Story By: Feza Uzay, Sub-Editor: Marija Stojkoska, Agency: Newsflash
A three-year-old girl whose lifeless body was found after a 10-day-long search is suspected of having been murdered by her grandfather, who has turned out to be her biological father.
Muslume Yagal, the sixth of seventh children, had travelled with her family to the neighbourhood of Yanisli in the district of Gulnar in the south-eastern Turkish province of Mersin to spend the winter.
The young girl disappeared at around 5pm on 10th November, having last been seen playing close to where the family had set up a tent.
Police, fire brigade, search and rescue, and health teams were dispatched to the area to search for the missing girl.
On the search’s tenth day, Muslume’s dead body was found among bushes in the area of Karaagac, some seven kilometres (4.3 miles) from the tent her family had set up.
Her body was taken to the Gulnar State Hospital, and it was subsequently transferred to the Mersin University Medical Faculty Forensic Medicine Unit to undergo an autopsy.
Following the autopsy, her body was buried in her hometown of Karaman in the south-central province of the same name.
On the day the victim’s body was found, the police arrested nine of her family members, including her mother Selvi Yagal, her father Mehmet Yagal, her grandfather Hasan Yagal, and her grandmothers, siblings and aunt, whose names were not divulged.
The suspects spent three nights in custody and were transferred to the courthouse on 22nd November.
Hasan Yagal was charged with “deliberate killing of a descendant”, while the other family members were released without charge.
The investigation took another shocking turn when the forensic pathologists revealed that the grandfather was, in fact, the victim’s biological father.
According to the Forensic Medicine Unit, a DNA sample taken by the pathologists was found to be incompatible with Mehmet Yagal, but was instead compatible with Hasan Yagal. The results are so far preliminary, and the final report is pending.
A trace of saliva on the victim’s neck matched with Hasan Yagal, who protested his innocence, saying: “She is my granddaughter. I probably just kissed her.”
Muslume’s lower body was found naked, and investigators believe she may have been sexually assaulted.
Selvi Yagal told the police that her father-in-law, Hasan Yagal, had raped her and that Muslume’s 14-year-old sister was also his child.
A DNA sample taken from the unnamed child reportedly matched with a DNA sample taken from Hasan Yagal.
Selvi Yagal said: “My husband didn’t know anything. He (Hasan Yagal) frightened us, we couldn’t say anything.”
The Ministry of Family and Social Services has announced that the siblings have been taken into care and that the mother has been taken to a women’s shelter after the shocking allegations came to light.
Hasan Yagal is being held in solitary confinement under heavy security measures as the investigation continues.