A homeless, English-speaking girl living on the streets of Rome has been linked to a number of high-profile missing persons cases.
The blonde girl, who was thought to be in her late teens, speaks no Italian and refuses to accept money, according to comments posted to Missing Persons of America (MPA). While locals have reported she responds to the name ‘Maria’, police have said she has given them different names.
The group, which aims to reunite missing persons with their families, has seen a surge in theories the girl could be linked to high-profile cases in the U.S., Germany, Australia and the UK. The most notable connection, however, has been to Madeleine McCann.
The unlikely theory is that the girl could be McCann, who vanished on holiday with her parents in Portugal in 2007. But while she has been at the centre of a whirlwind of Madeleine McCann speculations, it’s been claimed that the woman is in fact a 20-year-old Brit, according to The Sun – however this has not been confirmed by police. McCann would only be 13.
A campaign group supported by Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry has since alerted Met Police to the claims. Today, the group said: “Thank you all for contacting us regarding this child. We have passed on to Operation Grange. They do not believe this is Madeleine.”
According to a website page dedicated to ‘Maria’, police have attempted to identify the girl, but while her fingerprints and photographs have reportedly been taken, there is no official word yet as to her name or where she has come from.
With police and family confirming that they do not believe this girl is Madeleine, it leaves the question: Who is she?
Some believe she is Amanda Adlai, an American who was abducted on Boxing Day 2008 in Michigan.
The FBI issued a warrant for her father, Victor Adlai’s, arrest the following February amid fears he may have fled with the girl to his native Russia.
— LightingTheirWayHome (@LightingTWH) September 9, 2013
Others suspect the girl could be Maria-Brigitte Henselmann, who disappeared from Freiburg, Germany in 2008.
When she vanished, reportedly with a 53-year-old man on May 4, she was 13-year-old.
— UK Justice Forum (@Justice_forum) July 27, 2014
Leela McDougall, who went missing in Western Australia in 2007 has also been suggested.
Leela disappeared with her mother Chantelle McDougall, her mother’s partner Gary Feldman, and friend Antonio Popic. The family left behind wallets and credit cards – $4,000 has also remained untouched in Chantelle’s bank account since her disappearance.
However, WA Police were quick to deny there had been any breakthrough in the disappearance of Ms McDougall and her daughter.
6 yr old Leela McDougall was last seen in Nannup WA in 2007 pic.twitter.com/3Bjj8xXg2U
— AMPR (@AMPRegister) May 25, 2014
Another possible match has been linked to Vick Voitsekhivska, who was three-years-old when she disappeared from the Zhytomyr region of Ukraine in January 2005.
Several missing person campaign groups have now joined the cause, with campaigners and readers hoping she can be reunited with her family in time for Christmas.