Gypsy Girl 'Maria' To Be Raised By Children's Charity

'Maria', the seven-year-old blonde girl who was found living in a Greek gypsy camp, is to be raised by a children's charity following a court ruling.

The girl made international headlines when authorities seized her from a Roma settlement. She was taken over fears she had been kidnapped because she bore no resemblance to a couple claiming to be her parents.

Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, and husband Hristos Salis, 39, were arrested on suspicion of abduction and claimed the blue-eyed-girl was given to them by the girl's biological parents, which was later corroborated by her biological mother.

Maria has been cared for by the Smile of the Child organisation since the raid in October last year pending a court case to decide her best interests for the future.

Now a Greek court has removed all guardianship from Dimopoulou and Salis and Maria will be raised by the charity until the age of 18.

Maria was brought up in the Roma camp in Farsala, central Greece, for four years until police took her away.

Panagiotis Pardalis, who works for Smile of the Child, told the Independent: "We are available to continue to provide everything that is necessary to ensure her well-being as in every other of the 356 child-cases we are currently handling.

"As every normal child she plays, talks a lot - she is an outgoing personality."