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Athens - Greek police on Monday were investigating whether a four-year-old girl found living in a Roma camp was the victim of an organ trafficking ring, as the couple charged with her abduction was scheduled to appear before a public prosecutor.
Authorities have launched an international appeal and have asked for Interpol's help to locate the parents of the four-year-old blonde girl known as “Maria,” the name used for her in the camp.
She was found living with a Roma family near Farsala in central Greece, approximately 280 kilometers north of Athens.
DNA tests last week confirmed that the 40-year-old woman and 39-year-old man with whom she lived were not her biological parents. Police raided the camp on October 16 looking for drugs and weapons.
A public prosecutor who accompanied police on the raid thought it was odd that the girl looked nothing like her parents.
The little girl is being looked after by a charity called The Smile of the Child and is expected to be examined by an anthropologist on Monday to determine her exact age.
Meanwhile, the couple was scheduled to appear before a public prosecutor later in the day.
Marietta Palavra, the lawyer acting on behalf of the couple, said they simply took the blonde and green-eyed little girl in when she was abandoned. Speaking on Skai television, Palavra said the girl's biological mother, a foreign national, wanted to get rid of the child.
Authorities suspect the pair were involved in human or organ trafficking. Records show them having a total of 14 children, registered in three different parts of Greece.
In response to questions about why the couple had registered so many children, the lawyer claimed it was a way of maximizing the state benefits they could receive. The couple was receiving 2 800 euros (3 820 dollars) each month in child state benefits.
The case has received international attention as a spokesman for the parents of Madeleine McCann, a British girl who went missing in Portugal in 2007, said the child's discovery had given them hope their daughter would be found alive.