A police raid in Greece of a Roma community home uncovered an unidentified four-year-old girl who authorities believe was kidnapped by a couple who is now in custody.

The Greek police released a photo of the girl over the weekend, after reportedly discovering her on Thursday, in the hopes that someone will recognize the child and come forward with information. Reports state that DNA testing proved the girl had no biological relation to the Roma, also know as gypsies, claiming to be her parents, and those results, coupled with the adult’s changing stories, led the police to take custody of the girl and arrest the adults in question. The girl is currently in the care of The Smile of the Child, a charity.

The man, 39, and woman, 40, now in custody and charged with abduction of a minor and possession of false identification papers, reportedly have multiple identifying papers and are both registered as having children living in other parts of Greece.

“This Roma family had 14 children in total, and they were registered with fake birth certificates, so now the police are trying to see whether these children also belong to this family or if there is something else behind this,” Panagiotis Pardalis, spokesman for Smile of the Child said on Sunday.

According to reports, the couple were only found with three children (other than the blond girl), and authorities suspect them of cheating the system. Greece has a process of birth registration that is reportedly easy to fool by registering births in different areas of the country.

The couple’s lawyer Marietta Palavra, claims that the couple took the girl in after her mother abandoned her when she was barely a few days old and adopted her illegally, but cared for her as one of their own. The couple is expected in court today.

Meawhile, news outlets are predicting that this story will spark a conversation about the Roma in Europe and might raise suspicions about human trafficking and the selling of babies in particular.

Olivia Truffaut-Wong

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