The Roma couple accused of kidnapping a young girl whose unknown identity transfixed Europe after police discovered her living with a family that wasn’t hers now says they adopted her legitimately from the girl’s biological mother.
The girl, Maria, was found living among the Roma last Thursday when police raided a settlement in Greece. Police grew suspicious because she looked nothing like her supposed parents, and DNA evidence revealed that she was not related to the couple.
The couple’s lawyer said Monday that they adopted Maria with the permission of her biological mother, and that although the adoption was “not exactly legal,” it was not an abduction, Reuters reports. He said he thinks the biological mother will be located soon and can verify what happened. In the meantime, he insists that the couple raised Maria as their own.
The two pretending to be Maria’s parents are charged with abducting a minor and falsifying documents.