France: Mother Admits Missing Girl Is Dead

A French mother who issued a tearful appeal for her missing five-year-old daughter has admitted the girl is dead.

Cecile Bourgeon, 25, initially told investigators in May that she had fallen asleep in a park in Clermont-Ferrand in central France when Fiona vanished.

Police took Bourgeon and her partner, Berkane Maklouf, in for questioning on Tuesday in the southern city of Perpignan, where they now live.

Her lawyer, Gilles-Jean Portejoie, said Bourgeon has now told police her daughter is dead and her body has been buried close to Clermont-Ferrand.

Fiona had "died accidentally following punches that were not delivered by (her mother) personally", the lawyer said, adding that his client is expected to be questioned further.

Three people close to the couple have also been held for questioning at Clermont-Ferrand.

Bourgeon was six months pregnant when she reported Fiona missing.

She said the girl had been playing with her two-year-old sister when she vanished.

After Bourgeon launched the emotional appeal, support groups were set up on Facebook and marches organised.