Greece Mystery Girl: 'Promising Leads' Surface

Charity following up calls from American parents
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 21, 2013 4:41 AM CDT
Greece Mystery Girl: 'Promising Leads' Surface
This undated photo released by the charity ''The Smile of the Child'' shows the girl found in central Greece.   (AP Photo/The Smile of the Child)

The discovery of a mysterious blonde girl at a Roma camp in Greece has spurred more than 10,000 phone calls and emails to the charity trying to identify her. Smile of the Child says it has heard from many parents whose children have gone missing, and it is following up around 10 promising leads, including at least four from the US, the Guardian reports. The girl, who was discovered in the home of a couple with 13 other children, speaks only a Roma dialect and is believed to be around four years old. The couple have been charged with kidnapping and police say they have given at least five different accounts of how the child came to be with them.

The Roma community where the girl was found has rallied around the couple, reports the BBC, but social workers suspect the girl was forced to beg in the streets and may have been sexually abused. The charity caring for her says she was "filthy and terrified" when they found her last week but her condition has improved and she is now out of the hospital and playing with other children. "She was frightened and cried herself to sleep," the charity's director tells Reuters. "It has shaken everyone and has helped bring to light a major problem—just how easy it is to traffic children." (Read more Greece stories.)

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