Man behind bars on abduction charges: "Just wanted to help the girl"

The man who allegedly kidnapped a young girl in Anderlecht last Sunday, remains in custody after having been questioned by police. The man was detained as a bizarre case came to a close. A 6-year-old girl that had gone missing, was found in his presence in central Brussels. The suspect claims he just wanted to help.

Jihane vanished on the Sunday market near the Anderlecht Abattoir, when her father lost track of her. A search was set up in the short term, as the case was considered as very concerning. Soon, CCTV footage emerged showing an unknown man holding her by the arm.

After a tip from the public, both the man (a 44-year-old of Romanian descent) and the girl were found some 24 hours later. The man was stopped when he left his house with the infant. The man explained he was on his way to the police station as he knew a search had been kicked off. He told police it was not possible to do this earlier as the girl was sleeping and he didn't want to wake her up. He claimed he wanted to help the child.

The man had a beard when he was seen on CCTV footage, but had shaved his beard overnight. An examining magistrate decided to keep him in custody for the time being.