Maria mystery: Tests confirm Bulgarian Roma couple are her parents

Mother claimed she gave birth to a girl while working in Greece but could not afford to take her back to Bulgaria

DNA tests have confirmed that the child known as Maria is the daughter of Bulgarian Roma couple Sasha Ruseva and Atanas Rusev, Bulgarian officials have announced.

The discovery of a blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl living with a Roma family in Greece last week sparked an international investigation after DNA tests proved the girl was not biologically related to a couple who initially claimed to be her parents.

Speaking to Bulgarian TV yesterday, Ruseva said that she gave birth to a girl while working in Greece but that she had to leave the child because she didn't have enough money to take her home at seven months of age.

“I intended to go back and take my child home, but meanwhile I gave birth to two more kids so I was not able to go back,” Ruseva said, insisting that she did not get paid for giving up the girl.

Ruseva was tracked down to a Roma settlement in Nikolaevo, Bulgaria by Greek website zougla.gr who published Ms Ruseva's identity card and what they claimed was a birth certificate for Maria, which registered her date of birth as 31 January 2009.

Maria is currently in the care of Greek charity The Smile of the Child. They were unable to comment on what would happen to the child now the identity of her biological parents had been established.

Christos Salis and Eletheria Dimopoulou, aged 39 and 40, have been arrested and charged with abduction and document fraud. They claim they received the child from a destitute Bulgarian woman and raised her with her own five children.

Under Greek law, child abduction charges can include cases where a minor is voluntarily given away by its parents outside the legal adoption process.

Costas Katsavos, the lawyer representing the Greek couple said Friday they planned to seek legal custody of the fair-haired girl, according to the Associated Press.

"Provided what we said is borne out, that it was not an abduction, then logically they will be released from prison and they will be able to enter a proper (adoption) process. They truly and ardently want her back," Katsavos said.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Online Sales and Customer Services Associate

£14000 - £16000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time and Part time positio...

Ashdown Group: IT Manager - Salesforce / Reports / CRM - North London - NfP

£45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established and reputable Not for Profit o...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Ledger & Credit Control Assistant

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Sales Ledger & Credit Control...

Recruitment Genius: Project Administrator

£16000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Project Administrator is requ...

Day In a Page

Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

Climate change key in Syrian conflict

And it will trigger more war in future
How I outwitted the Gestapo

How I outwitted the Gestapo

My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
The nation's favourite animal revealed

The nation's favourite animal revealed

Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
Is this the way to get young people to vote?

Getting young people to vote

From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

Poldark star Heida Reed

'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

Money, corruption and drugs

The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

150 years after it was outlawed...

... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

You won't believe your eyes

Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn