Swedish father reveals mystery English-speaking homeless girl in Rome is daughter who suffers from Asperger's

The woman, who told police in Italy that she is British and called Maria, aged 20, but has since been identified by her father. Photo / Missing Persons of America
The woman, who told police in Italy that she is British and called Maria, aged 20, but has since been identified by her father. Photo / Missing Persons of America

The English-speaking homeless woman found on the streets of Rome is a 21-year-old Swedish woman with Asperger's Syndrome who has been missing for six months, MailOnline can reveal.

Mystery surrounded the well-spoken blonde woman who told police her name was Maria and that she was British, after she was found sleeping rough in a piazza in central Rome.

Missing persons campaigners speculated that the woman could be one of the abducted children on their database including even Madeleine McCann, the British toddler who vanished on holiday with her family in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007.

But she is actually Embla Jauhojärvi who disappeared from her home in Stockholm, Sweden, in May.

Embla Jauhojärvi travelled to Italy in May to study Italian says her father Tahvo.
Embla Jauhojärvi travelled to Italy in May to study Italian says her father Tahvo.

Her father Tahvo today told MailOnline he has contacted police and is waiting for Embla to be relocated before he flies to Italy for a reunion.

In an exclusive interview, the relieved father said: "She has been missing for six months since May. I knew she was going to Italy and to study Italian as a language."

"I've tried for six months to get help from police in Sweden, but they have been no help.

"I had hopes that she was going to do what she went there to do. I want her home."

Jauhojärvi said his daughter suffered from Asperger's Syndrome and that he had no contact with her since she left Sweden to study Italian.

He said he had tried to engage Swedish police in his bid to track down his daughter but was told they would not take the matter further because she is an adult.

Pictures taken before she went missing show her wearing glasses and a black waterproof jacket.

But when she was found in Rome, she had few belongings and her glasses were gone.

The girl was found with no passport or ID. She was described as "polite" - but refuses to accept offers of money.

When photos of the woman first appeared, there was speculation she could be Madeleine McCann who disappeared on May 3, 2007 in Portugal. The image right is how she might have looked aged nine.
When photos of the woman first appeared, there was speculation she could be Madeleine McCann who disappeared on May 3, 2007 in Portugal. The image right is how she might have looked aged nine.

Detectives had earlier dismissed claims that she was in fact missing Madeleine McCann.

But police Rome police today told MailOnline she told them last week that she was 20 years old and from Britain.

A spokesman for Rome's military police the Carabinieri said they held the woman after a member of the public said that she was in trouble and needed help.

"We brought her in and she told us her name is Maria and that she is English and said she was 20.

"But the date of birth she gave us would make her 21. We let her go because she hasn't done anything wrong."

He added: "There has been speculation that she is Madeleine McCann. But Madeleine would be 13 now and this woman is much older. It's not her."

"When we asked her why she was here she simply said she left her family in England, without giving a precise reason."

The girl has no belongings and has reportedly been wearing the same long tan skirt, rain jacket and black male trainers for weeks.

The woman, who reportedly responds to the name "Maria" has been staying around Piazza della Torretta in central Rome.

Adriano Banchetti, owner of a nearby sports clothing store said he sees her often, but not everyday.

And when she is here she sleeps right on the doorstep of the offices of the Ordine dei Giornalisti (journalist union).

He says he tried to tried to talk to her and help her and once gave her a blanket.

- Daily Mail

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