Search for missing girl will continue
PANAMA. The decision to continue to search for the missing minor, Monica Serrano, was made by the First Tribunal of the Penal Circuit o...
PANAMA. The decision to continue to search for the missing minor, Monica Serrano, was made by the First Tribunal of the Penal Circuit of La Chorrera last 26 June after Interpol International informed Judicial Investigation Department sub-commissioner, Javier Carrillo Silvestri, that the period for sending bulletins about the Serrano case, which is five years, had expired.
Judge Alina Esther Hubiedo decided that the case should remain open and that bulletins should be sent around the world to allow investigations to continue for a new period.
Monica Serrano was 18-months-old at the time she disappeared from her home in Arraijan on 8 February 2003.
Following an international manhunt launched to locate the girl, five people were condemned on 3 February 2009 to six years in prison for being involved in the abduction, while another five were acquitted.
The convicted abductors, Julissa Ortega, Jorge Jaén, Ana Bernal de Rivera, Petra Barrera de Jaén and Jorge Vera Andrade are currently appealing their sentences before the Panama Superior Tribunal.
Last Saturday the Attorney General, Ana Matilde Gomez, announced during a press conference that DNA results proved that a Panamanian girl found in Ecuador, who at first the authorities thought was Monica Serrano, was not her but another child.
The Attorney General said that the Panamanian girl, who is the custody of the Ecuadorian police, came from a poor family in Darien province.
It is thought that the biological parents gave the child as a gift to an Ecuadorian woman, because they cannot afford to keep her. The Public Ministry is investigating the case.
Gomez added that since last year Panama has a law that prohibits voluntary adoptions but when the child was born in 2001 they were valid. The girl´s biological mother was only 14-years-old at the time.