Police probe sighting of little girl with "strong physical resemblance"
to Maddy seen in town near Malaga
Vanished: Madeleine was just days short of
her fourth birthday when she vanished from Praia da Luz on
May 3, 2007
Police in Spain are investigating a fresh sighting of missing Madeleine
McCann almost five years after she disappeared.
Officers in Portugal received a tip-off 10 days ago regarding a little
girl with "strong physical resemblance" to Maddy being spotted in the
town of Nerja, near Malaga, southern Spain.
Local newspaper Diario Sur reports that officers in the Specialist and
Violent Crime Unit (UDEV) have begun investigating the possible sighting
which comes a month after police in Portugal pledged to look into the
case again with British detectives.
Madeleine was just days short of her fourth birthday when she vanished
from Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007 as her parents ate in a tapas bar
nearby with friends.
The couple were made suspects but later cleared of any involvement in
the youngster’s disappearance.
Maddy's parents Kate and Gerry have suffered almost five years of
heartache since their daughter vanished – and frustration as the police
inquiry ground to a halt.
They said they were “pleased” and “grateful” with news last month of the
Heartache: Maddy's parents Kate and Gerry
have suffered heartache and frustration as the police
inquiry ground to a halt
Painful memories: The Algarve hotel where
It is the first time Portuguese authorities have looked at the case
since shelving their much-criticised original probe in 2008.
Crucially, the new team, from Porto, have never worked on the Madeleine
They have been instructed to go over the thousands of pages of case
files. The team will work with more than 30 Scotland Yard detectives
conducting their own cold case investigation.
The Portuguese review is being carried out by the Policia Judiciaria’s
Regional Section of Criminal Investigation and Prevention.
The Scotland Yard review, called Operation Grange, was launched after a
request from Home Secretary Theresa May. Detectives have already made at
least four trips to Portugal and Spain.
Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, Leics, have repeatedly called on Portugal to
resume the search for their daughter, who would now be seven.
Timetable of tears
Madeleine McCann (Pic: PA)
May 3, 2007: Madeleine, three, vanishes from her family’s ground-floor
apartment at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal.
May 15, 2007: British-born Robert Murat is made a formal suspect, or
arguido, following a search of his mother’s home in the resort.
September 7, 2007: Portuguese police declare Madeleine’s parents Kate
and Gerry McCann are also formal suspects in the disappearance.
September 9, 2007: Kate and Gerry return home to Rothley, Leics.
July 21, 2009: Portuguese authorities shelve their investigation and
clear the McCanns and Mr Murat.
May 23, 2011: Home Secretary Theresa May announces a Scotland Yard
review of the McCann case.