NEWS

Police looking for Bulgarian couple said to have left 'Maria' at Farsala Roma camp

The Roma couple charged with abducting a young girl aged between 5 and 6 who has come to be known as "Maria" and was taken by authorities from a Roma camp in Farsala, central Greece, after DNA tests confirmed that the couple are not her real parents, told the investigating magistrate on Monday that the child had been left in their care by a Bulgarian Roma couple.

The man, identified by authorities as Christos Salis, aged 39, told the magistrate that "Maria" had been left in his and his wife's care in Farsala by a couple who are Bulgarian nationals. He claimed that he was not at the camp when the child was left there and had later urged his wife to hand her over to authorities.

His wife - who has two police identity cards with different names and dates and places of birth, one naming her Eleftheria Dimopoulou, aged 41, and the other naming her Selini Sali, aged 40 - backed her husband's statement, saying that she refused to report the incident to authorities as she had grown attached to the young girl.

Authorities on Tuesday were trying to track down the man that Salis claims left the child in Farsala via a telephone number he provided to authorities.

The pair are also being charged with the deceitful acquisition of official documents as Selini Sali claims to have 14 children.

"Maria," meanwhile remains in the care of The Smile of the Child charity organization as an international search continues for her birth parents.

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