Bulgaria questions ‘parents’ of Maria
SOFIA - Agence France-Presse
A poster of Maria is seen in the office of the ‘Smile of the Child’ charity which is taking care of the child as police search for her biological parents. REUTERS photoBulgarian police are questioning a Roma couple who might be the biological parents of Maria, a mysterious blonde girl found in a Greek Roma camp, media reported Oct.24.
According to the reports, the couple, named as Sasha Ruseva and Atanas Rusev, have between eight and 10 children, five of whom are blonde and even closely resemble the girl found last week.
One of the children, Jesus, was cited in the BGNES news agency as saying that the family had been in Greece and had left Maria there when they returned to Bulgaria. The mother had also reportedly told one of their neighbors that she had sold the child for 500 leva (250 euros), and that she had recognized Maria when her discovery made global headlines this week. Public BNT television and BNR radio said the couple came from the central Bulgarian town of Nikolaevo. Earlier, Greek news portal zougla.gr said Sasha Ruseva gave birth to a girl thought to be Maria in Jan. 31, 2009 in the central town of Lamia.
However, dental checks on Maria indicate an age of five or six, according to the Athens-based charity entrusted with her care. Lamia Mayor George Kotronias told the portal that Ruseva unsuccessfully tried to register her daughter by falsely claiming she was unmarried, and that her application had been rejected. Greek police have sought global help via Interpol to help identify the blonde girl whose discovery in a Roma camp near Farsala has sparked worldwide concern and interest in other child disappearance cases.
The Greek Roma couple, a 39-year-old man and his 40-year-old wife, who were detained for allegedly abducting her had denied the charges, saying that she was voluntarily handed over by her Bulgarian Roma mother who could not care for her.