A teenage girl, allegedly kidnapped and raped by a stranger in Romania, desperately called emergency services for help three times, but local police didn't respond for 19 hours.
By the time they did, it was too late for 15-year-old Alexandra Macesanu who is now presumed dead, news.com.au reported.
The shocking case has seen a 65-year-old mechanic charged over the murder of Alexandra and another girl, the resignation of Romania's police chief and thousands of people storming the streets condemning the police force over their lack of action.
The teen had been hitchhiking from the Romanian town of Caracal to her home in Dobrosloveni, last Wednesday, when she was allegedly abducted by Gheorghe Dinca.
Police allege Dinca took Alexandra to his home, where he sexually assaulted her over a 24-hour period.
Before her death, Alexandra managed to call Romania's national emergency hotline, 112, three times, on Thursday morning.
She shouted down the phone that she had been raped and begged for police to save her.
During one of the phone calls, Alexandra was heard yelling, "he's coming, he's coming!" before the call was disconnected, AP reports.
But despite her calls and repeated pleas for protection, it would take Romanian police another 19 hours to instigate a search for the teenager.
Police believe Alexandra was killed shortly after she placed the third call for help.
SEARCH WARRANTS AND STAFFING ISSUES
Police claim they struggled to locate Alexandra's calls due to outdated technology, insufficient staff and delays in obtaining a search warrant for Dinca's property.
More than 12 hours after Alexandra placed her final call, police obtained a search warrant, but waited until dawn to enter Dinca's house.
In Romania, search warrants are not required in emergency situations.
But by the time investigators stormed the property burnt remains and jewellery were found.
They have yet to formally identify the remains as Alexandra, The Metro states.
Dinca was arrested on Saturday and he has since confessed to the teen's murder, as well as the murder of 18-year-old Luiza Melencu — who disappeared while hitchhiking home in April.
The murder has sparked widespread outrage in Romania, with thousands of people flooding the streets outside of the interior ministry in Bucharest, on Saturday, to protest the extraordinary length of time it took police to search for Alexandra.
Crowds walked the streets, yelling "assassins" and "incompetence" as they lit candles and placed flowers on the ground in memory of the two murdered girls.
Other protesters shouted "police kill" and "believe us!", and some even placed tape over their mouths.
Romania's President, Klaus Iohannis, issued a public statement on television the following evening, condemning the police over the bungled case.
"Romanian institutions failed in their duty to protect the fundamental right to life," Mr Iohannis said.
"Those responsible will have to face harsh punishment. Sentences, however harsh, do not bring back lost lives."
The President said it was up to the government to prevent similar tragedies from happening again.
Romania's interior minister, Nicolae Moga, announced that "drastic measures are required" to respond to the public's outrage, which is why he had fired the country's police chief, Ioan Buda.