The Welfare Office is not aware of any legal snags concerning the parental care of five-year-old Romeo whose 40-year-old mother died in their squalid flat in Larnaca last week.
“I have no information about legal problems with regards to the parental care of the child and I have no information about a father,” Welfare Office head Toulla Kouloumou told The Cyprus Daily.
“The child is currently safe in the care of the Welfare Office and will continue to be with us for as long as necessary and until the necessary information comes to us so that we can decide our next move with regards to his care,” she added.
Reportedly the authorities had sought guidance from the Attorney General’s Office to solve a legal hiccup that has emerged with the child’s care coming under the Welfare Office.
The child was born in wedlock although it was a marriage of convenience for which his mother was sentenced to a three-year suspended jail sentence and put on the stop list while his Sri Lankan father Senthil Thevathas was deported.
Under the law, Thevathas has to be contacted and informed that the child’s parental care will go to the Welfare Office.
Cyprus police were unable to find the child’s mother in order to deport her as a result of her marriage of convenience because her file contained a different address.
According to informed sources, she lived for around eight months in the home of a Cypriot man who wanted to help her and later she received welfare benefits and was living elsewhere.
The Welfare Office was unaware for around eight months that she was wanted by the police.
Around €10,000 is required to send her body for burial in Romania and friends and acquaintances from the Romanian community in Cyprus have begun collections towards this aim at the initiative of a Romanian newspaper on the island.
According to information from the Romanian embassy in Nicosia, the victim’s 62-year-old stepmother was found working with her biological daughter in Italy and she wants to pay for the body’s transfer to Romania. She also wants to take care of the child despite facing financial problems.
The 62-year-old woman yesterday flew to Romania to collect money from friends and relatives for the body’s repatriation.
Authorities in Romania are evaluating the grandmother to see if she is suitable to look after the child and their conclusions are expected in a few days.
A post-mortem conducted by state pathologists Nicolas Charalambous and Sophocles Sophocleous concluded the victim died of peritonitis caused by a stomach perforation.