Maelys De Araujo: Girl ‘got into my car’, says French wedding kidnap suspect

The owner of a bar attaches an appeal for witnesses poster issued by the Gendarmerie of Pont-de-Beauvoisin for Maelys, a 9-year-old girl, who disappeared during a wedding party on August 26 overnight in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, eastern France

The man charged with kidnapping
a nine-year-old French girl during a wedding in the Alps has admitted
during police questioning that she got into his car but denies abducting
her, his lawyer told AFP on Monday.

A week after Maelys de Araujo went missing in the eastern village of Pont-de-Beauvoisin, a 34-year-old man was remanded in custody Sunday on charges of “kidnapping, illegal confinement or arbitrary detention”.
man was a guest at the wedding that Maelys was attending with her
parents when she went missing in the early hours of Sunday, August 27.
DNA was found in his car, which was parked next to the community hall
where the celebrations were held and was cleaned the day after.
The suspect’s lawyer Bernard Meraud said his client told police that Maelys “got into his car with a little boy, onto the back seat, to see if his (the suspect’s) dog was in the boot.”
Meraud confirmed that a trace of her DNA had been found on the dashboard but that his client “completely denied” kidnapping her.
said several DNA traces, including that of his client, had been found
on the dashboard and that someone who was in contact with the child
could have “transferred” her DNA in to the vehicle.
also suggested that the children could have climbed into the car
unbeknown to the driver, noting that all the windows were left down
during the party.
The disappearance of
the little girl, who was wearing a white dress and carrying a cuddly
toy, has dominated French headlines over the past week.
dogs lost the scent from her toy in the car park outside the venue,
raising fears she was kidnapped and whisked away by car.
of police, search and rescue teams, divers and cavers have been combing
the woods and lakes in the area about 50 kilometres north of Grenoble
for her but failed to turn up any sign.
Several hundred residents organised another search Saturday that also proved fruitless.
Speaking to France’s RTL radio the suspect’s mother insisted her son was innocent.
“He’s a good boy who wouldn’t hurt a soul,” said the woman, who was not identified by name, accusing the authorities of “hounding him because they have to find a culprit.”

Car was washed

suspect was arrested last week along with a friend over inconsistencies
in their account of the night’s events, but the pair were later
According to France Info radio,
he is a former soldier who lives with his parents a few kilometres from
Pont-de-Beauvoisin and does various odd jobs.
became interested in him after it emerged he had been missing from the
party around the time Maelys disappeared and washed his car the day
after the wedding.
His lawyer said that he cleaned the car with a view to selling it.
On Sunday, he was re-arrested after the police uncovered fresh evidence.
“Confronted with testimony, findings and scientific evidence, he persisted in his denials and explanations,” the prosecutor’s office in Grenoble said.
“This did not convince the investigative judges, who decided to hold him,” it added.
have interviewed about 250 people since Sunday, including most of the
180 guests at the wedding, as well as several others who attended
parties held the same night at a nearby bar and church hall.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here