Monday, 4 September 2017

Man charged with kidnap of missing girl Maëlys de Araujo



A man has been placed under formal investigation on suspicion of kidnapping a nine-year-old girl during a wedding in the French Alps.

 
DNA of the missing girl, Maëlys de Araujo, was found on the dashboard of the man's car, his lawyer said.


He said the man admitted she was in his car on the night she disappeared but that did not prove his guilt.


She was last seen on 27 August in a children's area at a hall in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, north of Grenoble.


Police, search-and-rescue teams, divers and cavers have scoured the area but with no breakthrough.


The suspect was one of two guests at the wedding who were detained last week because of inconsistencies in their statements to police but were later released.


In a statement issued on Sunday, Grenoble's prosecutor said a 34-year-old man had been charged with "kidnapping, illegal confinement or arbitrary detention of a minor of less than 15 years".


A group of citizens takes part in a search for Maëlys de Araujo on September 2, 2017 in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, eastern France
Local volunteers have joined the search for the girl


The man "persisted in his denials and explanations", the statement said, adding that "this did not convince the investigative judges, who decided to hold him".


The suspect's lawyer, Bernard Méraud, told AFP his client had said "the girl had got into the car with a little boy on the back seat to see if (the man's) dog was in the boot".


Several days ago Mr Méraud revealed that his client had washed his Audi A3 car the day after the wedding as he planned to sell it and had already found a buyer.


In an interview with French radio on Monday, he questioned the relevance of the DNA trace found on the dashboard.


The girl's DNA could have been transferred to the dashboard by his client, he argued, so the discovery did not necessarily mean his client was guilty. "He protests his innocence, he cites an unfortunate combination of events," he said.


Divers of the French gendarmerie search for evidence in a pond near Pont-de-Beauvoisin, eastern france, on August 30, 2017





BBC     News.