Missing girl feared kidnapped after vanishing from French wedding

Sniffer dogs have been brought in to search surrounding areas

Missing girl feared kidnapped after vanishing from French wedding

Police search the surrounding area | Image via @Gendarmerie on Twitter

A massive search is under way for a nine-year-old girl who disappeared during a wedding in the French Alps.

Maelys de Araujo went missing at about 3.00am on Sunday morning, with a police source telling the AFP news agency that "each passing hour" makes it more likely that she was kidnapped.

She has been attending the wedding with her parents in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, and guests began frantically searching for her after the DJ announced she was nowhere to be seen.

Posters of the dark-haired girl have gone up throughout the town, with dozens of divers and police dogs deployed to search "very dense vegetation" and a river in the area.


Yvez Marzin, the police chief in the region, said three sniffer dogs had all lost the scent from her cuddly toy at the same spot in a car park outside the party venue.

Police search the surrounding area | Image via @Gendarmerie on Twitter

"One of the possible theories is that little Maelys left in a car, one way or another," he said.

The 180 guests who attended the wedding, as well as 70 people who had gone to two other parties being held nearby, are being questioned by detectives.

Dietlind Baudoin, a local prosecutor, said: "Given the time that has elapsed since the disappearance of the young Maelys and given the resources that have been sadly deployed in vain to find her, the criminal possibility can no longer be ruled out."

However, she stressed that all leads into the case are being explored, and she warned against "making hasty conclusions".

Additional reporting: Jack Quann