PARIS — French authorities have handed preliminary kidnapping charges to a 34-year-old man in the case of a 9-year-old girl who went missing from a wedding celebration in France.

Grenoble prosecutor’s office said late Sunday that the man attended the same wedding last month. The suspect was one of two men detained then released last week without charges after being questioned.

The prosecutor’s office said the man denied any wrongdoing but his explanation “did not convince investigation judges,” who charged him with “kidnapping, illegal confinement or arbitrary detention of a minor of less than 15 years.”

Several French media reported that DNA traces of the girl were found in the suspect’s car.

Bernard Meraud, the lawyer representing the suspect, told BFMTV channel that the DNA traces of the girl were found only because the missing child had played inside his client’s vehicle with another child.

“His dogs were mentioned during the party so the children, as they were playing outside, came to him and asked to see his dogs in his car,” Meraud said. “He opened the door, turned over the passenger front seat, the children went on the back seat, looked inside the boot and came out. That’s it.”

The girl, identified as Maelys De Araujo by Grenoble prosecutors, was last seen on Aug. 27 at the village hall in Pont-de-Beauvoisin, 85 kilometers (53 miles) from Lyon in southeastern France.

Police have questioned more than 200 potential witnesses and hundreds of volunteers have helped searching the area, but the girl was still missing on Monday morning. Police dogs found the girl’s scent but lost it in the hall’s parking lot, suggesting she may have been forced into a vehicle or gotten into one voluntarily.

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