Greece riveted by mystery of 'blonde angel'

Sat Oct 19, 2013 11:08am EDT
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By Karolina Tagaris

ATHENS (Reuters) - Greek police have asked Interpol to help them track down the real parents of a blonde girl with green eyes who was found in a Roma camp in central Greece.

Known as Maria, the four-year-old was spotted peeking out from under a blanket at a Roma settlement near the town of Farsala during a police sweep on Wednesday for suspected drug trafficking.

She speaks just a few words in the Roma dialect and Greek, and police think she may be of northern or eastern European origin, possibly from Scandinavia or Bulgaria.

Police have sent Interpol a file with all the evidence they have on the girl, including DNA samples, to seek a possible match with its records on missing children, a police official said. They have also contacted international groups and charities that deal with lost or abducted children.

"Mystery - a blonde angel without an identity," top-selling daily Ta Nea wrote on its front page on Saturday.

Photos released by police of Maria staring blankly at the camera with muddy hands and scruffy pigtails have dominated the media. Parallels were drawn to the case of Briton Madeleine McCann, who vanished while on holiday in Portugal in 2007, when she was three years old.

DNA tests have shown the couple in the Roma camp with whom Maria was living were not her biological parents. The 40-year-old woman and 39-year-old man have been arrested and charged with abducting a minor, and police are investigating whether the girl was a victim of trafficking.


A four-year-old girl, found living with a Roma couple in central Greece, is seen in a handout photo distributed by the Greek police and obtained by Reuters October 18, 2013. REUTERS/Greek Police/Handout