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Mystery girl in Roma camp was abandoned by mother, says arrested couple

A lawyer for the couple said that the child was not kidnapped or trafficked – but police said they repeatedly changed their story about the girl.

A photo of the girl released by a charity working to find her parents
A photo of the girl released by a charity working to find her parents
Image: AP Photo/The Smile of the Child

THE MYSTERY OF a toddler “blonde angel” found living in Greece with a Roma couple took a new twist when the pair’s lawyer said the girl’s mother gave her up at birth.

The little girl, thought to be about four years old with blonde hair and green eyes, was found by police on Wednesday in a camp in the central town of Farsala.

DNA testing has shown the child is not related to the couple, who have been arrested.

Speaking about the girl’s biological mother, a lawyer for the Roma couple, Marietta Palavra, said:

We’re talking about a woman who could not raise this child and who gave it to the couple in 2009 through a third party shortly after her birth.

“There has been no kidnapping, no robbery, no trafficking,” added her colleague Konstantinos Katsavos, who also represents the 40-year-old woman and her husband, 39.

They did not buy the child.

The discovery of the girl gave hope to the parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann that they will find her alive, their spokesman said earlier.

Changed their story

Greek police are looking to question the biological mother, who does not have Greek citizenship according to the couple’s lawyers, to confirm the story.

Police said they would seek assistance from Interpol to identify the girl in a Europe-wide search.

image

(AP Photo/The Smile of the Child)

Lawyers hope that relatives of the girl will be found before the couple is questioned by a judge in the central city of Larissa on Monday morning and possibly charged for “abducting a minor”.

Police said the couple had repeatedly changed their version of how the girl, who underwent medical exams at a hospital yesterday, came to live with them.

Press reported the couple claimed they found the girl abandoned outside a supermarket, and then in another version said they had obtained the child from her Bulgarian mother.

But the couple’s lawyer Katsavos said they had “not made an official deposition so far”.

The girl, said to be about four years old, is expected to stay with The Smile of a Child charity after her discharge from hospital, Kostas Giannopoulos who heads the organisation told AFP.

“The girl is more at peace” than when police took her away from the camp, he said. “For the first time she is with people who care for her.”

- © AFP, 2013

Read: Discovery of girl in Greek Roma camp gives hope to missing boy’s family >

Read: Greek police try to identify mystery girl found in Roma camp >

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