Greek Mystery Girl's Identity Confirmed by DNA

Girl found during a crackdown by Greek authorities on Roma settlements.

ByABC News
October 25, 2013, 10:05 AM

Oct. 25, 2013— -- DNA confirms that a child found by police in a Gypsy encampment in central Greece is the daughter of a Bulgarian migrant, who says she gave up her baby because she could not afford to care for her.

Sasha Ruseva, a 35-year-old Bulgarian Gypsy, or Roma, said she gave birth to the girl, called Maria, four years ago while working as an olive picker in Greece.

"The DNA profile showed that Sashka Ruseva is the biological mother and Atanas Rusev is the biological father of the small child called Maria," said Svetlozar Lazarov, the secretary general of Bulgaria's interior minsitry.

The girl was found last week during a crackdown by Greek authorities on Gypsy settlements. Authorities became suspicious of the couple who claimed to be her parents, because of the girl's blonde hair and blue eyes.

"We gave her, we gifted her, without money," Sashka Ruseva told Bulgaria's TV7 on Friday.

Authorities tracked Ruseva to a gypsy camp in Nikolaevo in rural Bulgaria. She was found living with her husband and several other children, in a home without running water. Five of the couple's children also have blonde hair and blue eyes and resemble Maria.

The Greek Gypsy couple, with whom Ruseva left the girl, were arrested last week for child abduction, a claim they deny.

"It confirms what my client was saying. The baby was given to them by the Bulgarian Roma woman because she could not afford to raise her. It's the first time the truth was approved and prosecution dropped abduction charges against my clients today," said Marietta Palavrasa, an attorney defending the Greek couple.

The girl is being cared for by a Greek charity and held at an undisclosed hospital.

Her discovery set off an international search to find her parents, as well as crackdowns across Europe on Gypsy settlements amid rumors that children were being sold or traded.

Hundreds of families who are missing children, including several in the United States, got their hopes up that Maria could be their child.

The mystery was deepened earlier this week when Interpol found that there was no DNA match for Maria among its international list of missing children.