DNA tests have proven that a young girl bearing a resemblance to Madeleine McCann is in fact not her. McCann disappeared on New Year's Eve in Portugal in 2007 and her family has been searching for her ever since.
The latest sighting of a McCann lookalike was in New Zealand; police said they had been contacted more than once by people convinced that the child was McCann. When they finally investigated, they were "absolutely satisfied" the little girl was not McCann. However, the British Police Force investigating the disappearance requested a DNA sample.
The New Zealand family provided a sample of the girl's DNA, which solidified the police's assertion that she was not McCann. Now McCann's family, and the police, are back to square one in their search for the girl who disappeared when she was only three years old.
"Her family has made it very clear that although they appreciate the concerns raised by the public, the family wish to maintain their own and their daughter's privacy," Detective Inspector Steve McGregor told a New Zealand news agency after the DNA results were read.
"Given that there is conclusive evidence that their daughter is not Madeleine McCann and has no connection to Madeleine McCann, it is only right that she and her family are entitled to a level of privacy that most of us enjoy," McGregor added.
In 2007, McCann and her family were on vacation in Portugal when her parents left her and her siblings alone in a ground floor bedroom to dine at a restaurant just yards away. When they returned, Madeleine was gone, in an apparent abduction.
Her parents have maintained that she was kidnapped, and both the Portuguese and British media have followed the story intensely since the disappearance. Numerous tips have been recorded, with the "sighting" in New Zealand just one of the latest. McCann's parents have written a book about their daughter and their experience in order to keep her name in the press and raise funds for continued searches.