- (Photo: Metropolitan Police Service)
Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service in the United Kingdom announced Wednesday that the cold case of toddler Madeleine McCann, who went missing five years ago while on a family vacation in Portugal, should be re-opened due to new leads suggesting she may still be alive.
The police announced that due to the discovery of 195 new leads and 40,000 pieces of information, they have reason to believe that McCann, who was three years old when she disappeared, could be found alive.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said that although he will be leading 30 police officers in the reopening of the case, he and his team must still remember the possibility that McCann could in fact be dead.
"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 that she is sadly dead," he said in a statement.
McCann vanished shortly before her fourth birthday on May 3, 2007, while on vacation with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and twin siblings in the Algarve region of Portugal.
She allegedly went missing from an apartment during the evening while her parents were dining at a nearby tapas restaurant.
With the help of the McCann family, police produced a computer-generated image of what McCann would look like at age nine.
The police released this news shortly before McCann's ninth birthday, on May 12, and the anniversary of her May 3 disappearance.
The toddler's case was closed in 2008, after police felt they had exhausted all of their leads. At one point, the child's parents were suspects in the case, but they were eventually cleared.
The case received a large amount of media attention, and both the Portuguese and English police received blistering criticism for their methods of handling the investigation.
According to The Associated Press, the U.K. police have spent $3.2 million on McCann's investigation so far.
The Metropolitan Police officials said they have been collaborating closely with Portugal's Policia Judaria, the McCann family, U.K. law enforcement agencies, and private investigators over the past five years.