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Maria: Bulgarian Couple Confirmed As Greece Mystery Girl's Parents

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DNA tests have confirmed that a Bulgarian Roma woman is the mother of the mystery child Maria, found in Greece last week.

"DNA samples showed that Sasha Ruseva is the biological mother and Atanas Rusev is the biological father of the child called Maria," Bulgaria's interior ministry chief of staff Svetlozar Lazarov told reporters.

Greek police have been desperately trying to identify the young blonde girl who was found living on a Roma settlement with a family she did not resemble.

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The woman has admitted giving up a baby in Greece

  • SEE ALSO: Roma gypsies fear reprisals

Officials had feared she may have been a victim of abduction or child trafficking.

The couple who were looking after Maria, named locally as Hristos Salis, 39, and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, had strenuously denied the charges, claiming the girl's biological mother gave her to them.

Ruseva has said she gave birth to a baby girl four years ago in Greece while working as an olive picker.

She said she gave the child away because she was too poor to care for her.

"We gave her, we gifted her, without money," Sashka Ruseva told Bulgaria's TV7 Thursday. "I didn't take any money. I didn't have any food to give to the kid. I saw it yesterday and I've been sick. I haven't eaten since last night."

A Roma lawyer and civil rights activist in Bulgaria told the BBC it is not common at all in Roma culture to steal or abandon children.

"Quite the opposite, Roma families have traditionally even adopted children abandoned by non-Roma families," Orhan Tahir said.

He was particularly upset by the "blonde angel" description, which suggests that the little girl "was seized by dark devils".

The outcry over 'blonde-haired, blue-eyed' children living in gypsy camps is like something from Nazi Germany, according to another travellers' representative.

Matthew Brindley, policy manager of the Irish Traveller Movement, told HuffPost UK: "We are very concerned and think it is completely unacceptable that the police or social services act without clear and definitive information with regards to a case of removing a child from a family."

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A police officer had spotted the lack of resemblance to the girl's parents

The couple have been charged with abducting a minor.

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One of their lawyers had said: "It was an adoption that was not exactly legal but took place with the mother's consent."

Earlier reports had linked Maria to a woman who told Bulgarian investigators that she left the girl in Greece with a family she worked for in 2009.

  • BLOG: Do Roma gypsies really abduct children?

The girl, who has been named Maria, was found when a Roma camp in central Greece was raided last week.

The four-year-old was thought to have been abducted after she was found in squalid conditions with a couple and 13 other children at a camp near Farsala in the centre of the country.

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The man who posed as the girl's father

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The couple said the girl's real mother had given her to them

Maria was found after a police officer attending the camp noticed she bore no likeness to her supposed family and investigated further.