This is a crazy story that I just noticed this morning. It's good to see that both little girls survived despite the circumstances:
Girl, 4, spent eight hours in car filled with corpses after mystery shootings in France - World News
By NBC News staff and wire reports
Immobilized with fear, a 4-year-old British girl huddled for eight hours beneath the legs of her slain mother in a car filled with corpses on a remote road in the French Alps — while investigators stood nearby, unaware she was there.
Thursday's discovery of the girl, apparently unharmed, heightened the drama surrounding a mysterious shooting rampage that left four adults dead and a 7-year-old girl hospitalized with bullet wounds and skull fractures.
Prosecutor Eric Maillaud on Thursday described the slayings, in a wooded area near the eastern village of Chevaline, as an act of "gross savagery" and said the scene found by officers was "well beyond television fiction."
The motive remains unclear.
All the bodies were found in or near a BMW that prosecutors say belonged to a British family vacationing at a campground on the shores of Lake Annecy, a popular retreat in the French Alps. The owners of the campground told investigators the victims included two parents and a grandmother.
French authorities struggled to explain why the 4-year-old wasn't discovered earlier and was left for hours alone in the back seat of the car.
Police arrived Wednesday to find a man's body in the front seat and two women in the back, and another dead man near a bicycle with no known ties to the other victims nearby. That fourth victim was a French cyclist who apparently stumbled across the grisly scene, police said.
Investigators identified the driver of the car as Saad al-Hilli, 50, a British citizen from Surrey, England, who was born in Baghdad, according to the Sipa news agency. Police in Surrey, a largely suburban county southwest of London, said they are talking with French authorities about the case.
The 7-year-old girl was discovered near the car with bullet wounds and skull fractures and was hospitalized. She will undergo surgery and her life is not in danger, Maillaud said Thursday.
ITV News said the al-Hilli’s passport matched the identity of the man who booked into a nearby campsite with his family. The eldest woman has a Swedish passport.
See full coverage of this story at ITV News
NBC News reported that al-Hilli worked as an engineer in aeronautics.
Maillaud refused to confirm the al-Hilli’s identity. The names of the children and other victims were also not released, and their relationships to each other remain unclear.
4 slain in French Alps; girl, possible witness, survives
A second cyclist who discovered all the bodies alerted authorities around 4 p.m. Wednesday; the car was under guard until midnight, when special investigators arrived from the Paris area and found the girl.
"We discovered a little 4-year-old girl that no one noticed earlier because she wasn't moving. Probably terrified, she was completely immobile among the bodies. She was later examined and she is doing OK," Maillaud said Wednesday night.
Maillaud said as soon as investigators opened the door, the girl emerged, smiled and reached out her arms; she spoke English but couldn't describe what had happened and was taken into police care.
"She is in a hospital but her life is not threatened despite going through a tragedy by losing her family in such atrocious conditions," he said.
Several rescue workers had all apparently peered inside the car.
"Firefighters, technicians, doctors looked inside the car through the windows but they didn't see the little girl. The child, terrorized, never moved. She stayed beneath her mother's legs," Lt. Col. Benoit Vinnemann said, according to BFM-TV.
The Frenchman found dead next to the car had no ties to the British family; he was identified only after his wife reported him missing.
"A woman was worried because her husband went to cycle in this area and didn't come back home," Maillaud said. "He was just cycling in that area and got killed along with this British family."
The French newspaper Le Dauphine identified the dead biker as Sylvain Mollier, a 40-year-old father of three on paternity leave from a job at a factory linked to nuclear manufacturer Areva.
About 15 bullet casings were found near the car, Maillaud said.
Police cordoned off the area, combing the forest for potential perpetrators in searches that continued Thursday.
Britain's Foreign Secretary William Hague said there had been a "terrible, tragic shooting in France," in a message posted to his personal Twitter account.
"Our thoughts are with the young girls who survived and the family," he wrote.
The Associated Press contributed to this report. ITV News is the U.K. partner of NBC News.