Photo: Mato Grosso
A 10-year-old Argentine girl was found by Brazilian police seven years after she was kidnapped by her father, the authorities said.
The discovery of the child occurred this March in the western city of Dourados, but was only revealed to the press Saturday after the authorities, having confirmed her identity, handed her over to representatives of the Argentine Embassy.
The Civil Police of Mato Grosso do Sul, a state that borders on Bolivia and Paraguay, said they found the girl thanks to an anonymous informant who said the minor was being mistreated and that her father kept her in a “private jail.”
The girl, who spent the last two months in a children’s shelter in Dourados, traveled Friday with representatives of the Argentine Embassy, who gave her back to her mother of Bolivian origin.
Argentine diplomat Maria Seane de Chiodi told reporters in Dourados that the girl received medical, psychological and linguistic assistance from the embassy while she was at the shelter.
After she was found, the girl’s father, a Paraguayan national, was held in custody for several days but fled the country under a false identity after being released on bail.
DNA testing proved that the minor is the same one that was abducted in 2005 by her father in Argentina. Authorities had been looking for her in Paraguay, her father’s native country.
A judge in Dourados, Zaloar Murat Martins, said the man kept his daughter from going to school or going outdoors for fear of being recognized.
“We discovered that the girl had lived with her father in Paraguay in the city of Pedro Juan Caballero,” the judge said.