DNA test conducted for Bulgarian woman over Maria case

A Bulgarian Roma woman from a camp near the town of Nikolaevo in southern Bulgaria has undergone a DNA test to establish the veracity of her claims to be the biological mother of a blond girl known as Maria who was removed from a Roma settlement near Larissa last week after tests showed that she was not related to a Roma couple posing as her parents.

Bulgarian police had made no official statement by late last night but Bulgarian media aired footage of a woman called Sasha Ruseva claiming to have given birth to the girl in January 2009 at a hospital in Lamia, central Greece.

According to her claims on Bulgarian TV, Ruseva gave the child to a Greek Roma couple as she was unable to support it financially in addition to the 10 children she already has. She rebuffed reports that she received 250 euros in cash in exchange for the child.

Television footage showed some of the children in her home who were fair-skinned and blond and not dissimilar in appearance to Maria.

Ruseva’s claims tally with those of the Roma couple who had posed as Maria’s parents, and are now in custody pending trial for abduction. The pair had told Greek police that they adopted Maria from a Bulgarian Roma woman in Athens in 2009.