American Couple: Is Mystery Girl Found In Roma Camp Our Missing - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

American Couple: Is Mystery Girl Found In Roma Camp Our Missing Daughter?

Posted: Updated:
ATHENS -- An American couple whose baby daughter vanished from their Kansas City home two years ago has contacted authorities in Greece who are trying to solve the mystery surrounding a blond girl found in a Roma camp.

Jeremy Irwin and Deborah Bradley, whose 10-month-old daughter Lisa Irwin disappeared in October 2011, got in touch with the The Smile of a Childcharity that is heading up the hunt for the girl's biological parents, a spokesman confirmed to NBC News on Tuesday.

John Picerno, a lawyer for the family, said he had contacted the FBI and the couple’s interest in the girl’s discovery had been registered.

"The (FBI) agent has made an official inquiry through governmental channels with the authorities in Greece," he said. "We are awaiting a response from them, which we anticipate will be forthcoming as soon as possible."

Lisa Irwin has not been seen since October 4, 2011, when her father came home from work to find the door unlocked, the lights on and the crib empty.

The chances of the girl -- who is known as Maria -- being Lisa Irwin appeared to be slim because a dental examination suggested Maria is between five and six years old.

“We enquire about every child that is found and fits the age profile of Lisa,” Picerno told Britain's Telegraphnewspaper. “We investigate all leads.”

A spokesman for The Smile of a Child charity told NBC News that of the 10,000 calls and emails they received around eight or 10 were being more closely looked into, including cases in the U.S., Sweden, Poland and France.

Kostas Giannopoulos, the charity's president, said that although Maria remained in a Greek hospital, she was in "good condition" and making progress.

“She is happy and playing” he said. “She has learned Greek words better than expected so we are very positive.”

Previously, Maria had only spoken a few words in the Roma dialect as well as Greek, although police think she may be of northern or eastern European origin, possibly from Scandinavia or Bulgaria.

Giannopoulos added that she had been a little picky about her food and a little stubborn.

“When communicating she mostly communicates about the present and not the past," he added.

Maria was spotted peeking out from under a blanket last Wednesday as police swept the Roma settlement for suspected drug trafficking near Farsala, a small town around 170 miles north of Athens.Roma also have been called Gypsies, though that term is considered derogatory.

Confused that her coloring did not match that of Christos Salis, 39, and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, 40, who were claiming to be her parents, police ran DNA tests and discovered they were not biologically related.

Officers told Reuters the couple gave at least five conflicting accounts of how the child ended up with them, including that she was found outside a supermarket.

The woman had two different identification documents and other papers suggested the couple had up to 14 children, but six were registered as having been born within less than 10 months. They received 2,790 euros ($3,800) a month in child benefits, a police source told Reuters.

The couple faced magistrates on Monday to respond to charges of abduction and procuring false documents but were ordered to be held in custody until they face trial. A date has not been set.

They denied snatching Maria and said her mother handed the girl to them shortly after giving birth, one of their lawyers Constantinos Katsavos, told reporters outside the court.

"It was an adoption that was not exactly legal but took place with the mother's consent," he said, adding that is what the couple testified.

Police have sent Interpol a file with all the evidence they have on the girl, including DNA samples, to seek a possible match with records of missing children.

The possibility of a smuggling ring - in which pregnant women were brought into Greece from Bulgaria and their children put up for sale - was also being investigated, according to Greek state-owned news agencyAmna.

Meanwhile, in the Republic of Ireland, police on Monday removed a blue eyed, blonde haired seven-year-old girl from a Roma family.

Officials had gotten a tip-off that a young girl was living with the large family but looked nothing like her brothers and sisters, Ireland's Sunday Worldreported on Tuesday. The child has been taken into care while the investigation is ongoing, the paper reported.

NBC News' Katerina Voussoura andReuters contributed to this report. Henry Austin reported from London.

