Missing Missouri child could be a match for gypsy girl, attorney says

Published October 22, 2013

| FoxNews.com

Lisa Irwin, the Kansas City baby who disappeared two years ago, is among the candidates considered by authorities to be a match for “Maria,” the blue-eyed, blond girl found living with alleged abductors in Greece last week, the attorney for the missing girl's family said Tuesday.

Lisa, who was 10 months old when she vanished from her parents’ home in October 2011, is among the eight to 10 leads being reviewed by authorities, John Picerno told FoxNews.com.

If authorities believe the two girls are the same person, the next step would involve a DNA test, Picerno said. He added that Lisa’s parents, Deborah Bradley and Jeremy Irwin, are trying to stay positive as the investigation works its course.

“It’s been a long two years,” Picerno said. “Sightings such as these give them hope.”

The development in the case began last week, when Greek police searching for drugs and weapons raided a Roma camp near the town of Farsala and discovered "Maria," Sky News reported.

The girl was found with a Gypsy couple, who claimed that the child’s biological mother gave her to them because she could not look after her.

The two adults were subsequently arrested on charges of abduction and procuring false documents, and a DNA test has confirmed that they are not "Maria’s" biological parents.

Interpol said in a statement released Tuesday that "Maria's" profile did not find a match in its global DNA database of missing persons.

"Maria," who is believed to be 5 or 6 years old, is currently being cared for in Athens by the Greek charity Smile of the Child and is said to be “doing well,” a spokesman for the charity said.

When Bradley and Irwin heard about the case they immediately contacted authorities, including the FBI.

“Because of the physical similarities between Lisa and Maria, we have contacted the authorities here, as well as overseas, and are waiting for their responses,” the couple wrote in an e-mail to Sky News.

Bradley and Irwin have repeatedly said they did not harm Lisa and had nothing to do with her disappearance, which was reported on the night of Oct. 4, 2011, after Irwin returned home from work and noticed the front door was open and the baby was missing. Bradley has said she and Irwin think someone took Lisa and is raising the child as his or her own.

Police and the FBI conducted extensive searches in the wake of Lisa’s disappearance, even sifting through a Kansas landfill.

No one has been charged in the case, and a $100,000 reward has been offered to anyone with information that will bring the child home.

The "Maria" incident has sparked investigations into how birth records are kept in Greece, and has focused attention on other missing-child cases across the world. On Tuesday, a blond child, aged around 7 years old, was taken into care in Ireland after authorities raided a Roma camp near Dublin, Sky News reported.

Bradley and Irwin have “no idea” why Lisa was abducted, Picerno said. But regardless of whether "Maria" is a match for their daughter, the latest development in the story should result in a happy ending for at least one family, he added.

“If it’s not their child, it’s somebody else’s, and they’re going to be reunited with their family,” he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

 

URL

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2013/10/22/missing-missouri-girl-could-be-a-match-for-gypsy-girl-attorney-says/