The couple charged with abducting a child found on a Roma settlement last week is due to appear in court Monday in Greece.
DNA tests showed that the 5-or 6-year-old girl, known only as "Maria", discovered during a routine drug raid on a Roma settlement last week in Central Greece is not related to the couple that claims they adopted her, reported the Associated Press. They are charged with abducting a minor, which carries a maximum 10-year sentence, and holding false papers.
One of the couple's lawyers, Kostas Katsavos, told Reuters they have taken care of the child as their own, despite a non-legal adoption. The girl bore no resemblance to the couple claiming to be her parents, a 39-year-old man and 40-year-old woman, raising police suspicions that she could be a victim of child trafficking.
Three more children that resembled the couple, two girls and a boy, were also found living with them in the settlement, reported The Associated Press. Their relationship to the couple has not yet been verified. However, police said the couple was receiving roughly $3,500 a month in welfare subsidies for different numbers of children registered in three different parts of Greece.
The girl is now being looked after by the charity "A Child's Smile," which has received more than 8,000 calls for more information, reported BBC.
In a statement Friday, the City of Athens said that for children born outside of a hospital, under current law, one person's word, backed by two witnesses, is enough to register a child as their own in Greece, which. Although the law states that birth certificates must be registered within 10 days, in practice, parents are able to delay registration up to adulthood with fine payments.
"We are shocked by how easy it is for people to register children as their own," Costas Giannopoulos, director of the charity, told Greece's Skai TV. "There is much more to investigate. There are other registered children that were not found in the settlement, and I believe police will unravel a thread that doesn't just have to do with the girl."