Greek police arrest second Roma couple suspected of child abduction

Blonde Angel, Maria, Roma
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.
Credit: Getty Images

A second Roma couple has been arrested in Greece on suspicion of abducting a child, just a week after the discovery of a girl dubbed the “blonde angel” made headlines around the world.

Police said on Wednesday the man and woman, both in their 20s, had been charged with child abduction and were expected to respond to the allegations later in the week. The two-month-old baby was found living with them on the island of Lesvos.

“The initial evidence strongly indicates that they are not the parents of the baby,” police said adding one other person had been arrested as part of the same case.

A police official said the couple tried to get a birth certificate for the baby only with a signed statement, as is possible in Greece, instead of producing hospital records, which made municipal employees suspicious.

The Supreme Court has ordered prosecutors across the country to be alert for any discrepancies in birth certificates going back six years after blonde, blue-eyed Maria was found during a raid on a Roma camp in central Greece last week.

Her discovery has raised questions about whether there is a wider child abduction ring – and also lifted the lid on a bumbling bureaucracy and patchy system of controls that allowed the girl to slip through the cracks.

Police say there is evidence the couple used false IDs to register Maria as their own, saying she was born at home.

DNA tests have shown they are not her biological parents. The 40-year-old woman and 39-year-old man, who say the girl was given to them by her mother who could not look after her, have been charged with abducting a minor and detained pending trial.

The case led to thousands to calls to police from people around the world trying to identify her or search for their own missing children.

At the request of the Greek authorities, Interpol has issued a so-called “yellow notice” with the picture of the girl and has urged its 190 member countries to test her DNA profile against their own national database. So far, no match has been found.

“Interpol will make its DNA Gateway available to any member country whose law enforcement agency has been provided with the profile of someone claiming to be a blood relative of the unknown child,” the agency said in a statement.”

The Greek charity Smile of the Child has been looking after Maria since she was found by police last week.

“She is much better. Day after day, she is adapting to the new environment,” charity head Costas Giannopoulos said.

In a parallel case in Ireland, police took a 7-year-old blonde girl living with a Roma family into care on Monday after suspicions she was not a blood relative, a senior police source said.

 



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
Local

Astoria minivan crash kills 1, injures 6: NYPD

Anthony Boyd, 45, died soon after what investigators believe was some sort of medical emergency as he drove his family through Astoria on Sunday afternoon.

Local

NYC pension funds valued at $160b: Scott Stringer

The five NYC pension funds that thousands of city employees contribute to saw its fifth year in a row of increased returns, up $23 billion from last year.

Local

Man dies trapped in elevator shaft at Bronx…

A man in his twenties died after being trapped in an elevator shaft of a Bronx building early Monday, police said.

International

Sierra Leone Ebola patient, recovered from family, dies…

An Ebola patient whose family sparked a nationwide hunt when they forcefully removed her from a treatment center and took her to a traditional healer has died.

Music

Newport Folk Festival: Photo gallery of 35 moments…

As has been the tradition since Bob Dylan plugged in a bajillion years ago, the Newport Folk Festival embraces more musical genres than its name implies.

Music

MKTO: Behind the bromance

MKTO's Malcolm Kelley and Tony Oller talk about the American Dream tour, Demi Lovato and getting turned down by girls.

Arts

James Earl Jones and Rose Byrne head to…

Two-time Tony winner James Earl Jones returns to the New York stage next month as an eccentric grandfather in a revival of the 1930s comedy…

Movies

Box office: Scarlett Johansson wins battle of brains…

Scarlett Johansson's "Lucy" handily dispatched with Dwayne Johnson's "Hercules" over the weekend.

MLB

Yankees looking to trade for Josh Willingham: Report

CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reported Sunday the Yankees are interested in Twins outfielder Josh Willingham.

MLB

Joe Torre: I'm in Hall of Fame because…

Joe Torre spent 18 years putting together a near Hall of Fame career as a player. But it was the 12 years he spent as…

MLB

Yankees GM Brian Cashman breaks down art of…

The action frequently accelerates as the non-waiver trade deadline approaches, as it will on Thursday.

Auto racing

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Jeff Gordon captures fifth title at Brickyard 400

Tech

Amazon offers 3D printing to customize earrings, bobble…

By Deepa SeetharamanSAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc will offer 3D printing services that allow customers to customize and build earrings, bobble head toys and…

Wellbeing

This Week In Health: Friends share similar DNA,…

Friends share similar DNA, study finds Location: U.S. Study subjects: Nearly 2,000 people Results: When it comes to our social networks, it seems that birds of…

Education

Are liberal arts colleges turning away from the…

Bryn Mawr College, a small women's college located just outside of Philadelphia, announced last week that it would be making standardized tests like the SAT…

Education

Recent grads discover school superintendent plagiarized parts of…

  Two recent high school graduates made a surprising discovery about the commencement speech their school superintendent delivered at their graduation: portions of it was copied…