Dimitra Pavlopoulou, a 97 year old Melbourne woman was kidnapped from her nursing home on Saturday by another woman who believed that the elderly resident was her late mother.
The alleged kidnapper, Irene Moschones, believed her mother’s death and funeral – which happened a few years ago – was faked as part of a conspiracy.
Around noon on Saturday, Pavlopoulou was taken from her Clarinda Manor room – wheeled out in her wheelchair – and put in a car, leaving the wheelchair behind.
Moschones allegedly took Pavlopoulou to a Cheltenham home where police eventually found her at 9:30pm.
Police were tipped off by an associate of Moschones, when he rang to say he saw the elderly woman lying on a mattress in the living room, says police prosecutor Sergeant Daryl Eales.
Sgt Eales explained that Moschones believed that her mother’s death was faked, and that a group of people were trying “ to get her inheritance from her mother”.
After her mother’s 2013 death, Moschones requested her mother’s body be exhumed so DNA testing can disprove her mother’s death and funeral.
In the meantime, she had been visiting nursing homes around Victoria trying to find who she believed was her real mother.
“She had been to many nursing homes on many other occasions,” Sgt Eales said.
It’s alleged that Moschones had visited Pavlopoulou, at Clarinda Manor, a number of times in the days before the kidnapping.
“[Moschones] is in no way related to the victim, and she is not known to anyone in [the victim’s] family.”
On Sunday, Moschones appeared before the Melbourne Magistrates Court and was charged with kidnapping and unlawful imprisonment.
She remains in custody and was refused bail after police said they were concerned about her mental state. Moschones is expected to return to court on Wednesday.
“She requires psychiatric assessment due to her delusional thoughts towards the victim and her thought processes of the victim being her mother,” Sgt Eales said.
Police fear that Moschones would attempt to take Pavlopoulou again if set free on bail.
Pavlopoulou’s family were reunited with the elderly great grandmother on Sunday, who is a mother to three children, seven grandchildren and 18 great grandchildren.
In a statement they said;
“Yesterday our family experienced a very horrific event. This was an extremely difficult, highly emotional and testing time for the family.”
“What happened yesterday was something for the movies. We had friends driving around in 40 degree day looking for her strangers forwarding and sharing posts on Facebook and Instagram in hope to locating her whereabouts.”
“This rare occurrence baffled even some of the most senior police officers at the scene.”
“On behalf of Dimitra Pavlopoulou, we would like to thank the Victorian Police Force for their invaluable assistance in locating our mother and grandmother.
“Their professionalism and conduct on the day was of the highest level and ultimately contributed to the solving of this case and the safe retrieval of Dimitra back to her family.”
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