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Police: Girl unable to speak after abuse

May 27, 2009 at 12:17 PM

CHITA, Russia, May 27 (UPI) -- A 5-year-old girl in Russia never learned to speak as a result of being kept inside for years by family members, police allege.

Police in the Russian city of Chita said the girl, whose identity was not reported, is capable of only making noises like an animal as a result of allegedly being trapped in a room for years alone with several cats and dogs, RIA Novosti said Wednesday.

"For almost five years, the girl was brought up by several cats and dogs, and never went outside," the Chita police department alleged in a report on its Web site.

A tip led police to the Chita apartment where the girl lived with a number of her relatives, including her father.

Police alleged the family members were living without running water, heat and gas services. The girl was allegedly found malnourished and wearing unwashed clothing.

RIA Novosti said the girl's family members, whose identities were not reported, are targets of a criminal case and could face up to three years in prison. The girl was taken for medical treatment following her discovery.

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