(UPI) -- DNA tests confirm a Bulgarian woman to be the biological mother of Maria, a blonde girl removed from a camp of Roma gypsies, who denies selling the child.
Sasha Ruseva, a Bulgarian Roma and mother of 10, said she was pregnant when she went to Greece to work and was forced to leave the child there because the could not pay for the legal documentation to bring her home.
"I did not sell Maria, nor did I give her away," Ruseva said. "For the past four years, I have never forgotten Maria. I pray for her every day. I want her back. I want her back."
Ruseva's husband, Anton Rusev, has an albino gene and five of the couple's children are, like Maria, blonde and have very pale features.
She claims she and her husband went to Greece to work as farm hands, while her eldest daughter looked after her other children in Bulgaria. When the daughter got married, Ruseva said she was forced to choose between caring for Maria, or returning to Bulgaria to tend to her other children.
She said birth certificate for Maria, which she said would have cost her "hundreds of Euros" was out of the question -- but an ID card for a baby, the only documentation necessary to take a child from Greece to Bulgaria, costs just 15 euros ($34).
"I left my daughter with my room-mate," Ruseva said. "She is also Roma. When I left Maria I asked the woman to send her to Bulgaria. But she hasn’t. I cannot remember her name, it was four years ago."
"I missed Maria but I don’t have any money so I did not know what to do. I called the woman several times and I knew she was safe and well. I don’t know why she kept her so long, why they did not send her back to me."
"I don’t have enough money to call the woman in Greece any more so I stopped trying to get in touch with her. I didn’t know what was happening with my child. But I have never stopped wanting her, she is my own flesh and blood."
Greek police, who believe DNA testing will prove Ruseva is Maria's mother, suspect the child may have been sold for a bargain price of £850 ($1,375).
Police records show a Sasha Ruseva has been twice arrested for trying to sell babies, skipping bail and escaping with the child both times.
A man claiming to be Ruseva's brother contradicts her story, claiming she told him she had received 250 euros ($344) for Maria.
The couple that had been posing as Maria's parents, Hristos Salis and Eleftheria Dimopoulou, are in Greek custody and have been charged with child abduction.