French Police Rule Out Alleged Madeleine McCann Sighting

Police investigating an alleged sighting last week of Madeleine McCann in southern France have determined it was not the missing British girl, a police official said Wednesday.

Investigators had taken seriously a Dutch teenage tourist's account that she believed she had seen McCann alive at a French roadside restaurant near the city of Montpellier on Feb. 15, a police official said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter.

After viewing closed-circuit video footage, police investigators spotted a man and a young girl who indeed resembled the British girl, but determined it was not McCann after a thorough inspection, the official said.

The file has been transferred to a state prosecutor in Montpellier, the official said, declining to provide further information.

On Wednesday, Dutch newspaper De Gelderlander interviewed Melissa Firing, 18, who said she was sure the girl she saw was McCann because of the way she reacted when she called out her name, and because she was able to look her in the eyes.

An adult man accompanying the child took her and left the restaurant quickly afterward, Firing told the newspaper.

McCann has been missing since May 3, 2007 when she disappeared during a family vacation in Praia da Luz in Portugal's Algarve region. There have been numerous alleged sightings, but none has turned up the girl.