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10-year-old missing Markella found; police investigates possible abduction

Happy ending for the thriller that shook the whole Greece and triggered an unprecedented mobilization of volunteers and internet users. 10-year-old Markella was found on Saturday morning some 3-4 km away from the spot where she went missing after school on Thursday. The girl was wandering around  with her backpack when she was spotted by the owner of a petrol station around 9 o’ clock Saturday in Kalamaria, eastern Thessaloniki, northern Greece.

The 4th grade pupil went missing on her way from school to home, located some 200 meters away.

The station owner and a neighbor informed the police and spoke with the girl until police arrived.

The child looked tired, was in shock and she started to cry when she probably felt safe, the eyewitnesses told media.

According to the man who found her, Markella told him to not call the police and that all she wanted was to return home.

Speaking to media, the neighbor said that the girl told her that she was handcuffed by the woman who took her, that she was hurt and in pain. Before she was released, the “abductor” gave the girl 30 euros to not talk to the police. She was left near the station by the woman who took her.

According to Skai TV, the girl has marks of her arms indicating to handcuffs.

The girl is now reportedly together with her mother at the police station. Psychologists are taking of her.

Citing police sources, media report that as soon as conditions allow it, the girl will testify to police officers of the Police Juvenile Protection Directorate to shed light into the case.

Most important for the police is to find out where the girl was in the 40 hours of her disappearance, and to ascertain whether there is any involvement of one or more persons and whether criminal offenses are substantiated against them.

In this context, police re-examines the testimony of the girl’s classmate and eyewitness. The 10-year-old boy had already told police that the girl was taken away by a young woman, who had called her by her first name.

Markella’s disappearance triggered the mobilization of authorities and society, an Amber Alert was issued even if with several hours delay.

Authorities asked for the removal of the girl’s pictures or pictures to show blurred face after the girl was found.

A huge search operation was launched to which also many volunteers participated.

Thousands of posts about the missing girl were posted on social media, urging possible eyewitnesses of the case to come out and speak to police.

Several witnesses spoke to TV Magazine for missing persons Fos Sto Tounel on Friday night. Some claimed that they had shot videos of the woman and the little girl.

The case took unprecedented publicity and that was maybe the reason for the ‘abductor’ to release the child.

So far, there has been no official statement by the Greek Police.

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