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Mother recovers daughters that had been abducted by her husband - Correio da Manhã

Viseu: Ten months after they disappeared from Belgium

“The suffering of many months is over. We’re together again and very happy”, said the mother of the three Belgian girls that had been abducted in January by their father and who since then had been living in a motor home, begging throughout Europe, yesterday. The fugitive and the three children were located on Monday evening by the PSP in Viseu.

Minutes after she embraced them at the Santa Teresinha Internship in Viseu, Marie-Louise – accompanied by her daughters Godelieve, aged 14, Gerda (ten) and Truke (seven) – said in tears that she was “relieved” and that they told her that they had “missed her very much”. “My entire life is here now”, the mother said, holding her daughters. Godelieve Otto, aged 14, was “very happy to see her mother again”. “I missed her very much, but I was with my father”, she said, adding that they had not been mistreated.

The flight ended when a member of the public denounced the suspicious presence of the three children begging in a neighbourhood near Viseu Hospital to the police in Viseu; the PSP ended up locating the motor home in which they traveled, which was parked at the parking lot of the Mariana Seixas Foundation, in Ranhados.

When he was approached by the agents, Cornelius Otto, aged 44 – who was inside the vehicle with his daughters – said that they were on vacation and did not offer any resistance when he received the detention order. The suspect was then taken by the PJ to Coimbra and the girls were brought to the Santa Teresinha Internship. The girls confided to the social service technicians that they had spent “normal days” in various locations in Portugal and that they are aware that they are “being disputed by their parents who separated and are in a conflict”.

Cornelius Otto is heard this morning at the Appeals Court in Coimbra, within the process for his extradition to Belgium.

Suspected the begging and alerted the police

José Alcides, aged 63, played a central role in the location of the Belgian citizen who was on a flight with his three daughters. On Monday, at around 6.45 p.m., when he was returning home, which is located in a neighbourhood close to Viseu Hospital, found it “very strange” that the three children were begging behind the houses. Therefore, he immediately alerted the police. One hour later, the suspicions were confirmed when he saw a news report on RTP about the girls’ disappearance. “It was them. I had no further doubts. I saw the children begging, while the father carried a musical resounding box”, José Alcides referred, “happy for having contributed to the end of the childrens’ martyrdom”.

source: Correio da Manhã, 01.10.2008


  1. It just shows how parents (or one of them) are often involved in a child's disappearance. The child / children could have been abducted by a parent, as in this case. And it could be a story with a reasonably happy ending, as in this case. Or there was a death and it may be a rather sinister story, as it appears to be in the Maddie case.

  2. The alleged 'begging children' look incredibly well nourished, not at all like normal victims of poverty - street urchins.

    How did the father fund the high travelling costs whilst allegedly on the run for 10 months in Portugal ?

  3. The article has an atypical Mitchell/Metado 3 'ring' to it.

    The soap opera continues ..... the article is not police confirmed.

  4. Bizarre that media reports of the alleged girls disappearance occurred only one hour prior to them being found - and ten months after they were allegedly 'abducted'.

    I expect this will be 'news' to Interpol !!

  5. Their mother looks Portuguese.

    The children are extremely 'adult' commentators - "being disputed by their parents ... who are in a conflict". Most bizarre .....
    Reminiscent of Madeleine's alleged adult confrontation with her parents.


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