Bulgarian police find suspected mother in Greek 'Maria' case

Thu Oct 24, 2013 1:42pm EDT
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By Angel Krasimirov

NIKOLAEVO, Bulgaria (Reuters) - Bulgarian police have identified a couple they suspect are the natural parents of a blonde girl found in a Roma camp in Greece, and prosecutors are investigating the woman for selling her child, officials said on Thursday.

Last week's discovery of four-year-old Maria sparked a global search for her real parents after DNA tests showed the Roma couple she was with were not her blood relatives.

Bulgarian police questioned Sashka Ruseva, 38 and her husband, Atanas Rusev, 36, on Thursday in the southern town of Nikolaevo. The couple are also Roma.

"The prosecutors' office has opened a pre-trial investigation against S.R. for agreeing to sell her child on an undisclosed date in 2009 in Greece," the regional prosecutor's office in the southern town of Kazanlak said in a statement.

"The probe is opened following checks linked to the female child with the name Maria in Greece," it said.

Ruseva told reporters she had given birth to a girl in Greece in 2009 and had left her there as her family needed to go back to Bulgaria and had no means to support the child.

"I do not know whether she is mine or not. We had a child. We left it in Greece as I had nothing to feed her," she said. "I did not take any money."

Prosecutors said they would check Ruseva's travel movements and carry out DNA tests to establish whether she was indeed the biological mother of Maria.   Continued...

The children of Roma woman Sasha Ruseva, 38, (not pictured) rest inside their home in Nikolaevo, southern Bulgaria October 24, 2013. REUTERS/Stringer