Emaciated baby found stashed in wardrobe by cruel mum who ‘hoped she’d starve’

A badly emaciated baby is fighting for her life after being found inside her mother's wardrobe.

The child named Katya – born in April – was living off water and random scraps of food given by her elder brother, say reports in Russia.

The girl from Karpinsk was airlifted 270 miles by helicopter to hospital in regional capital Yekaterinburg where she is now in intensive care.

Her mother named Yulia "hoped that the baby would pass away from starvation", reported online news outlet Krasnoturyinsk Live.

The mother has been detained and a criminal case opened by the Russian Investigative Committee into "torturing" the child, an offence punishable by up to seven years in jail.

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The child was found during a birthday party by a friend of the 37-year-old mother who "heard a muted cry".

The mother kept the birth of her third child secret, according to the report. She put the baby girl in a duffle sport bag inside a wardrobe in an empty room in her flat.

Sverdlovsk regional police spokesman Valery Gorelykh said: "It is hard to believe in this horrendous story, but however difficult it is to say this, it is true."

Officers "went to check out the flat after receiving information about this case," he said.

"They found the starving baby and organised her urgent transportation to hospital where doctors are fighting for her life."

The baby was heard by a friend attending the 13th birthday party for Yulia's son, who had secretly fed the child.

"She wanted to kill the baby but in the end didn't have enough heart for it," alleged a source familiar with the case.

"She thought that perhaps the baby would die from starvation.

"She was found by accident. The mother was having a birthday drink with a friend, who asked why one of the rooms in her flat was always shut."

Yulia said it was used for storage, but her friend wasn't convinced.

"A young woman who was there for the party heard a very weak, muted cry, and asked the mother about it. 'I think it's just a doll there, it just cries by itself', the mother answered.

"One of friends who went for a cigarette in the middle of the party decided to check that room after hearing the cry. She opened the wardrobe, looked in the bag and found the baby."

A family friend said: "People who know Yulia struggle to believe that she did it.

"Her son knew about the baby, but as I understand it she threatened him not to say a word about it. The boy was feeding the baby from time to time."

The child was born from an affair the mother had with a married man, following a split with her husband, it was reported.

The mother had not sought medical help before or after the birth, say police. No baby food or clothes were found in the flat, nor was there a cot for the infant.

The mother was detained and is undergoing examination in a psychiatric clinic, said law enforcement.

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