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23 Mar, 2009 11:23

Interpol steps up search for kidnapped child

Interpol is now taking part in the search for a three-year-old girl kidnapped in France amid a custody battle between her parents.

The organization has issued a yellow notice, which is used to help missing persons. The notice, sent out to 187 member states, includes the physical description and other identifying details of the child, Elise Andre, and her mother.

Russia’s Interior Ministry has confirmed that Interpol’s local unit has also launched a search for the girl.

Elise was born in Moscow in November 2005. The divorced parents, French Jean-Michel Andre and Russian Irina Belenkaya, have been contesting parental rights for the last two years. Since the divorce, the girl has repeatedly traveled from France to Russia and vice versa.

The girl was snatched in the French city of Arles on March 20, when her father was attacked by two men and a woman, which Jean-Michel Andre says was his wife.

The child was reportedly seen two days ago with a woman on a train bound for Switzerland.

French investigators do not rule out Elise’s mother may be involved in the kidnapping.

It has also been reported that the girl was seen with two men and a woman onboard a plane flying to Moscow. However local prosecutor Antoine Paganelli stated they have no information confirming or denying this fact. He told journalists that father Jean-Michel Andre did not recognize the child on a photocopy of a passport made in the airport.

Russia’s Interfax news agency, with reference to its sources in the Russian Interior Ministry, has reported that Elise Andre arrived in Russia.

RIA-Novosti quotes another source in the Russian Interior Ministry, who says the girl could have been brought to Russia using fake documents.

“We have information that the girl and her kidnappers have already arrived in Russia under false IDs. We also know the flight number,” said the source.