Man arrested in missing girl case

Maelys de Araujo, 9, disappeared at a wedding in the French Alps.
Maelys de Araujo, 9, disappeared at a wedding in the French Alps on Sunday morning.

French police have arrested a man in their investigation of a missing nine-year-old girl.

Maelys de Araujo disappeared on Sunday morning from a wedding in the French Alps she was attending with her family.

She was last seen in a play room in the village hall in the small town of Chambery in the Pont-de-Beauvoisin region, southeastern France. 

A 34-year-old man has been detained by police in connection to the case.

He was also a guest at the wedding, and left the venue at a time which "could correspond to Maëlys' disappearance," according to the local prosecutor, Dietlind Baudouin, in a statement reported in the French newspaper Le Dauphiné Libéré.

The man was one of about 250 people questioned by police, a group that included all 180 wedding guests as well as attendees of other parties in town on Saturday night.

Baudouin said the man, who was already known to police for previous offences, gave an inconsistent account of his whereabouts that night.

BFMTV reported that police went on to search the man's home and neighbourhood.

The case is currently being treated as a kidnapping, although Baudouin said investigators were cautious not to jump to conclusions.

"The important thing is to give ourselves the most chances of finding Maëlys as quickly as possible," he said. 

"So with this in mind, we are exploring every possible lead, no matter how small or how remote."