Missing girl Madeleine McCann, who vanished while on a family vacation in Portugal five years ago, may be alive, British police said yesterday.
London’s Metropolitan Police said they are still investigating the disappearance of the girl, who vanished shortly before her fourth birthday in May 2007.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said he is leading a team of more than 30 police officers who are focusing on the case. Police said they believe there is a possibility she is alive, but they also have to consider that she may be dead.
Portuguese police closed their investigation in 2008, but Scotland Yard says it wants the case reopened.
Redwood said his officers are reviewing all the evidence that has been gathered so far by British and Portuguese police, and by private investigators hired by McCann’s parents.
He said he has made seven visits to Portugal and is working closely with Portuguese police officers. He said he also has regular contact with the missing girl’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.
He said forensic evidence of the sequence of events surrounding her disappearance shows that there are moments when she could have been snatched by criminals.
Police said they would release a new image of the girl, who would now be nine years old if she were alive.
There has been no reliable indication of what might have happened to the girl, despite numerous reported sightings around the world.
Her disappearance has drawn global media attention, partly because her parents were at one point questioned as suspects by Portuguese police. They were cleared of any part in the disappearance.
Kate and Gerry McCann have since headed a campaign to keep the case in the public eye, publishing a book and appearing on the Oprah Winfrey Show to tell their story.
British police said the investigation has cost ￡2 million (US$3.2 million) so far.