There’s an international search underway to identify the parents of a blonde girl found in the care of a couple on a Roma camp in Greece. DNA tests have proven that the 4 year old isn’t related to the pair. Also, the pair keeps changing their story, when questioned by authorities.
Police found the girl, who recognises the name Maria, during a raid on the camp, in Farsala, central Greece, on Wednesday. She has now been taken into the care of a Greek charity called The Smile Of The Child, which has put out a Europe-wide alert.
A statement from the charity said: “The features of the girl and the controversial claims of the persons who claimed to be the parents of the child led the authorities to collect a DNA sample test.
“The results of DNA testing proved that these people are not the biological parents of the child.
“The Smile of the Child in co-operation with national police authorities is taking all necessary steps to inform the competent actors at national and international level.
The director of The Smile Of The Child praised an observant prosecutor who went on the camp raid along with dozens of police. Costas Giannopoulos told Greece’s Skai TV: “She saw a little blonde head poking out from under the bedclothes. It struck her as odd, and that’s how it all started.”
And on Monday, police plan to release pictures of the couple whom had the little girl.
Another reason detectives suspect the case could be part of an international trafficking ring is that Greek police records show a related kidnapping case in 2009, the year Maria was born.
Apparently, the couple’s various excuses included that the girl was found in a blanket and that she was handed to them by strangers. They later claimed she had a foreign father.
Maria is described as: born around 2009, white, with blue eyes, long blonde hair, 100cm tall and weighing 17kg. The couple – a 39-year-old man and a 40-year-old woman – have been arrested and are now under investigation for abduction and falsifying identity and family certificates.
The woman is also said to have claimed to have given birth to six children within a space of less than 10 months.
Police say they also found drugs and unregistered firearms in other parts of the camp, which is about 170 miles (280km) north of Athens.
Officers are now working on the theory that, because of her appearance, Maria may be northern or eastern European. The Smile Of The Child director Costas Giannopoulos said Maria was being examined by doctors.
The case, which some people have likened to the Madeleine McCann disappearance, has raised concerns about how easy it appeared to be for people to get official documents for children who are not their own.
A spokesman for Madeleine’s family said: “This gives Kate and Gerry great hope that Madeleine could be found alive.”