Maelys de Araujo: French police charge wedding guest over disappearance of 9-year-old girl

35-year-old charged with 'kidnapping, illegal confinement or arbitrary detention of a minor'

Samuel Osborne
Monday 04 September 2017 08:25
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An appeal was launched for the girl where she went missing in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, Isère, southeastern France
An appeal was launched for the girl where she went missing in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, Isère, southeastern France

A man has been charged in connection with the disappearance of a nine-year-old girl who went missing during a wedding celebration in the French Alps.

Maelys De Araujo was last seen on 27 August in a play room in the village hall in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, 85 kilometers (53 miles) from Lyon in southeastern France.

The 34-year-old man was detained for questioning alongside another suspect last week, but was released without charges.

Divers of the French gendarmerie search for evidence in a pond near Pont-de-Beauvoisin, eastern France

The Grenoble prosecutor's office said the man denied any wrongdoing but his explanation "did not convince investigation judges," who charged him with "kidnapping, illegal confinement or arbitrary detention of a minor of less than 15 years."

Maëlys went missing at some point after 3am on Sunday morning.

She was at the wedding with her parents and older sister.

About 250 guests have been interviewed by police.

French police search through a forest in Pont-de-Beauvoisin in the French Alps

Around 100 officers, including divers and dog handlers, launched a massive search for the girl, trawling through dense woodland and a nearby river.

Investigators believe the girl may have been taken in a vehicle after three sniffer dogs tracking the scent of her cuddly toy lost the trail in the car park outside the village hall.

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