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Portuguese Police Reportedly Looking At 'New Clue' And 'New Suspect' In Madeleine McCann Case

The nearly 4-year-old Madeleine McCann vanished 12 years ago while on vacation with her parents in Portugal.

By Gina Tron
5 Things to Know About the Madeleine McCann Case

Police in Portugal are reportedly looking at a new suspect in the case of Madeleine McCann, one of the most publicized and controversial missing persons cases in the world.

The news came on the 12th anniversary of McCann’s disappearance. The British toddler, who had a distinctive dark strip on the iris of her right, blue-green eye, vanished on May 3, 2007 while on vacation with her family in Portugal’s Praia da Luz, only a few days before her 4th birthday. Called "the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history” by The Telegraph in 2008, the McCann case has been the subject of intense media scrutiny, most recently in the form of an eight-part Netflix documentary.

Has there been any progress in the case? Possibly.

The Polícia Judiciária (known simply as the PJ) in Portugal are reportedly looking into a “new clue and a new suspect” according to Portuguese outlet Correio da Manha.

The outlet claims that investigators have been granted additional resources to pursue new leads, though specifics are scarce.

A self-identified friend of the McCanns told the Telegraph that they have doubts over reports of the new lead.

"It is just odd that news of this possible new lead has come out of the anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance and we’re wondering if it could have been made up," the told the British broadsheet.

The McCanns' spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said the family isn't discussing the latest potential news.

"We will not be commenting whatsoever on operational details in either Britain or Portugal," he told the Telegraph. "We are not in a position to talk about it.”

Meanwhile, in England, Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick confirmed to British tabloid Metro that his department is considering applying for more funds to continue its search for the missing girl, operating under the title Operation Grange. Scotland Yard told the Mirror that the investigation is ongoing and that they are “not providing a running commentary."

McCann’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann believe their daughter was abducted from her bed while they were having dinner with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant. Kate and Gerry put their children to bed, leaving Madeleine and her 2-year-old twin siblings as they ate at the restaurant just 75 yards away. They say a member of their group checked on the children about every 30 minutes. Everything seemed fine at a 9 p.m. check, the parents recalled.

When they arrived home that evening about an hour later, Kate said she at first didn't realize that her daughter was missing.

Over the years, countless theories have been explored about what happened to Madeleine. In 2017, The Telegraph has summarized some of those theories: “[T]hat Madeleine was abducted by a pedophile; that she was killed during a bungled burglary and her body dumped; that she was abducted by traffickers and sold to a childless couple; that she wandered out of the apartment and died in a tragic accident.”

After weeks of investigation, the Portuguese police identified the McCanns themselves as suspects, but the parents were cleared of any suspicion in 2008.