Authorities are still trying to get to the bottom of a very strange case out of Athens, Greece this week. During a recent raid on a Gypsy compound, police turned up more than just the illegal drugs and weapons they had expected to find; they discovered a little girl—with no identity.
From the second they spotted the tiny 4-year-old, there was something about her that didn't quite fit with the scene around them. For starters, she had blond hair and blue eyes; but the "parents" she was with looked nothing like her. Officials were so skeptical of the relationship that they went so far as to take her into custody and DNA test the little girl, who goes by the name Maria. Their hunch proved to be right: Little Maria was not the daughter of the couple who claimed her.
But the story only gets weirder from there...
Investigating things further, authorities uncovered that Maria's 'mother' also claimed to have given birth to six different children in the span of 10 months. (Hmmm... clearly somebody's math is off here.) In total, the woman registered for 14 different kids. As of now, though, 10 of them are unaccounted for.
Greek officials are now eagerly trying to discover Maria's true identity, as well as figure out whether or not her "parents" are part of some kind of child trafficking ring. In the meantime, the parents are being held on charges of abducting a minor.
The whole fiasco has shone a pretty intense light on the many glaring holes in the country's birth registration system. And yet it all would have gone unnoticed, if not for the impressive instincts of one observant woman. It's reported that an unnamed prosecutor accompanied police during the raid when she "saw a little blond head poking out from under the bedclothes," and found it odd.
For now, at least, little Maria is in good hands. A Greek charity known as "A Child's Smile" has been taking care of her since her discovery, and according to Panagiotis Pardalis, a spokesperson for the charity, "The girl is at peace," said Pardalis. "She is doing much better."
Image via CNN