Nation & World News

Case Of ‘Little Maria’ Is Solved, Bulgarian Romas Are Her Parents

By Eyder Peralta on October 25th, 2013

A DNA test has confirmed that the biological parents of Little Maria are a Roma couple living in Bulgaria.

Maria, you might remember, was taken from Christos Salis and his wife, Eleftheria Dimopoulou, because police said the child was too fair to be the Greek Roma couple’s daughter. The two were charged with abducting a child, but they maintained that they had adopted Maria from another Roma couple in Bulgaria.

The case raised questions about the stealing and trading of children, and about racial profiling and the way the Gypsy community in Europe has been treated for decades.

The case, driven by the media to international prominence, led couples in the U.S. to wonder if Maria was their missing child.

Today, as the AFP reports, we found out that Sasha Ruseva and Atanas Rusev are the girl’s biological mother and father.

During interviews on Thursday, before the results of the DNA tests were known, Sasha Ruseva said she had given up Maria because she was too poor to care for her.

CNN quotes the mother as telling Bulgaria’s TV7: “We gave her, we gifted her, without money. 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.”

The Bulgarian couple, reports the BBC, is now being investigated over allegations that they sold the child.

The Guardian adds:

“A lawyer representing the Greek couple said they planned to seek legal custody of the fair-haired girl. The couple have told authorities they received Maria after an informal adoption.

“Under Greek law, child abduction charges can include cases where a minor is voluntarily given away by the parents outside the legal adoption process.

“The couple’s lawyer, Costas Katsavos, said: ‘Now that they’re in prison there’s not much they can do. But provided what we said is borne out, that it was not an abduction, then logically they will be released from prison and they will be able to enter a proper [adoption] process … They truly and ardently want her back.'”

As we reported, this case spurred two cases in Ireland, where blond children were taken from their Roma parents, only to be returned after DNA tests proved the Romas were the biological parents.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

This entry was posted in News from NPR. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.

 

More Stories in News from NPR

A Milwaukee prosecutor says no charges will be filed against a police officer who shot and killed Donte Hamilton in April. Here, Maria Hamilton holds posters used in rallies that vent frustrations about the death of her son.

Milwaukee Prosecutor Won’t Seek Charges In Police Shooting

Officer Christopher Manney was attempting to frisk Dontre Hamilton when he woke up and grabbed the officer’s baton. Manney shot Hamilton 14 times.


Games of Thrones' author George R.R. Martin

Book News: George R.R. Martin Rails Against Sony’s ‘Corporate Cowardice’

The Game of Thrones author has blasted the studio for canceling its release of The Interview, offering to screen the film himself at his own movie theater.


Pope Francis delivers his message during a meeting with cardinals and bishops of the Curia at the Vatican on Monday. The pope said the Curia suffered from "spiritual Alzheimer's"  and careerism.

Pope Francis, At Christmas Gathering, Blasts Vatican’s Bureaucrats

He accused the Curia, which oversees the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, of “spiritual Alzheimer’s” and careerism. Francis has made reforming the Vatican a major part of his agenda.


A supporter of newly elected Tunisian presidential candidate Beji Caid Essibsi flashes the V-sign from a car as they celebrate the first results of the Tunisian elections in Sousse, Tunisia.

Tunisian Election Puts Former Regime Figure In Presidency

Nearly four years after the Arab Spring began, Tunisian voters elected Beji Caid Essebsi, a veteran of the country’s autocratic regimes.


People sing as they take part in a prayer vigil at the site where two police officers were shot to death in the Brooklyn borough of New York this weekend.

NYC Police Deaths: Details On Suspect; Rift Between Mayor And Police

New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton says tensions in the city are at their worst since the 1970s. He spoke two days after Ismaaiyl Brinsley shot and killed two police officers in New York.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments