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Girl disappears from wedding reception in Isère in Alps

Police have widened their search for a nine-year-old girl who mysteriously disappeared from a wedding attended by nearly 200 guests, amid fears she has been kidnapped.

Maëlys De Araujo has not been seen since 3am on Sunday at the event in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, Isère, in the French Alps.

Police have interviewed 180 people who were at the wedding, and are now combing nearby woods and streams. 

Today a hair clip and a balloon were found in nearby woodland, Le Dauphine reports, but it is not known whether they belong to the missing girl. 

Around 150 police officers are now working on the case, with a kidnapping investigation opened by prosecutors.

Maëlys attended the wedding with her parents – her mother is a cousin of the bride – and her older sister.

Maëlys De Araujo has not been seen since 3am on Sunday at the event in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, Isère

Police are increasingly worried the young girl may have been bundled in a car in the carpark of the wedding venue in the early hours of Sunday

Police are increasingly worried the young girl may have been bundled in a car in the carpark of the wedding venue in the early hours of Sunday

Police have expanded their search for the nine-year-old, who investigators fear may have been kidnapped

Police have expanded their search for the nine-year-old, who investigators fear may have been kidnapped

Regional police chief Yves Marzian said three sniffer dogs had all lost the scent from Maelys’s cuddly toy at ‘the same spot’ in the car park outside the venue.

‘One of the possible theories is that little Maelys left in a car, one way or another,’ Marzian said.

A source close to the investigation said ‘each passing hour’ makes kidnapping more likely than the possibility that Maelys was involved in an accident or ran away.

Police have been searching woodland near the wedding reception venue where Maëlys went missing, and today discovered a hair clip

Police have been searching woodland near the wedding reception venue where Maëlys went missing, and today discovered a hair clip

Police divers have been in rivers searching for the missing schoolgirl, who was last seen at around 3am on Sunday

Police divers have been in rivers searching for the missing schoolgirl, who was last seen at around 3am on Sunday

French gendarmes are pictured searching for evidence in Pont-de-Beauvoisin today as concerns grow for the missing nine-year-old

French gendarmes are pictured searching for evidence in Pont-de-Beauvoisin today as concerns grow for the missing nine-year-old

“We are not losing hope to find some trace,” gendarme official Jean Pertue told reporters today, in comments shown on BFM television.

The search has been broadened around the town of Pont-de Beauvoisin, and divers, search dogs, volunteer citizens and helicopters are also helping. Homes have also been searched as authorities become increasingly worried about Maelys.

People who were at two other parties are also being questioned. 

A missing poster erected in the area to help find Maëlys De Araujo, who has not been seen since 3am on Sunday

A missing poster erected in the area to help find Maëlys De Araujo, who has not been seen since 3am on Sunday

One of the wedding guests, identified only as Gregory, told Le Parisien: ‘The DJ for the evening announced on the microphone that a child had disappeared. Suddenly, everyone started searching, in the main hall and outside.

‘It was anguish. To see the disappearance of a nine-year-old, that’s not nothing.’

It was initially thought she may be asleep after playing a game of hide-and-seek.

Gregory told the French newspaper he believes the young girl was kidnapped. Police have been carrying out searches of nearby woodland, as well as surveying the area with a helicopter and searching rivers and sewers near the scene of her disappearance.

French gendarmes search for evidence in the forest today in the area around Pont-de-Beauvoisin, eastern france, after Maëlys De Araujo disappeared

French gendarmes search for evidence in the forest today in the area around Pont-de-Beauvoisin, eastern france, after Maëlys De Araujo disappeared

Police dogs have not been able to pick up Maëlys’ scent, suggesting she did not walk out of the hall where the wedding was being held, Le Figaro reports.

‘Obviously, we are exploring all leads,’ prosecutor Dietlind Baudoin told a news conference more than 48 hours after the girl disappeared.

Around 100 police including divers as well as cavers and dog handlers have been searching for the girl.

Divers could be seen searching for her Tuesday in the nearby Guiers river.

‘Given the time that has elapsed since the disappearance of the young Maelys and given the resources that have sadly been deployed in vain to find her, the criminal possibility can no longer be ruled out.’

A source close to the investigation said ‘each passing hour’ makes kidnapping more likely than the possibility that Maelys was involved in an accident or ran away.

‘It’s likely she got into a car,’ the source told AFP.

The child’s mother and other relatives were receiving psychological counselling, the RTL broadcaster reported.

 

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


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