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Happy Ending to International Abduction

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Kathimerini.com: A 4-year-old French girl, missing since October 2007 following her alleged abduction by her Greek father, was reunited with her mother in Athens yesterday morning, according to police, who also confirmed the arrest of the father.

Happy Ending to International Abduction
Penelope Orfanos has been returned to the care of her mother, Mathilde Anthouard, the head of the police squad for crimes involving minors, Giorgos Tzanakakis, told reporters, noting that mother and daughter were free to return to France.

Reacting to the news, the French Foreign Ministry posted a message on its website, expressing "emotion and relief." "With this painful affair at an end, we would like to express our extreme gratitude to Greek authorities for their efficiency and determination," the statement said, adding that the cooperation between police and judicial authorities in Greece and France has been excellent. In its statement, the ministry highlighted the additional importance of the girl being found, as she suffers from a serious genetic disease that requires regular treatment. Neither Greek nor French authorities provided any details about the girl's illness but she was said to be in good health.

The girl's father, separated from her mother since 2006, was freed pending trial yesterday.

Meanwhile, police in Attica were dealing with another case of alleged abduction of a minor, this time by another minor. Officers said they had detained a 13-year-old girl from Megara, west of Athens, on charges of abducting a 2-year-old boy from the Aglaia Kyriakou Children's Hospital in Athens. The girl is alleged to have visited the hospital on Sunday, posing as a member of the child protection group Hamogelo tou Paidiou (Child's Smile), and to have snatched the infant, recently transferred to the hospital after a prosecutor deemed he had not been safe in his home environment. The 13-year-old clearly regretted the act, visiting the Attica police headquarters early yesterday to return the infant. The girl, who is to face a prosecutor today, reportedly had visited the hospital the week before with an older woman currently being sought by police. The older woman allegedly had expressed an interest in intervening to arrange adoption for the 2-year-old boy.

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