Italian police are looking for a five-year-old Peruvian girl who was allegedly bundled up in a suitcase and abducted from a hotel 10 days ago.
Kataleya Mia Chicillo Alvarez disappeared from the former Astor Hotel in Florence – where around 140 migrants were squatting – on June 10.
CCTV footage shows her playing on a few steps near a courtyard in the building at 3.12pm before disappearing.
Police are working on the theory that she was bundled up in a trunk or suitcase and taken out of one of the hotel’s two exits, the Daily Mail reports.
They emptied the building of its occupants on Saturday – who were living there illegally – and searched the premises for evidence.
Officers also searched another nearby building and a garage, suspecting she may have been moved there temporarily.
The anti-mafia police are said to be involved in the investigation.
Kataleya’s family had been living together in a room in the old hotel which, according to reports, has been occupied by migrants since September last year. The family moved to Italy when she was six months old.
There have been several violent incidents at the hotel recently, including an attack on an Ecuadorian, who allegedly jumped from the third floor to avoid a knife-wielding gang.
Kataleya’s parents, Kathrina Alvarez and Miguel Angel Romero, attended a church service in Via Lulli, near the hotel, to pray for their daughter’s safe return.
A letter from the parish priest, Father Juan Manuel Núñez Rubio, chaplain to the Latin American community in Florence, said Cadinal Giuseppe Betori had asked people to pray for the missing child, La Repubblica reported.
The chaplain said: ‘This disappearance mobilized many people of good will who courageously got involved from the first moment they learned of the disappearance, gathered together and began the search.
“This disappearance saddened not only the Peruvians present in Florence, but also the entire Florentine community, even from abroad, especially from Peru.
“We once again welcome the invitation that Cardinal Giuseppe Betori has addressed to all the parishes of the Diocese of Florence to pray for the return of our Kataleya.”
Miguel was in jail for theft and credit card fraud at the time of the disappearance, but was released on Tuesday on the condition that he report to the local police station twice a week.
He admitted he had ‘problems’ before at the old hotel, but added: ‘I don’t think it’s that thing, I can’t believe they involve a little girl.
‘Maybe for extortion, I don’t know, I don’t have to judge, God will judge but my little girl has nothing to do with it. I don’t want any more problems with anyone, I love my family.
Kathrina, meanwhile, was taken to hospital after ingesting bleach.
She was released on Wednesday and said, “It will be fine. Forgive me if I thought for a moment about giving up and losing hope. But now I’m stronger and I won’t rest until I find you.
The Peruvian community took to the streets with signs demanding Kataleya’s return.
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