'Madeleine McCann Found' Hopes Dismissed as Family Confirms False Sighting

A spokesman has said Thursday that the parents of Madeleine McCann, who was kidnapped four years ago, have denied the girl spotted in India is their daughter.

An alleged Madeleine McCann sighting in India sparked massive media interest this week, as a girl bearing a remarkable likeness to Madeleine, who disappeared four years ago, was spotted in India’s northern city of Leh.

However, the family has quickly moved to play down these reports, with their family spokesman saying that Kate and Gerry McCann have seen photos of the girl alleged to have been Madeleine, and that she is not their daughter.

According to The Daily Mail the parents have said they are “certain” that the girl identified in India is not Madeleine.

Clarence Mitchell, a spokesman for the McCann’s said: “Kate and Gerry do not believe the child seen in India was Madeleine. They have seen photographic evidence and concluded that it was not her.

“We remain grateful for people's vigilance around the world. Madeleine is still out there and the search for her very much continues.”

Madeleine McCann was just three-years-old when she was kidnapped from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007. The kidnapping sparked a worldwide search for the girl, and intense media speculation about the exact details of the night she went missing.

Madeleine would now be eight-years-old.

The alleged sighting was made in India’s northern city of Leh, which lies alongside the Himalayas. The sighting was reported to have come from a British tourist, who alongside other witnesses claimed that the girl spotted had an uncanny resemblance to the much-publicized pictures of Madeleine.

According to the Chandigarh Tribune events became heated and an American tourist was said to have tried to take the girl from the couple she was with. The girl was being accompanied by a Belgian man and a French woman.

Local police were called to the scene and allegedly made copies of the couple’s passports. The couple, however, insisted that the girl was their daughter.

A spokesman for Leh police told local media: “It all depends upon the evidence like DNA for which help from Madeleine's parents and the British police was required.”

However, the hopes of Madeleine’s parents, and of thousands of well-wishers across the globe who took to twitter and Facebook to discuss the sighting, have been dashed by the announcement today.

Madeleine’s parents continue to search for their daughter and are convinced she may still be alive somewhere. They recently penned a book describing the events surrounding her disappearance, hoping that the proceeds can help extend the search for Madeleine.

Portuguese police officially closed the inquiry into the girl’s disappearance in three years ago in 2008, and the McCann’s have since then relied solely on private detectives to continue the search for their daughter.