Greek police have asked for Interpol’s help in efforts to locate the parents of a 4-year-old girl found living with a Roma family in central Greece, even though a lawyer acting on behalf of the man and woman arrested for kidnapping the child claims they simply took the girl in when she was abandoned.

The blond child, thought to be born to a foreign family rather than Greek parents, is being looked after by The Smile of the Child charity as authorities attempt to find her family after discovering her at a Roma camp in Farsala last week. DNA tests showed that the Roma man and woman with whom she lived were not her parents.

Authorities suspect the pair were involved in human trafficking as records show them having a total of 14 children, registered in three different parts of Greece. However, speaking to Skai TV late on Friday, the couple’s lawyer, Marietta Palavra, said that the pair decided to take on the child after feeling sorry for her. She alleged that the girl’s biological mother, a foreign national, wanted to “get rid” of her child.

In response to questions about why the couple had registered so many children, the lawyer claimed it was a way of maximizing the state benefits they could receive.

The case has received international attention and a spokesman for the parents of Madeleine McCann, a British girl who went missing in Portugal in 2007, said the child’s discovery had given them “great hope” their daughter would be found alive.

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