A DNA test has confirmed a Bulgarian Roma woman is the mother of a mystery girl known as Maria, found living with a couple in Greece, authorities in Bulgaria said.
The case of Maria has drawn global attention, playing on the possibility of children being stolen from their parents or sold by them.
[url=http://www.breakingnews.ie/world/roma-couple-charged-with-abducting-young-girl-610825.html]Child abduction charges were brought against the couple[url] with whom Maria was found living in a Roma settlement outside Farsala, central Greece, a week ago.
They have been jailed pending trial, and are also suspected of fraudulently obtaining birth certificates for 14 children.
Greek authorities are trying to work out whether the children all exist, or whether the alleged document fraud was part of a welfare scam – the couple allegedly received more than €2,500 a month in family benefits.
They insist they were looking after Maria with their own five children after an informally arranged adoption.
The Bulgarian woman has already been served with preliminary charges of child selling.
The Bulgarian woman, 35-year-old Sasha Ruseva, has said she gave birth to a baby girl four years ago in Greece while working as an olive picker, and gave the child away because she was too poor to care for her.
Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry announced the results of the test after matching the woman’s DNA with Maria’s.
The couple, Christos Salis, 39, and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, were held on charges of abduction and document fraud following their arrest last week.
Both denied the charges, claiming to have adopted the child while she was days old.