News / Europe

Bulgarian Police Find Suspected Mother in Greek 'Maria' Case

The children of Roma woman Sasha Ruseva (not pictured) rest inside their home in Nikolaevo, southern Bulgaria, Oct. 24, 2013. Ruseva is believed to have given birth to the girl named Maria, found by police in a Roma settlement in Greece on Oct. 16.
The children of Roma woman Sasha Ruseva (not pictured) rest inside their home in Nikolaevo, southern Bulgaria, Oct. 24, 2013. Ruseva is believed to have given birth to the girl named Maria, found by police in a Roma settlement in Greece on Oct. 16.
Reuters
Bulgarian police have identified a couple they suspect are the natural parents of a blonde girl found in a Roma camp in Greece, and prosecutors are investigating the woman for selling her child, officials said on Thursday.
 
A four-year-old girl, found living with a Roma couple in central Greece, is seen in a handout photo distributed by the Greek police and obtained by Reuters, Oct. 18, 2013.A four-year-old girl, found living with a Roma couple in central Greece, is seen in a handout photo distributed by the Greek police and obtained by Reuters, Oct. 18, 2013.
x
A four-year-old girl, found living with a Roma couple in central Greece, is seen in a handout photo distributed by the Greek police and obtained by Reuters, Oct. 18, 2013.
A four-year-old girl, found living with a Roma couple in central Greece, is seen in a handout photo distributed by the Greek police and obtained by Reuters, Oct. 18, 2013.
Last week's discovery of four-year-old Maria sparked a global search for her real parents after DNA tests showed the Roma couple she was with were not her blood relatives.
 
Bulgarian police questioned Sashka Ruseva, 38 and her husband, Atanas Rusev, 36, on Thursday in the southern town of Nikolaevo. The couple are also Roma.
 
“The prosecutors' office has opened a pre-trial investigation against S.R. for agreeing to sell her child on an undisclosed date in 2009 in Greece,” the regional prosecutor's office in the southern town of Kazanlak said in a statement.
 
“The probe is opened following checks linked to the female child with the name Maria in Greece,” it said.
 
Ruseva told reporters she had given birth to a girl in Greece in 2009 and had left her there as her family needed to go back to Bulgaria and had no means to support the child.
 
“I do not know whether she is mine or not. We had a child. We left it in Greece as I had nothing to feed her,” she said. “I did not take any money.”
 
Prosecutors said they would check Ruseva's travel movements and carry out DNA tests to establish whether she was indeed the biological mother of Maria.
 
Dozens of journalists have flocked to the poor Roma camp in Nikolaevo, where the Roma couple, their 10 children and another relative live in extreme poverty in a shabby two-room house.
 
Police said in a statement the woman had told them she had recognized the Greek Roma couple with whom Maria was found as the people she had left her child with, after seeing them on TV on Wednesday.
 
If found guilty of selling her child, Ruseva faces up to 6 years in jail and a fine of up to 15,000 levs ($10,600).
 
DNA results pending
 
The Roma couple in Greece have been detained pending trial on charges of abducting a minor. They deny the accusations, saying the girl's biological mother gave her up willingly because she could not raise her.
 
The thin, dark-skinned Ruseva, told reporters she left her baby to a woman in Greece four years ago when she and her husband worked there but needed to go back to Bulgaria to take care of their other children.
 
She said she was not completely certain that Maria was the child she had left behind, but told police the girl resembled some of her other children. If DNA tests proved she was, she said she would like to take her back.
 
There are an estimated 10 million Roma living across Europe, and they are one of its oldest minorities. The Council of Europe, which monitors human rights, says they are also the most discriminated-against.
 
Greece and Bulgaria have agreed to crack down on an illicit baby trade between the two countries, Greek public order minister Nikos Dendias and Bulgarian Deputy Prime Minister Tsvetlin Yovchev said in Athens on Thursday.

You May Like

Video Drug Use Rises in Afghanistan

Ninety percent of world’s heroin comes from Afghanistan More

Here's Your Chance to Live in a Deserted Shopping Mall

About one-third of the 1200 enclosed malls in the US are dead or dying. Here's what's being done with them. More

Video NASA: Big Antarctica Ice Shelf Is Disintegrating

US space agency’s new study indicates Larsen B shelf could break up in just a few years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs