Suspects in abduction, murder of 7-year-old Mexican girl detained

Mexico City (AFP) - Mexican authorities arrested a couple believed to have kidnapped, tortured and murdered a seven year-old girl on Wednesday, days after the discovery of the victim's body sparked protests in the violence-wracked country.

The suspects "were detained in a town in the State of Mexico," Mexico City mayor Claudia Sheinbaum tweeted, without giving more detail.

The girl had been reported missing on February 11 after she left school, and her tortured body was found in the capital on Saturday.

Video footage released earlier appeared to show the girl being held by the hand of another woman and walking in the street on the day she disappeared.

Prosecutors on Tuesday released pictures of the two suspects -- identified as Giovana and Mario Alberto "N" -- after searching a house near the victim's home.

During the search investigators found "identification, photographs, clothing and other personal objects" that linked the two suspects to the child's disappearance, said Ulises Lara, spokesman for the Mexico City prosecutor's office.

The suspects face between 80 and 140 years in prison given the gravity of the crime, Lara added.

Protests demanding an end to violence against women have been staged around the capital in recent days -- including at the victim's school, her funeral and outside the presidential residence.

Mexico recorded more than 1,000 femicide victims in 2019, according to official figures, although experts believe the true figure may be much higher due to difficulties in registering murders as femicide.