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Sasha Ruseva, Bulgarian woman, mother of mystery girl in Greece

Sasha 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.

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A four-year-old girl, found living with a Roma couple in central Greece, is seen in a handout photo distributed by the Greek police. Greek police are investigating the identity of the girl on suspicion that the child may have been abducted from her parents. The girl was found on Wednesday at a Roma settlement near Farsala in central Greece during a police sweep of the settlement for suspected drug trafficking.

Greek Police/Reuters

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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.


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