GIRL found alive after
being kidnapped six years ago has given hope to Gerry and Kate McCann in
their anguish for missing daughter Madeleine.
Police found the girl, now eight years
old, after a nightmare battle by her distraught parents.
Like the McCanns,
they had never given up the search for their missing daughter.
And also similar to
Madeleine’s disappearance, Monica Serrano, then 18 months old, was
snatched from her family as she slept.
She was staying at
her grandmother’s house in the town of Arraigan in Panama when she went
missing on February 8, 2003.
Last night Interpol
detectives were carrying out DNA tests to confirm that the little girl
now known as Angelis Mitre Castillo is Monica.
She had been living
in Guayaquil in Ecuador for some years before police were tipped off
that she looked identical to the girl who was kidnapped.
|Monica, and as she is
Last night the
McCanns’ spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said: “This gives Kate and Gerry
hope. But they will never ever be satisfied until their daughter is
found safe and well.
“It shows that
investigators and Interpol can play an important part in finding missing
children, but hopefully it will not take nearly this long to find
Just like the
McCanns, the Serrano family have fought desperately to find their
daughter and struggled to keep the story alive, with regular updates on
how she would look as she grew up.
According to the
Ecuadorian daily paper Expreso, Ecuadorian authorities said that a woman
called Maria del Carmen Medina Reyes brought little “Angelis” to
Ecuador, then travelled to Spain having left the child with another
women, Matilde Ronquillo.
Police learned two
months ago that the child was in Guayaquil, Ecuador, with Oredai Nieto
Reyes, sister of Maria, and who had originally turned up with the child
out of the blue. “She told us that the girl had been gifted to her,”
said Nieto Reyes in her declaration to prosecutor Rene Astudio Orellana.
Reyes admitted that
she registered the child irregularly as an Ecuadorian with the help of a
lawyer and that the child has lived in south Guayaquil since then.
“I thought nothing
would happen seeing as I’ve never been involved in these cases,” Nieto
Reyes said before police officers and the prosecutor.
According to a local
news agency, the woman is now detained by the police. The dramatic
rescue began last January when Interpol in Panama was contacted by a
mystery woman saying she had seen a little girl in Ecuador who looked
amazingly like missing Monica. She had recently seen a newspaper report
on the story of the family’s torment over their missing daughter.