DNA test shows Bulgarian woman is mother of ‘Maria’

Sasha Ruseva charged with child selling

A Bulgarian woman says she may be the mother of a blonde girl found in a Greek Roma camp, after leaving her new-born child in Greece in 2009. Bulgarian police questioned Sashka Ruseva and her husband, Atanas Rusev, on Thursday (October 24).

Fri, Oct 25, 2013, 15:39

A DNA test has confirmed a Bulgarian Roma woman is the mother of a mystery girl known as “Maria” found living with a couple in Greece, authorities in Bulgaria have said.

Sasha Ruseva (35), has reportedly been served with preliminary charges of child selling.

The discovery of blue-eyed “Maria” during a police sweep in a Roma settlement in central Greece on October 16th sparked a global search for her real parents after DNA tests showed the Roma couple she was with were not her blood relatives.

Ms Ruseva said she gave birth to a baby girl four years ago in Greece while working as an olive picker, and gave the child away because she was too poor to care for her.

Ms Ruseva and her husband, Atanas Rusev (36), have 10 children, five of whom are blonde

Bulgaria’s Interior Ministry announced the results of the test after matching the woman’s DNA with Maria’s.

Child abduction charges have been brought against the couple with whom Maria was found living in a Roma settlement outside Farsala, central Greece.

The couple, Christos Salis (39), and Eleftheria Dimopoulou (40), were held on charges of abduction and document fraud following their arrest last week.

Both denied the charges, claiming to have adopted the child while she was days old.

They have been jailed pending trial, and are also suspected of fraudulently obtaining birth certificates for 14 children.

Greek authorities are trying to work out whether the children all exist, or whether the alleged document fraud was part of a welfare scam.

The couple allegedly received more than €2,500 a month in family benefits.

They insist they were looking after Maria with their own five children after an informally arranged adoption.

There are an estimated 10 million Roma - one of Europe’s oldest minorities - living across the continent.

The Council of Europe, which monitors human rights, says they are also the most discriminated against minority on the Continent.

Agency