World Bulletin / News Desk
Greece's top court has ordered an urgent investigation into birth certificates issued across the country in the past six years after a blonde girl was found with a Roma couple who had falsely registered her as their own.
The discovery of blue-eyed Maria - dubbed the "blonde angel" in Greek media - during a police sweep in a Roma settlement in central Greece last week has riveted the country and prompted thousands of calls with leads from around the world.
DNA tests showed the Roma couple were not her biological parents. They said Maria was given to them by her mother when she was a baby because she could not look after her.
"The 'Maria' case may not be an isolated incident and this could have happened in other parts of the country," the Supreme Court prosecutor's order said.
The Roma couple used false IDs to register four-year-old Maria as their own, saying she was born at home.
The order told other prosecutors across Greece to investigate birth certificates issued since 2008 on the basis of a signed declaration by parents rather than those issued after births recorded at a hospital.
Any cases of false birth certificates found must be investigated further for any evidence tying it illegal abduction or human trafficking, the order said.
The case of Maria has raised questions about child trafficking in Greece and whether the couple with whom she was found living were part of a wider child kidnapping ring.
Maria is now being looked after by a charity while the authorities try to track down her real parents. The 40-year-old woman and 39-year-old man she was found with have been detained pending trial on charges of abducting a minor.Last Mod: 22 Ekim 2013, 17:45