Visarion Alexa, the pupil’s confessor and parish priest at ‘Sfantul Nicolae’ Militari Church, told police officers the girl wanted to become a nun.
Alina Predescu, spokesperson for CFR Calatori, said one of the CFR employees recognized the girl in an international train traveling from Moscow to Sofia. The teenager got on the train in Suceava and the final destination on her ticket was Bucharest. This information was subsequently confirmed by Petre Toba, chief of Romanian Police, who stated Iulia Ionescu had not been the victim of a crime during her disappearance. The chief of Romanian Police also said she was forthcoming from the start with the police officers who identified her in the train. The Romanian Intelligence Service (SRI) supported the Romanian Police in this case, he added.
According to Cornel Grigoriciuc, the head of the international Moscow – Bucharest train, the girl wearing nun’s clothes was accompanied by a man also wearing church clothes at the train station. Grigoriciuc claims the girl changed into civilian clothes – black trousers and jacket – before getting on the train alone. Forin Catana, chief of (Rail Transport) Police TF Suceava, confirmed the man accompanying Iulia Ionescu was wearing church clothes. “A ticket was issued for a man wearing church clothes. The girl did not come to the ticket office,” Catana said, as cited by Mediafax.
Other sources say the young girl had called her mother Saturday, crying and asking her for forgiveness. Iulia had presumably told her mother she was coming back home from a pilgrimage.
Constantin Stoica, spokesperson for the Romanian Patriarchy, announced the investigators’ information according to which the girl stayed at a monastery in Suceava after she was declared missing is being verified at the moment. According to Stoica, police officers in Suceva searched all the monasteries and churches in the county in the last few days and she was not found. In fact, the Archdiocese of Suceava and Radauti has rejected this hypothesis.
On the other hand, Constantin Stoica believes, from the point of view of the Church, Iulia Ionescu’s confessor did not break any cannons and did not do anything wrong. Given that after the girl’s disappearance the confessor showed law enforcement officials an e-mail in which she said she wanted to enter the monastery, Stoica underlined the confessor’s advice was clear – the teenager had to wait until she was of age in order to make such a decision. Furthermore, he stressed that no Orthodox monastery is allowed to accept minors into monarchism, and if a minor requests to be allowed in, competent authorities must be contacted.
In turn, Florin Sinescu, prefect of Suceava, stated 112 houses of worship in the county were checked Friday and Saturday as part of a search operation to find Iulia Ionescu, and all persons questioned said they had not seen the girl. Minutes were taken during the search operations.