A man in Canada has been placed under arrest for allegedly beating a 6-year-old girl, and then leaving her naked to die in the snow.
According to Global News, emergency services responded on Saturday at 4 p.m. to the Paul Band First Nation, a group of Aboriginal peoples in Alberta.
A spokesperson for the Shock Trauma Air Rescue Service (STARS) said that first responders found a 6-year-old girl suffering from “traumatic injuries related to blunt trauma.” She was taken to a hospital in Edmonton, where she was described in critical condition on Sunday.
Family members told Global News that the girl returned home from skating with friends, and then left the home with a relative. Family and friends assumed at the time that the girl had gone back to the skating rink.
But the 6 year old was later found lying in the snow, naked and unconscious. The family said that she was left for dead in the woods.
“The way he beat her, put her in a coma, and raped her. That shouldn’t happen to little children,” one family member explained to Global News. “This person that did that has got to be some kind of an animal, to not even think that he’s harming another human being.”
The girl was beaten so badly that she could not be recognized, a family member recalled.
“It’s so heartbreaking,” another relative lamented. “I can’t imagine… I mean, she’s just a little girl. And he’s a full grown man.”
Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) arrested a man, and an investigation was ongoing. The RCMP said that it was not releasing the suspect’s name to protect the identity of the victim.
In a statement, Paul First Nation asked the media for privacy.
“We trust the family’s wishes will be fully respected so they can focus all of their energy, attention and prayers on the victim’s immediate well-being and what we are all hoping and praying will be a speedy and full recovery,” the statement said.
Watch the video below from Global News, broadcast Dec. 21, 2014.