Brussels woman finds mother after being kidnapped 30 years ago

Summary

Brussels woman Dolores Maria Praet was kidnapped from a village in Guatemala 30 years ago and sold to Flemish parents, who thought they were taking part in a legal adoption

Child was stolen out of bed

A 34-year-old Brussels woman was kidnapped 30 years ago from Guatemala and sold by her kidnapper to a Flemish couple for adoption, local police said. Dolores Maria Praet was four when her mother was forced to give her up for adoption because she was too poor to look after her, according to the official story. Her adoptive parents paid $2,800 (€2,100) to arrange the adoption through official channels.

In 2011, Praet travelled to Guatemala in search of her birth mother, who authorities confirmed was Rosario Colop. She had moved away from her village, but a neighbour heard Dolores’ story and found it strange: Colop had never had a daughter, he said, though at the time in question, another child from a nearby village had been taken from her bed at night and never seen again.

Praet went to find the mother of the kidnapped child, Luisa Chim, and, according to the police report, became convinced she was her own mother. DNA analysis confirmed  their suspicions: Praet was Chim’s missing daughter.

Earlier this year, Praet returned to Guatemala and filed an official complaint against Rosario Colop. She was arrested this week by Guatemalan police in Catarina, a village near the Mexican border. She faces kidnapping and trafficking charges and could face a life sentence.

Before a reform of adoption laws in 2007, Guatemala was notorious for illegal adoptions. About 5,000 children were adopted by foreigners every year, with nine out of 10 going to US couples. The illegal traffic in adopted children is thought to have been a business worth $250 million a year.

photo: Rosario Colop is arrested by Guatemalan police for the 30-year-old kidnapping

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