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Romanian Minister Fired Over Remarks About Teenage Girl's Death

Romanian Education Minister Ecaterina Andronescu
Romanian Education Minister Ecaterina Andronescu

Romania's education minister has been dismissed over her remarks about the alleged kidnapping, rape, and murder of a teenage girl.

Prime Minister Viorica Dancila said on August 2 that Ecaterina Andronescu's remarks showed a "lack of understanding."

Andronescu is the latest top official to be fired or forced to step down amid public outrage over the case of 15-year-old Alexandra Macesanu, who was kidnapped on July 24 while trying to hitchhike to her home in a village near the southern Romanian city of Caracal.

Andronescu said on television that she was taught "not to get in cars with strangers."

Andronescu said she did not intend to blame the victim or her parents.

Romania's national police chief was fired on July 26 amid criticism that it took police 19 hours last week to locate Macesanu, who had called the national emergency dispatcher three times giving clues about her location.

On July 27, thousands of people protested in the capital, Bucharest, over the slow response by police to Macesanu's disappearance.

Romania's interior minister announced on July 30 that he was stepping down effective immediately.

Police said they found Macesanu's bones and DNA at the site where she was thought to be held -- a disused automobile-repair shop.

The owner of the building, 65-year-old Gheorghe Dinca, admitted to murdering both Macesanu and 18-year-old Luiza Melencu, missing since April.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP

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