Nine year-old Zhenya Melnikova left her music lessons at aMoscow art school at 4 pm on Monday. When 5 hours later she wasstill not home her parents reported her missing to the police.Officers joined by volunteers searched for the girl untilmidnight when she was eventually found at a railway station.The girl told police she got on a shuttle bus afterschool. For some reason, which is not yet clear, thegirl didn’t have with her the 40 roubles (US$1.30) her motherusually gave her to pay the fare, nor a mobile phone. DespiteZhenya’s young age and the freezing cold outside, the driverallegedly ordered the child to get off.She had to walk for 7 hours to reach a railway station where shewas spotted by a security guard, who called the police.Russia’s Investigative Committee promptly opened a criminal caseagainst the driver.“We will by all means find the scoundrel and will hold himliable for leaving a child in danger according to article 125 ofthe Russian Criminal Code,” said the Committee’s SpokesmanVladimir Markin in his twitter @VladimirMarkin.Life News reports the driver has been detained, and also citesan unknown source saying the driver put the child off the bus neara traffic police office, but the child might have been too shy togo there and ask for help.The police is not yet commenting on the situation saying theyare still checking the information.It’s not the first case of its kind in Russia. In December 2012in the Siberian city of Barnaul a disabled man spent twelve hoursin -40 C (-40F). He lost his fingers and died three months laterfrom a blood clot. A policeman who refused to help the man is nowfacing five years behind bars.In October 2011 a schoolboy in Nizhny Novgorod was put off a busbecause he didn’t have his bus pass with him. The boy died thatsame day on his way home after being hit by a train.In January 2013, in Kirov another 9-year-old was taken off abus. The boy did have money to pay the bus fare, but refused to payfor the heavy school bag he had with him. It was -25 C (-13 F)outside and the child fell seriously ill. The conductor who orderedthe boy off the bus faced “beating” charges.A week after that, an 11-year-old in Bratsk was forced off a busafter he was mistakenly accused of using a fake bus pass.
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