In a press conference last night (Thursday), the parents of missing Portuguese-French Maëlys de Araújo made an emotional appeal to jailed suspect Nordahl Lelandais to tell police “what he knows”.
It was the first time the child’s parents have spoken publicly since their daughter disappeared from a packed wedding reception in the early hours of the morning of Sunday August 27.
Every second of every hour of every day have since weighed on Joachim and Jennifer de Araújo as they describe the waiting for news as “insupportable”.
“We are not saying that we are looking for someone to blame at any cost and without any valid proof”, Jennifer told reporters, reading from a prepared script.
But Lelandais’ “behavior since the beginning of the investigation does not convince us of his good faith”, she said.
“He suggests that he might have important information to help us find our daughter. He must also ask himself a lot of questions and think from his cell. We hope he hears our call for help. Our only wish is to find our daughter”.
It was clearly a very difficult moment for Maëlys’ mother. French reports talk of her words “interspersed with several sobs”, anxiety and exhaustion etched on her face as she went on to describe a happy, dynamic, athletic child who loved animals and who “believed that everyone who loved them was trustworthy”.
This was a clear reference to the fact that Maëlys’ DNA was discovered in Lelandais’ car – a situation the latter attributed to her having entered it to pet his dogs, which were at the time in the boot (click here).
The parents used the occasion too to explain that they had been avoiding press scrutiny in order to protect their private life, and that of Maëlys’ elder sister.
Thanking everyone who has helped so far in the fruitless searches for the missing nine-year-old hopes now are that the man police suspect knows a great deal more than he is saying responds.
Maëlys has now been missing for two days short of five weeks.