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British Police Launch Inquiry Into Missing Madeleine McCann

posted 5 Jul 2013, 05:45 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 5 Jul 2013, 05:46 ]

British police launch a new inquiry into the disappearance of a girl who vanished inPortugal six years ago, saying they believe she may still be alive.

 UNITED KINGDOM  (MCCANN FAMILY VIA ITN) -  British police said on Thursday (July 4) they had begun their own investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, who vanished inPortugal six years ago at age three, saying they had new leads and had identified 38 potential suspects.

McCann went missing from her room at the Praia da Luz holiday resort in the Algarve on May 2007 while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant, leading to a global search that gripped the world's media.

"Well we, in consultation with our Portuguese colleagues, are absolutely committed, absolutely committed to finding out what happened to Madeleine McCann," said Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood. "We have identified 38 persons of interest, and within that 12 who are UK nationals and it is from that position that we have been able to move from review to investigation."

Despite massive international interest and numerous reported sightings fromBelgium and Spain to MoroccoFrance and Malta, and investigations stretching as far away as Australia, the little girl's fate remains a mystery.

Since 2011, British detectives have made 16 trips to Portugal and pulled together thousands of documents collected from Britain, Portugal and private investigators from seven different companies who had worked on the case.

That had led to "in excess of 3,800 actions", yielding new findings and new evidence from witnesses, they said.

"Yes well, those 38 people in total from a number of European countries and obviously the inquiries that we seek to undertake will be to understand more about what role, if any, they played in Madeleine's disappearance," said Detective Chief Inspector Redwood

London police launched a review of the case in 2011 after Madeleine's parents wrote to British Prime Minister David Cameron saying not enough was being done to find their daughter.

"Over the last two years the review has told me is that there is no clear definitive proof that Madeleine McCann is dead. And so on that basis I still genuinely believe that there is a possibility that she's alive," said Redwood.

Officers from his team have now formally requested that Britain's Crown Prosecution Service submit a letter to the Portuguese authorities asking for help in obtaining evidence relating to potential leads.

"Kate and Gerry warmly welcome the shift in the Met's emphasis from review to investigation," the McCanns said in a statement to media.