updated 12/29/2006 6:04:56 PM ET 2006-12-29T23:04:56

A 19-year-old woman spent three days trapped in the elevator of her suburban Paris apartment building after leaving home to buy a loaf of bread, judicial officials said Friday.

The woman, identified only as Safiatou, disappeared Dec. 19 when she left the Courtille housing project, east of Paris, to go to a local bakery. An elevator repairman discovered the mentally handicapped woman, shivering and dehydrated, on Dec. 22.

According to an official close to the investigation, Safiatou’s father had contacted the building concierge Dec. 19 to say his daughter could be stuck in the elevator. The emergency alarm was never triggered, and the concierge and a repairman heard no sounds from the shaft, judicial officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity because an investigation is ongoing.

The technician began repair work on the elevator, which was stuck between floors, the following day. On Dec. 22, the repairman returned to complete the job and heard a soft cry.

He discovered Safiatou, who suffers from psychological problems and has the mental capacity of a 5 year-old, officials said.

On Wednesday, Safiatou’s father, who had advised police of his daughter’s disappearance, filed a complaint for non-assistance to a person in danger — a crime in France. Investigators must determine whether the elevator’s alarm system was working properly and whether the elevator had been properly maintained.

Several elevators in the housing project had recently been renovated but not the one in question, according to French media reports.

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