After six days of intense searches by maritime police, the body of the three-year-old child drowned with her younger sister in the sea off Caxias, on the outskirts of Lisbon, was found on Sunday morning.
Little Samira had been missing since last Monday night, after her mother Sónia Lima took her and her younger sister Viviane to their deaths in what was first widely publicised as a situation where “authorities had failed” a family in conflict.
But reporting soon turned, with the official line now that Lima “premeditated the crime”.
A statement from the Public Ministry has condemned the mother’s actions as being of “special censurability and perversity” bearing in mind that the children’s “fragility and vulnerability due to their tender ages” made it impossible for them to defend themselves.
Lima is remanded in preventive custody on two counts of qualified murder – which in Portugal carries a maximum jail term of 25 years.
Ironically, Samira’s body was recovered on the day of the funeral of her 19-month-old sister Viviane.
According to newspapers, the children’s mother has “confessed the crime” to a family member, but blames the children’s father with whom she was locked in a bitter custody battle.