French police are widening their search for a little girl who disappeared during a wedding in the Alps.
Maelys de Araujo, 9, was last seen Saturday night in the town of Pont-de Beauvoisin, where she was attending a wedding with her parents and older sister.
According to The Guardian, the celebration came to an abrupt end around 3:00 a.m. Sunday when the DJ announced that Maelys was nowhere to be found.
Guests at the wedding spent an hour searching for the little girl before calling the police.
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“It was anguish. To see the disappearance of a 9-year-old, that’s not nothing. We initially thought she must be asleep in a corner after a game of hide-and-seek,” a guest told local media outlets, BBC reports. “After an hour, as we’d found nothing, the police were alerted.”
The outlet reports that Maelys was last seen in a room reserved for children at the wedding venue.
When police arrived, search dogs were able to track Maelys’ scent but lost it outside in the parking lot. Investigators believe the child left the venue in a car.
Local prosecutor Dietlind Baudoin said she didn’t want to make “hasty conclusions” about what happened to the child but as more time passes “the criminal possibility can no longer be ruled out,” The Guardian reports.
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On Wednesday, more than 150 French police officers and volunteers searched wooded slopes and streams near the hall where the wedding took place. Divers, search dogs and helicopters were also brought in for the search.
“We are not losing hope to find some trace,” police spokesman Jean Perue said.
Investigators are questioning about 250 people, including everyone at the wedding and two other parties who were celebrating different occasions in Pont-de Beauvoisin Saturday night. Nearby homes were also searched.
Authorities have seized all photos and videos taken at the wedding in hopes that it provides a clue to what happened to Maelys.
With News Wire Services
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