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Abduction fears after girl disappears at French wedding

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Abduction fears after girl disappears at French wedding
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Police in France say they could be dealing with an abduction after the disappearance of a nine-year-old girl at a wedding reception on Sunday.

Maelys de Araujo was at the event with her parents in a community hall in Pont de Beauvoisin, near the French Alps in the east of the country.

She was last seen at three in the morning and extensive searches of the nearby area have failed to find any trace of her.

Dense vegetation near the venue has been combed and police divers have also been searching a nearby river.

Sniffer dogs are reported to have repeatedly pinpointed an area in the car park at the venue, leading police to believe Maelys was taken away in a vehicle, either accidentally or intentionally.

Local media say people at the wedding searched for the girl for an hour before the police were called.

Investigators opened an abduction inquiry on Monday, although they say at this stage that is not seen as the most likely cause of the disappearance.

Up to 180 people who attended the wedding are being questioned, as well as people who were at two other social events that took place at the same time nearby.