Maëlys De Araujo missing: Mystery as girl, 9, vanishes at French wedding sparking massive search operation

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A huge search operation is under way after a nine-year-old girl vanished during a wedding.

Fears are growing for Maëlys De Araujo after she was last seen in a children’s room at the wedding venue at 1am GMT on Sunday.

She had been among the guests of a wedding at a village hall in Le Pont-de-Beauvoisin, Isere, in southeastern France, along with her parents, older sister and other relatives. Her family are believed to be from the nearby region of Jura.

A kidnapping investigation has been opened following her disappearance, according to French media.

Police have reportedly scoured the area using a helicopter and dogs, as well as interviewing all 180 wedding guests.

A police appeal has been shared on social media, including a description of Maëlys. It says she is 1.3 metres tall, weighs 28 kg and has brown eyes and brown hair.

French police officers stand guard outside the village hall where the wedding took place (AFP/Getty Images)

One guest at the wedding, called Gregory, told Le Parisien about the moment guests were told of the child’s disappearance.

He said: “The DJ for the evening announced on the microphone that a child had disappeared. Suddenly, everyone started searching, in the main hall and outside.

“It was anguish. To see the disappearance of a nine-year-old, that’s not nothing. We initially thought she must be asleep in a corner after a game of hide-and-seek. After an hour, as we’d found nothing, the police were alerted.”

A diver searches the Guiers river in Pont-de-Beauvoisin (AFP/Getty Images)

Divers have been seen carrying out searches in the nearby Guiers River. Nobody has  been arrested and the investigation is ongoing.

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