Five policemen have been suspended from post in the death of a 3-year-old girl who was locked in her home alone for two weeks after her mother was detained, a police official said Wednesday.
Li Siyi's drug-addicted mother was picked up on theft charges on June 4 in the southwestern city of Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and sent to a compulsory treatment center, said a police spokesman.
Police failed to find the girl and didn't act on a promise to her mother to arrange for a relative to care for her, the spokesman said. The girl was found dead on June 21.
"We think the girl may have died of hunger or thirst," he said. "Officers responsible have been punished for their negligence."
A newspaper said police refused the woman's request to return home and arrange for her daughter's care before going to the treatment center.
Neighbors apparently couldn't hear the child's cries because the room where she was found locked in was deep inside the house.
Prosecutors are looking into whether four other officers also should be punished, Li said.
(eastday.com June 26, 2003)