A three-year-old girl who was allegedly stabbed by her own mother was still alive when she was thrown in a river, investigators say.
The lifeless body of Manuella Minuto Aguiar was found by a passerby on Barreto Beach in the coastal city of Macae in the Brazilian state of Rio de Janeiro on November 28.
It was believed the girl's mother Karine da Silve Minuto, 25, had stabbed her daughter to death, with the woman's father saying she had been behaving strangely for a number of days.
However, the autopsy has now concluded young Manuella died of drowning, leading police to believe she was still alive when she was stabbed and thrown into the Macae River.
The Macae River meets the sea at Barreto Beach, with her body travelling downstream until coming to rest on the sand. The shocked bystander who spotted her body called the fire brigade.
The fire brigade had also received a call from the victim's grandfather, who had gone to his daughter's house on the morning of the incident, only to find no one at home.
He then found her riding her bike alone when he was returning to his own home. When he asked her where his granddaughter was, she allegedly replied: "Manuella is in heaven."
The mother reportedly shared custody of the girl with her ex-husband, the girl's father. She allegedly confessed her crime to the police, but otherwise remained silent during questioning.
The little girl's father had only returned her to her mother on the morning of the day she died, according to local media.
The mother was arrested by the police on the day of the alleged crime and remains in custody as the investigation continues.
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