A six-year-old girl who went missing after heading out to buy a lollipop has been found dead in an old fire well.
Nastya Brihunets, from the village of Verkhnechusovskie Gorodki, in the Chusovskoy Municipal District, in the Perm Krai region in western Russia, disappeared after she left her house to go and buy herself a lollipop on Friday, 12th August.
After her disappearance was reported, the police initiated а large-scale search, involving investigators, forensic specialists and over 50 locals.
One of the volunteers stated: “For as long as we’re alive – we have never had this. Children never disappeared. If only she could be found.”
The young girl’s body was discovered several days later, late on the evening of Sunday, 14th August, in a fire well full of water near where witnesses had last seen her.
A fire well is an opening in the ground or a pit where flames form as escaping natural gas burns.
A local named only as Agniya is quoted by local media as saying: “Verkhnechusovskie Gorodki is a quiet and calm place. We all know each other here. The girl could not have just fallen down like that.”
Another resident identified as Kristina stated: “They told me that Nastya went to the shop on Engels Street for a lollipop.”
However according to others, the six-year-old child never even reached the store.
A woman named Svetlana told Russian media: “We arrived at about 7.30pm from the ferry, there were no children at all on the streets of Engels and Sovetskaya.
“Maybe she didn’t make it to the store. The only thing that we saw were unfamiliar men next to us. My husband noticed them.
“They seemed suspicious. Definitely not locals. We need to consider all the clues.”
An autopsy is reportedly underway in order to determine the circumstances of the child’s death.
The police have also launched two criminal cases under the Criminal Code of the Russian Federation.
Police in the first case are reportedly investigating murder, while the second investigation will determine whether the girl’s cause of death was a result of “negligence”. This is as of Tuesday, 16th August.
The criminal case is being headed up by the Investigation Department of the Investigative Committee of the Russian Federation for the Perm Krai region.