old who was living up to her neck in foul-smelling rubbish infested with cockroaches.
The neglected half-naked child was dehydrated and sickly after her mother had been ‘absent for days’ from her noxious Moscow flat.
Upon entering the flat, police officers found the state of the flat was so bad that they had to use chemical protection suits
Neighbours said that five years ago the mother brought home a baby but then said the child had gone to live with a grandmother. Her husband was deported to Ukraine. In fact the child was still in the flat, say reports
The half-starved girl, widely described by the Russian media as a ‘Mowgli’, made a den amid the piles of stinking garbage.
She was offered water and ‘drank two litres’. Investigators believe she has ‘pronounced signs of anorexia’, said reports.
A neighbour who entered the flat after summoning police due to the girl’s desperate crying said: ‘We almost fainted at the condition of the apartment and from the smell.
‘Police had to wear chemical protection.
‘A five-year-old girl was sitting on the windowsill in the kitchen in a hat, and T-shirt with no underwear.
‘She was crying. There was no food.
‘There were cockroaches everywhere.’
Neighbours said that five years ago the mother brought home a baby but then said the child had gone to live with a grandmother. Her husband was deported to Ukraine.
After police rescued the child, the mother returned and was prevented from fleeing again by neighbours, say multiple reports.
Neighbours said the woman was often ‘dressed well’ and claimed to have a professional job.