The kidnapping of Mia Montemaggi, an eight-year-old girl, has had the French on edge for almost a week. After six days missing, the little girl was found on Sunday, safe and sound, along with her mother in a squatted factory in Switzerland. Paris has asked the neighboring country for the extradition of the mother, Lola Montemaggi, suspected of having commissioned the kidnapping of her daughter. And he has issued an international arrest warrant against a Gallic citizen living in Malaysia, considered the ‘guru’ of the command that organized the operation.
It all started a week ago in Les Poulières, a small village in the Vosges department, northeast France. Mia lived there with her maternal grandmother, after a judge ruled that her 28-year-old mother was in no condition to take care of her. According to the French press, Montemaggi, who had had suicidal ideas in front of the minor, lived on the fringes of society and did not want his daughter to go to school.
Two men showed up on April 13 at the grandmother’s house posing as social workers. They showed the lady several documents with letterhead from the Ministry of Justice and told her that she had to take Mia on an appointment with her mother. She has no right to see the girl alone. A third man was waiting for them in a car.
According to the prosecutor, the kidnapping was “very well prepared” and had been “conceived as a military operation”. It even had a code name: ‘operation Lima’. It was a kidnapping by “trickery” and without violence.
After her granddaughter left, the grandmother suspected that something was wrong and when she called social services, she discovered that the men had lied to her and filed a complaint with the gendarmerie. After days of intense searches throughout France and abroad, Mia and her mother were located by the police on April 18 in a squatted factory in the commune of Saint-Croix (Switzerland), near the border. The little girl, who is in good health, will return to her maternal grandmother, who is the one who has legal custody. They will spend a few days together in a secret place, accompanied by a psychologist and a social worker.
Five French men were indicted on Sunday for “kidnapping an organized gang of a minor under 15” and “association of criminals.” Four are in preventive detention and the fifth, under judicial control. The alleged kidnappers, aged between 23 and 60, had met on social media. They embrace conspiracy theories and are against the state and “the health dictatorship.”
“The mother begged for help”
The French authorities also issued an international arrest warrant for Rémy Daillet-Wiedemann, a Frenchman who has lived in Malaysia for years and who is accused of having been in contact with Mia’s kidnappers. “The mother begged for help,” he justified in an interview with ‘Le Parisien’. He considers that it is not a question of abduction, but of “a return of a girl to her mother.”
Daillet-Wiedemann was in favor of all minors placed under the guardianship of the State or in foster families be returned to their parents. The son of former centrist MP Jean-Marie Daillet, he uses social media to spread conspiracy theories, but his influence is considered modest, according to FranceInfo. He opposes abortion, 5G technology and vaccines and spreads ideas close to QAnon, the movement that alleges that the world is ruled by a pedophile and corrupt elite.
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