Ninth birthday of missing Maëlys marked by release of balloons

November 5, the ninth birthday of missing Maëlys de Araújo – the little French girl with Portuguese roots who went missing from a wedding reception in August – was commemorated this week in her hometown of Les Abréts, with the release of scores of multi-coloured balloons. The message: “We will never forget you” standing out among all the others. Suspect Nordahl Lelandais remains in police custody, maintaining his innocence.

The 34-year-old former soldier has been indicted on the charges of “kidnapping and forcible confinement”, say French reports, adding that a nucleus of 12 detectives from the ‘research section of Grenoble” is working constantly on this case, hoping for a breakthrough.

Lelandais, meantime, has not seen a judge since September 3.

His hearing was “originally scheduled for mid-October”, writes Elle magazine, “but it was postponed on the request of his lawyer”, on the basis that the latter did not have full access to the police case against his client.

Bizarrely, Portuguese media has been giving Maëlys’ age as nine throughout the reports of this story. It is now clear that she was eight years old when she went missing (click here).

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