Could Maria be Danish?
The search is on to find the parents of little Maria, the young girl who was found by the authorities in a Roma camp near Athens, Greece last week. Some of the leads are coming from Denmark.
Since the Greek children’s organisation, Smile of the Child, began looking for the little girl’s parents last Thursday, it has been flooded with inquiries from around Europe, including Denmark.
As of yesterday, the organisation had received around ten enquiries from Denmark and the head of international communications for Smile of the Child, Panaghiotis Partalis, said that the girl could hail from Scandinavia, citing her Nordic features.
“We have received information from Denmark from some people who believe that they know the girl, although they didn’t say that they were the parents. I can’t say more at this time,” Partalis told Politiken newspaper.
Danes in the mix
Partalis said that the information had been passed on to the authorities, but that it was confidential so he could not convey who the Danes were.
Thora, a Danish sister organisation of Smile of the Child and a member of the same European organisation, Missing Children Europe, confirmed that Danes have made enquiries about the little girl, who the Roma couple says is four years old. Recent medical and dental tests indicate, however, that she is likely a year or two older.
“We have not received the inquiries ourselves, but we have been told that Danes have contacted the Greek organisation because they think they know the girl,” Bodil Dichow, the head of Thora, told Politiken.
Danish police have no leads
But the Danish police said that that was no evidence that pointed to Maria coming from Danish lineage after obtaining DNA and a photo of the little girl from Interpol Athens yesterday.
“We haven’t found anything and we have no information concerning missing children in Denmark that fit this profile,” Maja Plesner, a spokesperson for national police organisation Rigspolitiet, told DR Nyheder.
Interpol has registered around 40 cases in Europe involving the disappearance of girls under the age of six, but none match Maria.
Charged with kidnapping
The Roma couple who were detained with Maria have denied any guilt in the matter. They contend that they were given the girl as a baby by a Bulgarian mother who didn’t want her.
The 40-year-old woman and 39-year-old man were in court yesterday to face abduction charges. A DNA test has confirmed that they are not Maria’s parents.
The couple’s lawyer maintains that they adopted the child, although they admit it was not through normal legal channels.
Stood out in Roma camp
Maria was found during a police raid on a Roma camp north of Athens that was aimed at finding drugs and weapons.
The police became suspicious because the very light-skinned, blue-eyed, blonde-haired girl stood out and looked nothing like the couple who said they were her parents.
Maria, who is said to be healthy and is being cared for by Smile of the Child, can reportedly only speak a few words in Greek and the Roma dialect.