Test proves Bulgarian woman mother of mystery girl

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Bulgarian Roma Sashka Ruseva (L), 38, holds her son Atanas, 2, as she speaks to media outside her house in the town of Nikolaevo, some 280km (173miles) east of Sofia October 24, 2013. 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. 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 Ruseva and her husband, Atanas Rusev, 36, on Thursday in the southern town of Nikolaevo. REUTERS/Stoyan Nenov

Mother of mysterious girl in Greece found in Bulgaria

SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) — DNA tests have confirmed that a 35-year-old Bulgarian Roma woman is the mother of a mysterious girl in Greece known as Maria, authorities said Friday.

Genetic profile of Sasha Ruseva matched that of the girl, said Svetlozar Lazarov, an Interior Ministry official.

Ruseva has 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.

Maria has been placed in temporary care since last week after authorities raided a Roma settlement in central Greece and later discovered that girl was not the child of the couple she was living were not her parents.

Costas Yannopoulos, director of the Greek children's charity "Smile of the Child" which has been looking after the girl said he had no comment on her fate.

"We are dealing with the humanitarian side of this issue, looking after a young girl," Yannopoulos told the AP in response to the news.

Maria's case has drawn global attention, playing on the shocking possibility of children being stolen from their parents or sold by them. But its handling by media and authorities has raised concerns of racism toward the European Union's estimated 6 million Gypsies — a minority long marginalized in most of the continent.