'Please stay with me,' kidnapped Romanian girl begged police

Police escort suspect Gheorghe Dinca on July 30, 2019 in Craiova, Romania.
Police escort suspect Gheorghe Dinca on July 30, 2019 in Craiova, Romania.PHOTO: AFP

BUCHAREST (REUTERS) - The family of a 15-year-old Romanian girl kidnapped last month and now presumed dead has released recordings of her desperate calls for help to the authorities, whose handling of the case has caused public outrage and dismissals of officials.

A mechanic from Caracal in south Romania has confessed to killing Alexandra Macesanu, who went missing on July 24, and another 18-year-old girl last seen in April.

With the authorities taking 19 hours to locate Alexandra after she made three calls to the emergency number 112, the case has sparked street protests, the interior minister's resignation, and the firing of some local officials.

"Please stay with me on the line, I'm really scared," Alexandra told a policeman while crying during her third and last call, according to a transcript released on Facebook by her uncle Alexandru Cumpanasu late on Tuesday (July 30).

"I can't stay on the line with you, miss, I have other calls," replied the officer Vasilica Viorel Florescu, according to the transcript and audios.

"Stay there, a police car will come without fail, in two to three minutes... What the hell, calm down, the car is en route."

Reuters has been unable to independently verify the audios, and neither the Special Telecommunications Unit (STS) in charge of directing 112 calls, police nor the Interior Ministry responded to requests to confirm them or comment on their contents.

The uncle, who has acted as a spokesman for the family, said when he released the transcripts that the parents had asked the media not to use their daughter's voice.

Some Romanian media, however, had broadcast what they said were leaked fragments of the call, so later on Tuesday, Mr Cumpanasu released the entire audio recordings, which he had requested from the STS.

Mr Florescu, a policeman from the nearby town of Slatina, told local media that he talked to Alexandra twice out of the three calls she made, including the last one, and gave her details to Caracal police.

"I repeatedly told her to stay calm and that a police car was coming," he was quoted as saying by the private television station Romania TV. He added that he disconnected the call so that local police could get in touch with her.

Reuters could not immediately reach Mr Florescu for comment.

Human remains have been found at the house of 65-year-old mechanic Gheorghe Dinca, where Alexandra was kept.

A preliminary forensic report is expected on Friday.