Police in northern Italy Wednesday found a 10-year-old girl who an Italian couple hid for 20 days claiming she would be abused if she returned to Belarus.
Officials did not say what would happen to the girl, identified as Maria in Italy and Vika, short for Viktoria, in Belarus, the Italian news agency ANSA reported.
"Please have pity on Maria, who has suffered from the day she was born," said her would-be adoptive parents, Maria and Alessandro Giusto of Cogoleto, near Genoa.
The girl had been scheduled to return to a Belarussian orphanage Sept. 9 after spending the summer with the Giustos. But the Giustos hid her Sept. 8, claiming Maria said she had been sexually abused by other children at the orphanage, ANSA said.
Police found the girl in Saint Oyen, a small village near the border with Switzerland, in the custody of the Giustos' parents.
The Giustos and their parents now face kidnapping charges.