Father's responsibility questioned as 8-year-old girl abused to death

By Dinh Van, Quoc Thang   December 29, 2021 | 01:24 am PT
Father's responsibility questioned as 8-year-old girl abused to death
People gather at a vigil for a deceased 8-year-old girl in HCMC, who died after suffering abuse from her father's fiancee, December 27, 2021. Photo by VnExpress/Dinh Van
The mother of an 8-year-old girl in HCMC, who died after suffering from abuse by her father's fiancée, has requested an investigation into her ex-husband's role in their daughter's death.

Nguyen Thi Hanh, 36, the mother of the girl, on Tuesday has requested her brother Nguyen Quang Vinh to work with police of Binh Thanh District regarding the case.

Previously, the police had arrested 26-year-old Nguyen Vo Quynh Trang, fiancée of the girl's father, to be investigated for abuse.

Vinh has requested the police to look further into the case, saying an abuse charge for Trang would not be "appropriate" for what she did to his niece. The father would also need to be investigated into as the girl had already been beaten multiple times in the past, hence the scars on her body.

Vinh said the family lost their mind upon learning of the girl’s death via the police on December 23. Neighbors living next to the girl’s apartment in Binh Thanh District said they had notice signs of abuse for extended durations.

"Along with forensic results, which showed that my niece had multiple wounds in the past, there was no way her father did not know about them," Vinh said.

According to the police, the father said he knew Trang often used rods and sticks to beat his daughter, but did not "react strongly" to protect her.

Denied visits

"Since the day her daughter died, my sister has been in shock," said Vinh. Hanh had divorced her husband a year ago and raised their younger son, while her ex raised their elder daughter. She was supposed to have visitation rights, but has not been able to see her daughter since the divorce because the ex-husband forbade so, cutting all the ties she has with her daughter.

Vinh said Hanh had tried to come to the apartment complex multiple times to see her daughter, but was unable to due to the building’s tight security. She couldn't even see the girl at school.

Hanh had tried to request help from mutual friends to ask her ex to let her see her daughter, but was always denied. As such, she has absolutely no news about the girl, until the day she heard her daughter had died.

"Before all of this happened, my sister had already filed a request to the court for the right to take care of and raise her daughter," said Vinh.

Le Thi Tich, 73, said Hanh’s family had hired her to take care of the little girl since she was born. When the divorce happened, the father took Trang to live with them. Tich said she had received phone calls from Hanh multiple times, saying she wished to see her daughter and asked Tich to take her down to the complex’s first floor to be able to see her. But the father prevented her from doing so, going so far as installing surveillance cameras to make sure it doesn’t happen.

A few months after that, Tich was fired from her job.

Ceaseless abuse

The investigation has revealed that during her time living with her fiancé and the little girl, Trang had beaten the girl frequently and forced her to do chores. She used to beat her with rods, and when the rods broke, she switched to wooden bars.

For months, families living next to the apartment said they often heard sounds of the girl crying and being beaten. During the Covid-19 lockdown period in HCMC, the sounds happened even more frequently, occurring day and night. Some reported the matter to the building’s management board, but the beatings continued.

One day, a neighbor heard the sound of Trang shouting in the apartment: "Maybe she stopped breathing!"

Security guards were soon dispatched to take the girl to hospital, but it was too late.

Speaking with the police, Trang said that on December 22 she cooked a meal for the girl and taught her lessons. As the girl did not study well, she used wooden bars to beat her.

About half an hour later, the girl said she was tired and started vomiting. Trang called the girl's father to come home. When the father returned, the girl’s skin went blue, so he lifted her into the bathroom and tried to get pieces of food out of her nose. Her breathing then weakened, an ambulance was called and the girl was taken to the hospital.

But doctors announced that she had died on the way.

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