Mystery Of Girl Snatched As Toddler In 2003 And Found Seven Years Later

The mystery surrounding a girl kidnapped as a toddler in 2003 and found alive this week deepened today as it emerged she speaks Romanian. Amber Nicklas was found alive and well on Wednesday, nearly seven years after she was abducted from a California restaurant. In a case that will give hope to the parents of Madeleine McCann, the victim was found hundreds of miles away in Phoenix, Arizona. She has now been placed into care. Last night police said that she was 'traumatised' to have been taken from the only family she could remember. She had never been to school, a spokesman said, and spoke Romanian as well as English. She had been happy and well cared for, they said, and was upset to have been taken from her captors. Her name had been changed by her captors, who claimed they were from Romania. They also faked her date of birth and kept her out of school to avoid raising suspicion. But there was still no clue this morning as to how she ended up living at the house of a fortune teller in Phoenix seven years after her abduction aged just thirteen months. Police said a woman tried to hide the girl under a pile of towels in the bathroom shower as they searched the house in Phoenix - 371 miles from Norwalk, California, where Amber was kidnapped - under a court order. At first, she tried to claim she adopted the girl, but couldn't provide any paperwork to prove the story. 'The child seemed well cared for. She appeared well-nourished. The child was very happy,' said Captain Patrick Maxwell, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. 'This wasn't like the Jaycee Lee Dugard situation. Apart from being kept out of school she lived a semi-normal life. 'She wasn't locked in a bedroom or anything like that. She called these people mum and dad,' he added. Jaycee Lee Dugard was kidnapped in 1992 when she was eleven and held captive for eighteen years before she was rescued a year ago.