I so hope it is true. That this bright eyed girl with pink bows in imageher hair, Denise Pipitone, dubbed Italy’s Madeleine McCann, has been found alive and well four years after being abducted.

Denise Pipitone was only four when she vanished in September 2004 while playing outside the front of her house in Sicily as lunch was being prepared. It was believed she was kidnapped, and that ”nomads” could have been responsible.

Last night police picked up an eight year-old girl matching her description on the Greek island of Kos following a tip-off. A gipsy woman with the child at first claimed to be her mother, but later admitted she was not. Police said the child had a birthmark under her eye like that of Denise and that she could speak only Italian.

Police were alerted by an Italian tourist who grew suspicious after being offered a bracelet by her and her 30-year-old female companion. He was amazed the child spoke fluent Italian, but the woman, who claimed to be her mother, did not. Police conducted DNA tests which showed there was no blood relationship between the two.

DNA tests have also been been carried with Denise’s mother  after she was shown a picture of the child and said the birthmark and the shape of the eyes were ‘exactly the same’ as her daughter’s.

I highlighted this tragic story a year ago, and Piera’s desperate frustration at Italy’s ancient laws which regard kidnapping the same as an affair; she is campaigning for reforms of the law. After many false alarms, Piera is desperately waiting for the results of those DNA tests, and for a reunion she has longed for constantly.

This surely emphasises how much we desperately need an Amber alert system in Europe for missing children, that these cases must be taken much more seriously by agencies. It’s almost as serious as murder, and maybe worst for a family who has lost a child this way and has no clues about their safety or whereabouts. They don’t know if they are dead or alive.

My thoughts are with all the families of all missing children.

In memory of those who are still missing.