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A newborn indigenous baby girl in Brazil survived seven hours of being buried alive by her family, prosecutors said on Thursday, following her rescue.
A nurse alerted authorities on finding out that the girl had been buried shortly after her birth on Tuesday in the Xingu National Park in Mato Grosso state, which is home to many of Brazil’s tribal peoples.
Police released a video showing officers digging sand out of a shallow hole at night, then pulling out the naked baby, umbilical chord still attached.
The baby’s great-grandmother, a member of the Tamayura tribe, was detained, state prosecutor Paulo Roberto do Prado said.
“We are investigating whether it was an attempted infanticide or if she thought the baby was dead,” he told AFP.
Despite spending seven hours underground, “the information we have is that the child is doing well”, do Prado said.
The baby was brought to Cuiaba, the Mato Grosso state capital, on Wednesday and placed in a neonatal intensive care unit.
Investigators interviewed the family in the territory near the town of Canarana. An anthropologist, psychologist and representatives of Funai – the government body in charge of indigenous affairs – took part.
They wanted to clarify if there were “anthropological issues” in the case linked to indigenous customs, do Prado said.
The family told police the baby fell on its head after her mother gave birth in the bathroom. However, the authorities suspected a cover-up.
“Since the father refuses to recognise the child and the mother is only 15, there are suspicions that they had tried to kill the newborn,” state police said.