Visit NBCNews.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

  • Most Popular StoriesMost Popular StoriesMore>>

  • Overcrowding issues

    Overcrowding issues

    Wednesday, August 20 2014 12:22 AM EDT2014-08-20 04:22:25 GMT
    It's an issue many counties are dealing with, overcrowding in the jails. And it's an issue the Kootenai county commissioners say they've been trying to correct over the years with bond elections. "we have a chronic problem with overcrowding. In 2013, we spent more than 900 thousand dollars to send inmates out of county to find housing," said county commissioner Dan Green.  >>
    It's an issue many counties are dealing with, overcrowding in the jails. And it's an issue the Kootenai county commissioners say they've been trying to correct over the years with bond elections. "we have a chronic problem with overcrowding. In 2013, we spent more than 900 thousand dollars to send inmates out of county to find housing," said county commissioner Dan Green.  >>
  • PHOTOS: Grizzly bears use tools? WSU study under way

    PHOTOS: Grizzly bears use tools? WSU study under way

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 8:44 PM EDT2014-08-20 00:44:30 GMT
    PULLMAN, Wash. - In a first-ever study, researchers at Washington State University are examining whether grizzly bears make and use tools. >>
    PULLMAN, Wash. - In a first-ever study, researchers at Washington State University are examining whether grizzly bears make and use tools. And while it's too soon to reach a broad scientific conclusion, at least one female bear is demonstrating that, yes, she definitely can. >>
  • PHOTOS: Wildfires in Central Washington

    PHOTOS: Wildfires in Central Washington

    Tuesday, August 19 2014 1:39 PM EDT2014-08-19 17:39:31 GMT
    KHQ.COM - It has been an intense year for wildfires all over the northwest. The photos in this slideshow were taken 8/7 - 8/11 by KHQ photographer Reed Schmitt. Most of the photos are from the Methow Valley area around Winthrop. A few shots are from the North Cascades Smokejumper Base and also from a horseback ride at Sun Mountain near Patterson Lake. The final shot is of Grand Coulee Dam almost completely obscured by smoke.>>
    KHQ.COM - It has been an intense year for wildfires all over the northwest. The photos in this slideshow were taken 8/7 - 8/11 by KHQ photographer Reed Schmitt. Most of the photos are from the Methow Valley area around Winthrop. A few shots are from the North Cascades Smokejumper Base and also from a horseback ride at Sun Mountain near Patterson Lake. The final shot is of Grand Coulee Dam almost completely obscured by smoke.>>
  • National NewsMore>>

  • Wife: Robin Williams had early stages of Parkinson's Disease at time of death

    Wife: Robin Williams had early stages of Parkinson's Disease at time of death

    Thursday, August 14 2014 3:26 PM EDT2014-08-14 19:26:01 GMT
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Actor and comedian Robin Williams was sober but struggling with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease at the time of his death, according to his wife. Williams' wife released the following statement Thursday:>>
    SPOKANE, Wash. - Actor and comedian Robin Williams was sober but struggling with the early stages of Parkinson's Disease at the time of his death, according to his wife. Williams' wife released the following statement Thursday:>>
  • Passenger plane crashes in Iran

    Passenger plane crashes in Iran

    Sunday, August 10 2014 2:15 AM EDT2014-08-10 06:15:55 GMT
    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - State television in Iran is reporting that a small passenger plane has crashed into a residential complex in the capital, Tehran. There was no immediate word on casualties from the crash Sunday.State TV reported that a Taban Air plane crashed while taking off from an airport west of Tehran. >>
    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) - State television in Iran is reporting that a small passenger plane has crashed into a residential complex in the capital, Tehran. There was no immediate word on casualties from the crash Sunday.State TV reported that a Taban Air plane crashed while taking off from an airport west of Tehran. >>
  • General is highest ranking Army officer killed in Iraq or Afghanistan

    General is highest ranking Army officer killed in Iraq or Afghanistan

    Tuesday, August 5 2014 5:00 PM EDT2014-08-05 21:00:13 GMT
    WASHINGTON (AP) - An American general has become the highest-ranking U.S. Army officer to be killed in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. >>
    WASHINGTON (AP) - An American general has become the highest-ranking U.S. Army officer to be killed in the Iraq or Afghanistan wars. A Pentagon spokesman says the general was killed in an apparent insider attack today by a member of the Afghan security forces. The shooting wounded another 15 people, about half of them Americans.>>