Seven-year-old Justīne's father and stepmother suspected of murder

On Wednesday, June 21, Rēzekne Court decided to keep the father and stepmother of seven-year-old Justīne Reinikova in custody, according to unofficial information obtained by Latvian Television.

As reported earlier, on Tuesday, June 20, State Police announced that Justīne Reinikova, who had been missing since May 5, had been found dead with obvious bodily harm. The girl's remains were found in the basement of an abandoned house in the village of Dubuļi, 60 kilometers from Rogovka where the family lived and the girl was last seen alive.

Two persons were detained on suspicion of murder. State Police confirmed that the two detained are the girl's father Vladimirs Reinikovs and her stepmother.

Detention is applied to prevent suspects from interfering with criminal proceedings by obstruction of justice.

In view of the interests of the investigation, the State Police are abstaining from more comments at the moment.

One of the unofficial versions of the motive was a dispute over child support. Justīne's biological mother had as if wanted to take the child with her abroad so that they could get bigger child support payments.

“It's too early to talk about the motive. There are reasonable grounds for us to believe that alcohol has been involved, but we cannot confirm it at this time. We have to wait for the expertise. We need to reconstruct the course of events,” said State Police chief Armands Ruks.

He didn't comment on whether the father and stepmother cooperated with police and testified. “An on-the-spot examination has been conducted. With one of the individuals. Where the remains were found,” Ruks said.

The place where the girl's body was found is around sixty kilometers from her place of residence. The killers acted deliberately.

“We have also found evidence in the investigation that the child's body has been purposefully hidden. Buried. Covered with boards. Place – abandoned slum house. Secluded, where there are no people. And there is no apparent connection between [the place and] the one who hid her,” Ruks said.

A version that the family might be to blame had been put forward by the police in the early days of the disappearance. But only now has it succeeded in producing evidence.

Ruks stressed that even the smallest suspicion of domestic violence should not be left unattended. But in this case, police haven't had signals that Justīne was in danger. Neighbors in Rogovka also confirmed this. It turns out that even though the family had lived here since the autumn, many hadn't even seen Justīne.

“We never saw that girl or heard of her. We were surprised she lived here. When it turned out she was missing, we were looking day and night, going after the description,” Rogovka resident Armands Gļauda said.

A forensic psychiatric expert examination has also been appointed for both detainees. 

Rīga Psychiatry and Narcology Center (RPNC)'s chief forensic psychiatry expert, Anita Apsīte, drew parallels with the social environment, education, and alcohol use.

"The lower and more unstable incomes, the more unstable the social situation or the environment, the lower the level of education, the more often criminal offenses are committed. Not just against children,” said Apsīte.


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