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Portugal police refuse to reopen case of missing Madeleine McCann

 

Citing a lack of new evidence, Portuguese police will not reopen the Madeleine McCann missing child case, despite British police claiming Wednesday to have 195 new leads.

"There are no new elements at the moment that would allow for the reopening of the inquiry," Pedro do Carmo, deputy head of the Portugal criminal police department reportedly told AFP.  

The decision comes one day after British police reviewing McCann's disappearance said they believed she could still be alive five years after she vanished.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood of Scotland Yard's Homicide and Serious Crime Command said he is leading a team of 37 police officers who have been reviewing 40,000 pieces of evidence gathered since May.

"As we have always said, the prosecution will only reopen the case if there are new, credible and relevant facts, and not on the basis of hypothesis or speculation," a spokesman for the Portuguese police station reportedly told AFP.

"We would like the case to be reopened; our case is clear," Redwood told reporters Wednesday. "I should stress quite clearly that the decision is in Portugal."

But do Carmo reportedly told AFP that Portuguese police have received, "no formal request for the reopening of the inquiry."

British police also released a new image Wednesday of what McCann would likely look like today.

The then 3-year-old disappeared May 3, 2007, while on a trip to Portugal with her family. The case sparked global interest as images of the girl beamed around the world, and her parents were briefly considered suspects before later being cleared.

Redwood said forensic evidence of the sequence of events around her disappearance shows there are moments when she could have been snatched by criminals. He said he had an "open mind" on who could have abducted her, but was asking for the help of Portuguese authorities, who closed the case in 2008.

He acknowledged that police have to consider that McCann may be dead despite hopes that she is alive.

"Our drive on both scenarios is of equal measure," he said Wednesday.

A team of Portuguese investigators would continue to “re-examine elements of the inquiry,” in collaboration with British police, do Carmo reportedly told AFP, but added that this practice was normal and did not constitute a reopening of the probe.

There has been no reliable indication of what might have happened to the girl despite numerous reported sightings from around the world.

Redwood said he has had regular contact with the missing girl’s parents.

Among the 195 potential new leads, some of them reportedly have to do with sightings.

The Associated Press and AFP contributed to this report.
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