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  1. ITV Report

Man charged on suspicion of kidnapping missing nine-year-old girl from wedding

Maëlys de Araujo went missing from a wedding in the French Alps Credit: AP

A man has been charged on suspicion of kidnapping a nine-year-old girl during a wedding in the French Alps.

Maëlys de Araujo was last seen on 27 August at a village hall in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, in southeastern France.

Traces of the young girl's DNA has reportedly been found on the dashboard of the 34-year-old's car, who also attended the wedding celebration.

Bernard Meraud, a lawyer representing the suspect, told French media his client admitted Maëlys was in his car on the night she disappeared alleging she had played inside with another child.

“His dogs were mentioned during the party so the children, as they were playing outside, came to him and asked to see his dogs in his car,” Mr Meraud said.

“He opened the door, turned over the passenger front seat, the children went on the back seat, looked inside the boot and came out. That’s it.”

Maëlys has been missing for over a week. Credit: Police handout

The suspect was one of two men detained then released last week without charges after being questioned.

The prosecutor's office, who have not released the man's name, said he has denied any wrongdoing but his explanation "did not convince investigation judges".

He has been charged with "kidnapping, illegal confinement or arbitrary detention of a minor of less than 15 years."

Police, search and rescue teams, and volunteers have been searching for Maëlys. Credit: AP

An extensive search has been underway since Maëlys disappearance from the wedding in the early hours of the morning.

More than 200 potential witnesses have been questioned by police.

Police dogs picked up her scent but lost it in the hall’s parking lot, suggesting she may have been forced into a vehicle or got into one voluntarily.