Detectives in Britain have launched their own probe into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance and say they have “genuinely new” lines of inquiry and believe there is a chance she is alive.
Scotland Yard officers have identified 38 people of interest, including 12 British nationals, following a two- year review of evidence. None of the 38 are known to Madeleine’s parents.
Madeleine, then aged three, went missing from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal’s Algarve on May 3, 2007, as her parents Kate and Gerry dined at a restaurant nearby with friends.
Despite numerous public appeals in the immediate aftermath and in the years since, officers had seemed no closer to tracing the little girl.
Thousands of possible sightings had been reported all over the world since she went missing. Earlier this year, British police even requested a DNA sample from a girl in New Zealand mistakenly identified as Madeleine, but tests proved it was not her.
According to officers leading the investigation, the 12 British persons of interest were in Portugal at the time Madeleine vanished, and are currently thought to be in Portugal or Britain. The remainder are believed to be in these countries or three other unnamed European nations.
A team of 37 Met police officers and staff are now working on the case. A formal letter of request for help is to be sent to Portuguese authorities.
Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood, who is leading the investigation, said: “We continue to believe that there is a possibility that Madeleine is alive. It is a positive step in our hunt for Madeleine that our understanding of the evidence has enabled us to shift from review to investigation.
“The review has given us new thinking, new theories, new evidence, and new witnesses. We remain in close contact with Kate and Gerry McCann and they are updated on our current position.”
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