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Czech Police: No evidence Romani family was involved in kidnapping

Ústí nad Labem, 24.7.2012 16:30, (ROMEA)
ilustrační foto

Police officers from the Ústí Regional Police Directorate told the press today that according to the most recent findings from the investigation into the kidnapping of little Michala Janová of Trmice, the information reported by the German tabloid Bild that the kidnapping was part of a dirty trade involving her family is not true. A woman arrested in connection with the kidnapping had been faking pregnancy. Police are continuing to work on all three possible scenarios of the kidnapping, but have no evidence that the child's family, who are Romani, were involved.

Police say the hypothetical scenario that the child from Trmice was being traded by someone in her family for a house in Germany is just one version of the story the female kidnapping suspect is telling in her own defense. There is no evidence the family was involved. The woman is said to have first claimed to German detectives that she had given birth to the child. She had been pretending to her own family that she was pregnant. Further investigation into the kidnapping of the newborn on 4 July is being led by the German Police and the German State Prosecutor. A man and a woman of German nationality are suspected of having committed the child-snatching.

"At this time we have no evidence that the victim's family was involved in the kidnapping," lead investigator Václav Kabátník said, adding that the female kidnapping suspect has changed her testimony several times. She first claimed to have given birth to the child herself, a claim refuted by the German Police after a medical examination and DNA tests on the kidnapped child confirmed she belonged to her parents in Trmice.

"We are convinced this case is similar to ones we have often seen in the past. Women who are unable to have children have resorted to kidnapping them," Regional Police Director Tomáš Lansfeld told journalists today.

Police were led to the suspected perpetrators of the kidnapping by fingerprints on the stolen license plates used on the getaway car. "The license plates had been stolen in the morning from a Deawoo vehicle in Matiz pod Větruší. They used double-sided tape to affix them to their rental car," said Vladimír Danyluk, the head of the Ústí nad Labem Police. Czech Police officers captured the fingerprints from the tape.

The rental car was used to follow Michala's mother as she walked from the Globus shopping center to Svatopluk Čech Park in Trmice, where a man stole her child from her pram right before her eyes. Just before entering the highway tunnels, the perpetrators got rid of the stolen license plates. Police officers found them at the side of the road. CCTV cameras inside the highway tunnels near the German border captured images of the car with its original license plates. Police officers had to watch more than 400 hours of recordings in order to find the vehicle. "Those images led us to the agency that rented the car, and their records led us to the people who rented it," Danyluk said. Police then found the child on 9 July at about 23:00. Her family was able to retrieve her soon afterward.

Kabátník said that if the perpetrators were to be extradited to the Czech Republic they would face between two and eight years in prison if convicted of the crime of kidnapping someone and transporting them abroad. In Germany, where the 48-year-old woman and 50-year-old man will be tried, they can get only five years in prison at the most. Both suspects are currently in custody in the town of Koblenz.

ČTK, Gwendolyn Albert, Zdeněk Ryšavý, ryz, Czech Press Agency, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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