TERRASSON-LAVILLEDIEU, France - Europe was horrified this week by the story of an under-fed and dehydrated little girl being kept by her mother in a Peugeot station-wagon's boot, possibly since birth.The girl, aged between 15 and 23 months, was found by mechanics on October 25 when her mother took the car to a garage in Terrasson-Lavilledieu, central France. A mechanic heard "bizarre noises, like moans" coming from the 307 and the garage owner, Denis Latour, opened the luggage bay to discover the girl naked, lying in her own excrement, and dehydrated and feverish.Watch videoShe was taken to hospital in the town known as "the God city' where doctors said she was suffering from delayed growth and mental problems.'DEFIES BELIEF'The girl "was hidden, it seems since birth, and more seriously, she is suffering from significant (developmental) delays", local prosecutor Jean-Pierre Laffite told AFP. "The situation defies belief," he said.The girl's mother, aged 45 and reportedly called Rose Marie, and her 40-year-old partner were arrested and charged on Sunday with child abuse and endangering a minor. They could go to jail for 10 years.The mother told police she had the baby in secret and hid its existence from everybody, including her partner, the girl's father, in the pretty riverside town.The couple have three other children - a four-year-old girl and two boys aged nine and 10 - who were handed over to social services following their parents' arrest.The mechanic who found the girl, Guillaume Iguacel, told AFP he was still reeling from the discovery. "I'm still having trouble sleeping, it was a horrifying sight, seeing this little girl in her own excrement, not able to hold up her head, white as a sheet," he said.STRANGE BEHAVIOURIguacel said the girl's mother appeared to have little concern for her daughter. "We were deeply shocked because she didn't find this abnormal. We told her to remove the little girl (from the boot) and give her something to drink right away."The couple, of Portuguese origin and unemployed, lived in the village of Brignac, about 10km from the garage at which the baby was found. Neighbours told French news media the mother had been behaving strangely and spent an unusual amount of time in the car.A neighbour, named only as Pascale, told Le Parisien newspaper: "We had the impression this woman lived in her car. She never left it. I remember seeing her several times a week with her car parked about 200m from her home."The boot was always open... I wondered what she could be doing."More reports, images and videos of the baby-in-the-boot story.