Mystery girl 'blonde angel' in Greek Roma camp abandoned by mother: Lawyers

Mystery girl 'blonde angel' in Greek Roma camp abandoned by mother: Lawyers

ATHENS - Agence France-Presse
Mystery girl blonde angel in Greek Roma camp abandoned by mother: Lawyers

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 Oct. 18. REUTERS photo

The mystery of a toddler "blonde angel" found living in Greece with a Roma couple took a new twist on Oct. 19 when the pair's lawyer said the girl's mother gave her up at birth.

The little girl, thought to be about four years old with blonde hair and green eyes, was found by police on Wednesday in a camp in the central town of Farsala.

DNA testing has shown the child is not related to the couple, who has been arrested. Speaking to AFP about the girl's biological mother, a lawyer for the Roma couple, Marietta Palavra, said: "We're talking about a woman who could not raise this child and who gave it to the couple in 2009 through a third party shortly after her birth."

"There has been no kidnapping, no robbery, no trafficking," added her colleague Konstantinos Katsavos, who also represents the 40-year-old woman and her husband, 39.

"They did not buy the child." The discovery of the girl gave hope to the parents of missing British girl Madeleine McCann that they will find her alive, their spokesman said earlier.

Greek police are looking to question the biological mother, who does not have Greek citizenship according to the couple's lawyers, to confirm the story. Police said they would seek assistance from Interpol to identify the girl in a Europe-wide search.

Lawyers hope that relatives of the girl will be found before the couple is questioned by a judge in the central city of Larissa on Oct. 21 morning and possibly charged for "abducting a minor."

Police said the couple had repeatedly changed their version of how the girl, who was undergoing medical exams at a hospital on Saturday, came to live with them.

Press reported the couple claimed they found the girl abandoned outside a supermarket, and then in another version said they had obtained the child from her Bulgarian mother.

But the couple's lawyer Katsavos said they had "not made an official deposition so far."

The girl, said to be about four years old, is expected to stay with The Smile of a Child charity after her discharge from hospital, Kostas Giannopoulos who heads the organisation told AFP.

"The girl is more at peace" than when police took her away from the camp, he said. "For the first time she is with people who care for her." The girl's discovery came days after a television programme was broadcast in Britain, Germany and the Netherlands about the case of Madeleine McCann.

Kate and Gerry McCann have been searching for their daughter since May 2007, when she vanished from their holiday apartment in Portugal's Praia da Luz resort while the couple were at dinner.

Madeleine was a few days shy of her fourth birthday at the time.

The McCanns launched a global campaign to find the daughter and this week issued a fresh appeal with the television programme.

After the show, British detectives said they had received more than 2,400 calls and emails, while the German and Dutch broadcasts sparked hundreds of similar responses.

Witnesses said the men, seen "lurking" around the apartment complex before her disappearance, were speaking German or Dutch.