Roma girl's siblings placed with relatives

2013-11-05 14:46
(Greek Police, AP)

(Greek Police, AP)

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Sofia - The young siblings of Maria, the little blonde girl found in a Greek Roma camp last month, have been placed in the care of relatives, Bulgaria's social services said on Tuesday.

"We have placed the children with relatives as a protective measure and we will be following up on each child," the social assistance agency said in a statement.

Authorities had initially considered placing the seven children ranging in age from 2 to 15 in foster care. But they changed their mind after their 35-year-old mother, Sasha Ruseva, threatened to commit suicide, neighbours said.

Ruseva and her husband have been placed under investigation for allegedly selling Maria to a Roma couple in Greece in 2009.

Aside from Maria, the couple have nine children, two of whom are adults.

Maria, 4, made international headlines last month when she was found living with a Roma couple who were not her parents in the Greek town of Farsala.

The girl was thought to be an abducted western European child until the Greek and Bulgarian authorities tracked down her real parents.

The couple admitted abandoning the 7-month-old in Greece in 2009 because they were too poor to look after her but denied selling her.

The family, who live in a tiny room furnished only with a bed and a stove where most of the children sleep on a mud floor, have said they wanted to take Maria back.

The girl, who is currently in the care of Athens-based charity Smile of the Child, is however more likely to be placed in one of Bulgaria's two "SOS Children's Villages", a charity organisation for abandoned children and orphans, the social services said.

Read more on:    bulgaria  |  greece  |  abductions

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