DNA confirms Bulgarian Roma couple as mystery girl Maria's parents
SOFIA - Agence France-Presse
Handout photo released by Greek Police on Oct. 18 shows then unidentified 4-year-old blonde girl (later named Maria) whom was found on Oct. 17 near Farsala in central Greece during a nationwide crackdown on illegal activities by Roma. AFP photoDNA tests confirmed Oct. 25 a Bulgarian Roma couple as the biological parents of Maria, a mystery blond girl whose discovery in a Greek Roma camp last week made global headlines.
"DNA samples showed that Sasha Ruseva is the biological mother and Atanas Rusev is the biological father of the child called Maria," Bulgaria's interior ministry chief of staff Svetlozar Lazarov told reporters.
The girl, nicknamed "blonde angel" and aged somewhere between four and six, was found living with a Greek Roma couple in a camp near the town of Farsala. DNA tests showed that the 39-year-old man and 40-year-old woman taking care of her were not her real parents.
The couple were accused of abducting the girl, amid an international effort to find here real parents that gave hopes to hundreds of missing children parents across the world.
The two denied the accusations, saying that the little girl was voluntarily handed over to them by her Bulgarian Roma mother who could not care for her.
Following reports in the Greek media pointing to the identity of the mother, Bulgarian police tracked down on Thursday a Bulgarian Roma couple from the central town of Nikolaevo, and questioned them on the Maria case.
The woman, Sasha Ruseva, 35, told police that she had given birth to a baby girl while working in Greece several years ago and left it there when it was seven months old, the interior ministry said.
Ruseva has said she was not completely certain that Maria was her child but that she resembled some of her other nine children - also blond, fair-skinned and light-eyed.
The woman said she was ready to take Maria back if DNA tests confirmed that she was her real mother.