Autopsy: girl smothered in bed, found 9 days later

TOLUCA, Mexico—Federal investigators say a little girl whose body was found in her bed nine days after her parents launched a wide-scale search smothered accidentally and was there the whole time police and family were hunting for her.The improbable finding, announced Friday, came after an autopsy and interviews with dozens of experts, said Mexico state Attorney General Alberto Bazbaz.

“The records and experts agree that the death of this child was an accident,” he said. “Having not found a bit of evidence to the contrary, we are closing the investigation without pursuing criminal charges.”

Bazbaz said the girl, who had speech and motor disabilities, had moved to the foot of her bed, where she smothered.

“The position the child was in when she was found was the same as the position she was in when she died,” he said. “That is, the original and final position are the same.”

Four-year-old Paulette Gebara’s parents reported her missing on March 22, launching a vast media campaign and citywide search, including billboard advertisements and televised pleas—from Paulette’s bedroom—for help.

Sympathizers were shocked when police found Paulette’s body wedged between the mattress and frame of her own bed in a luxury apartment on the outskirts of Mexico City. Investigators said she was suffocated.

Police initially detained her parents and two nannies, but released them without charge after several days of questioning.

In the days following the discovery of the body, Paulette’s mother, Lizette Farah, a lawyer, said she last saw her daughter when she tucked her into bed on the night of March 21. She said when Paulette’s nanny went to wake her the next morning, she was gone.

Her father, Mauricio Gebara, refused to defend his wife’s innocence when asked about it in an interview with local Televisa network, saying the only thing he knew is that it wasn’t an accident.

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