Mumbai: Girl missing for 9 years reunited with mother; kidnapper, wife heldtext_fields
Mumbai: A girl who had gone missing from near her school when she was seven, was traced and reunited with her family after nine years on Thursday.
Police arrested an electrician, Harry D'souza, and his wife Sony for kidnapping Pooja (now 16) on January 22, 2013.
The search for Pooja made headlines when Assistant Sub Inspector Rajendra Bhosale, who was in charge of the missing persons' bureau at DN Nagar police station from 2010 to 2015 said that out of the 166 children who were reported to be missing during the period, his team had managed to find all except one.
Two years as a cop, and seven years after retirement, Bhosle kept trying to find her and never gave up.
What's even more painful is that the 16-year-old was found living just 500 meters from her home in Andheri (West).
The accused couple reportedly kidnapped her as they were desperate for a child of their own.
DN Nagar senior inspector Milind Kurde said the abductors, D'Souza and his wife Sony, had kidnapped Pooja some distance from the school. "D'souza took her promising to get her ice cream. They did not have children then, they decided to keep the girl and did not inform anyone. They changed her name to Annie. They used to make her do household work and even made her work as a maid at other places after they had a child three years after kidnapping her. They started assaulting her.
Pooja said she started realizing the D'souzas were not her parents when they started abusing her and made her slog and take away the money she earned," said Kurde. Eventually, the tip-off came from locals in the area, who suspected the couple and took them into custody.
Meanwhile, Pooja's family, on learning about her rescue, rushed to the police station and joyfully identified her in a tear-filled reunion. The entire police station celebrated the reunion of parents and daughter after nine years.
Police are getting the medical test done on the 16-year-old. She will be produced before a Child Welfare Committee, before being handed over to her family.
Mumbai police commissioner Vivek Phansalkar praised the DN Nagar police team for its effort to reunite the girl with her family nine years after she was abducted. "This is one heart-warming story," he said