Maria Camila Plazas was allegedly killed by convicted rapist, Jonathan Francisco Garcia Tapias (Picture: Newsflash)
A 10-year-old girl was stabbed to death by a convicted rapist freed from prison just two days earlier, it is alleged.
Maria Camila Plazas is said to have begged for mercy as she died trying to fight off her killer.
A suspect, named as Jonathan Francisco Garcia Tapias, 27, is alleged to have stabbed her four times.
The horror attack happened after Garcia Tapias broke into the family home in Pitalito, Colombia on Friday, with the intention of sexually abusing the schoolgirl, prosecutors say.
Her grandmother, Luz Marina Valderrama Luna, 67, was also wounded trying to stop Garcia Tapias.
Neighbours rushed the pair to San Antonio Hospital in Huila, south-western Colombia, but Maria died from multiple injuries.
Her grandmother is in a serious condition, according to reports.
The family pet dog also died trying to protect Maria during the ordeal, according to Colombian publication, Semana.
Maria’s cousin, Natalia Luna, said: ‘They took an angel, they took an innocent life.’
And her mother, who was not named, said: ‘She had many dreams, she wanted to do many things in life.
‘She wanted to be a police officer to catch thieves, she wanted to be a teacher, she wanted to help animals.
‘She was my only daughter.’
Garcia Tapias fled the scene but was later found by police and remanded in custody.
He had been released from prison on January 25 although the circumstances are unclear.
Maria Camila Plazas was described as an ‘angel’ by her heartbroken cousin (Picture: Newsflash)
Huila Police chief, Colonel Gustavo Adolfo Camargo said: ‘We managed to capture the alleged perpetrator, who a few days ago had been released from jail where he was serving a sentence for rape.
‘Thanks to the swift reaction from the police, the alleged murderer was located under a bridge where he was trying to hide to avoid his imminent capture.’
Colonel Camargo vowed police would do ‘everything necessary so that the full weight of the law falls on him’.
The Prosecutor’s Office in Colombia has now charged Garcia Tapias aggravated homicide, attempted aggravated homicide and aggravated animal abuse.
He was found in possession of a knife and had blood stains on his clothing, it is alleged.
‘The defendant did not accept the charges and received a measure of confinement in prison,’ the Prosecutor’s Office added.
An investigation is ongoing into the circumstances of the incident.
Locals took part in a march of solidarity on Saturday to show their support for Maria’s family.
Her funeral is due to take place on Monday.
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‘They took an angel, they took an innocent life,’ the 10-year-old’s heartbroken cousin said.