Sex attacker buries girl alive at rubbish dump

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The Independent US

An eight-year-old girl who had been sexually assaulted and buried under rocks in a rubbish bin was found alive by a policeman searching a Florida landfill site, authorities said today.

A teenager has been charged with attempted murder.

The girl had minor injuries and was taken to a hospital, they said. Hospital chiefs refused to comment on her condition.

Milagro Cunningham, 17, who had been staying at the house of the girl's godmother at Lake Worth, was charged with attempted murder, sexual battery on a child under 12, and false imprisonment of a victim under 13, police said. He was charged as an adult.

The girl was found about seven hours after she was reported missing, but authorities were still trying to determine how long she had been inside the rubbish bin. An alert had been issued early yesterday.

Police Sgt Mike Hall was scouring the landfill for the girl when he looked inside the bin and saw a yellow recycling container with a lid on it. When he opened the lid, he "saw a bunch of rocks, a foot and a hand", Sgt Dan Boland said.

Hall then yelled out to see if the child was alive, alerting other officers to the discovery. A police lieutenant saw the girl's finger move and officers began pulling rocks off her, Boland said.

"It certainly was a miracle that we found this girl alive," Boland said, adding that the girl was able to talk to authorities after she was removed from the container.

The girl had been staying overnight at her godmother's house when she disappeared, Boland said. Cunningham had lived there for about four months, but he was not related to the girl, police said.

Cunningham was questioned by police after the girl was reported missing and told them she may have been abducted by two men in an estate car, Boland said. Detectives reinterviewed him when the girl was found and the teenager eventually confessed, Boland said.