- Special Features
Blogs & Columns
- Fun & Games
The mystery behind the blonde girl known as Maria found in a Greek Roma camp last week is one step closer to being solved, as officials have identified her parents. It turns out that she really is Roma, authorities said Friday.
Bulgarian officials said that, after DNA testing, it has been found that Sasha Ruseva and Atanas Rusev are her parents, according to The BBC. The girl was found with Christos Salis and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, who she bore no resemblance to. They have been charged with child abduction, but have said she was given to them legally.
Maria was living with them near Farsala in central Greece. The Smile of the Child charity in Athens is caring for her.
The Associated Press reports that Ruseva, 35, said the baby was born four years ago in Greece, where she was working as a olive picker. She was too poor to take care of her and decided to give her away.
The BBC notes that Ruseva appeared on Bulgarian TV this week from the Roma district in Nikolaevo. She was seen carrying a child with red hair as she explained why she had to give Maria away at the time. When questioned by police, she claimed to recognize Salis and Dimopoulou as the couple she gave the baby to.
Prosecutors have charged Ruseva with “deliberately selling a child while residing out of the country.” According to Reuters, Ruseva denies selling Maria.
Bulgarian Interior Ministry Chief Commissioner Svetlozar Lazarov would not say if the government is going to push to have Maria brought back to Bulgaria. Diana Kaneva, the head of the agency for social assistance, said, “At a later stage, we will take measures to protect the child and perhaps she will be placed in a foster family.”