REAL LIFE

Homeless woman in Rome refuses to go back to Sweden after reunion with heartbroken parents

Identifying her was just the start.

When this woman’s face appeared across the internet a few days ago there was widespread speculation about her true identity.

Despite living rough on the streets of Rome, the young woman spoke only in English and would refuse offers of money.

There was one person, however, who knew exactly who ‘Maria’ really was – her father.

Tahvo Jauhojarvi, a Swedish businessman, recognised his missing 21-year-old daughter, Embla immediately.

He jumped on a plane to Rome, where he saw his girl for the first time in 6 months during an emotional reunion at the Swedish Embassy.

‘I cannot let her go back to sleeping outside and begging for food.’

Talking to MailOnline – Tahvo revealed that despite being reunited after years of sleeping on the streets Embla did not want to come home to Sweden.

‘She’s a wreck. Embla is not herself. She is a different person.

‘She wants to go back to living on the street. She doesn’t want to come home.

‘We want to take her back to Sweden but it is so difficult. If she were in Sweden it would be so much better.

‘I cannot let her go back to sleeping outside and begging for food.’

Embla’s mother, and Tahvo’s ex-wife, Ilona Kapp, also arrived at the Embassy on the news her daughter had been found.

‘I have been so worried I did not sleep at all last night.’ she said before seeing her daughter.

‘If she were in Sweden it would be so much better.’

Embla, who has Asperger’s, had apparently returned from a trip to Italy last year inspired to learn Italian.

While her father was on a trip in South Africa, she ran away to the south of Italy and signed up for a language course.

When her course ended, she travelled to Rome and began living on the streets.

Tahvo explained that she had left no note, and had not mentioned her plans for travelling.

‘I contacted everyone I could think of – her school, her university, banks, everyone.

‘I contacted Interpol and the Swedish Embassy in Rome and asked for help to find my daughter but again they said because she is an adult there is very little they could do.

‘This is what I have heard for six months – excuses from the people who should be helping me to find my daughter.’ 

After seeing her photos surface online, Tahvo was certain Embla had been found, and was determined to bring her home to Stockholm.

Since Embla is an adult the Italian authorities are unable to force her return to Sweden, despite her family’s deep concerns for her welfare if she returns to the streets.

Embla refuses to return to Stockholm, Sweden, with her family.

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