Immobilized with fear, a 4-year-old British girl huddled for eight hours beneath the legs of her slain mother in a car filled with corpses on a remote road in the French Alps — while investigators stood nearby, unaware she was there.
Thursday's discovery of the girl, apparently unharmed, heightened the drama surrounding a mysterious shooting rampage that left four adults dead and a 7-year-old girl hospitalized with bullet wounds and skull fractures.
Prosecutor Eric Maillaud on Thursday described the slayings, in a wooded area near the eastern village of Chevaline, as an act of "gross savagery" and said the scene found by officers was "well beyond television fiction."
The motive remains unclear.
All the bodies were found in or near a BMW that prosecutors say belonged to a British family vacationing at a campground on the shores of Lake Annecy, a popular retreat in the French Alps.
The owners of the campground told investigators the victims included two parents and a grandmother.
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