WARNING: The details in this story may be disturbing to some readers.
EDMONTON – An RCMP criminal investigation is underway and an arrest has been made after a child was found seriously assaulted Saturday afternoon, west of Edmonton in Parkland County.
Emergency services, including STARS Air Ambulance, Parkland Fire Rescue and RCMP, responded to the Paul Band First Nation after 4 p.m.
A spokesperson with STARS said a six-year-old girl with ‘traumatic injuries related to blunt trauma’ was airlifted to an Edmonton hospital in critical condition. On Sunday RCMP said the child remained in critical, but stable condition.
Global News spoke with several members of the child’s family who claim she was severely beaten and raped.
They claim on Saturday afternoon the child returned home after skating with friends, where she was left alone with a relative. When the others came back to the house the two were gone.
Initially everyone thought they had gone to the rink again. But when they never returned, suspicions grew. Family members said a short while later the child was found naked and 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,” said one relative.
“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,” they added.
A family member claims the child was beaten in the head and throat beyond recognition. They said she is in a coma at the Stollery Children’s Hospital.
“It’s so heartbreaking,” said another relative. “I can’t imagine… I mean, she’s just a little girl. And he’s a full grown man.”
Both Spruce Grove/Stony Plain RCMP and the Edmonton Major Crimes Unit are investigating the serious assault. Police have not confirmed the family’s details.
On Sunday police tape could be seen surrounding a home on the reserve. RCMP said the names of the people involved in the crime will not be released to protect the identity of the young child.
Paul Band First Nation is located about 35 kilometres southwest of Stony Plain, near Wabamun Lake. The band released a statement on behalf of the family Sunday afternoon, asking 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 release said.
The full statement can be read below.
With files from Eric Szeto.
© Shaw Media, 2014