The London Metropolitan Police announced they believe it is possible the little girl who disappeared while in Portugal with her parents five years ago is still alive.
The announcement was made today as the anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance approaches. She was last seen by her parents at a Portuguese resort on May 3, 2007.
The official investigation was closed in 2008. However a year ago the Met began a review of material in the case. They are in possession of approximately 100,000 pages of information and evidence that has been gathered since the little girl first went missing. Officers have identified 195 pieces of material they believe is relevant and will forward it to the Portuguese authorities. In addition to old material, officers with the force are examining new material and information.
Accompanying the announcement was an age progression image of what they believe Madeleine would look like today. May 12 will mark her 9th birthday.
DCI Andy Redmond said, From the outset we have approached this review with a completely open mind, placing Madeleine McCann at the heart of everything we do. We are working on the basis of two possibilities here. One is that Madeleine is still alive; and the second is that she is sadly dead.
The London Metropolitan Police are asking anyone who has knowledge of Madeleine's disappearance to contact them. Police would also like to hear from anyone who was at the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz between April 28 and May 3, 2007, and has not yet spoken to British or Portuguese police.
Madeleine disappeared from her family's room at the resort while her parents were having dinner with friends. Kate and Gerry McCann were initially suspected of killing their little girl by police in Portugal but have since been cleared. Redmond, who leads 37 officers in the investigation, is quoted in the Guardian as saying he believes Madeleine's disappearance was the result of "a criminal act of a stranger."
As reported by the Telegraph, there have been various theories during the past five years about what happened to Madeleine. It had been believed she was killed and her body dumped in the ocean, or near a church, or beneath a road. There have been reported sightings of the child in Portugal, Morocco, and as far away as Brazil and New Zealand. And several people besides the McCanns have been suspects in the disappearance but later cleared.
None of these theories or sightings have panned out.
London police want the case re-opened but that decision is up to police in Portugal. Although British police are not saying what new evidence they have, it appears they have something that indicates Madeleine may very well still be alive.