New Zealand authorities conduct DNA test on Madeleine McCann look-alike

Published February 08, 2013

| FoxNews.com

Authorities in New Zealand are testing DNA from a child said to closely resemble missing British girl Madeleine McCann, who disappeared six years ago from a resort in Portugal, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

The DNA sample is being obtained at the request of Scotland Yard, according to the newspaper. The McCann look-alike is reportedly said to have a coloboma of the iris -- the same rare eye defect that McCann has, and is approximately nine years old, like Madeleine. 

McCann disappeared in May 2007, shortly before her fourth birthday, while vacationing with her parents and young siblings in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Her disappearance sparked a media frenzy and international manhunt, leading to several false sightings in Portugal and elsewhere. British detectives have traveled to Portugal many times during the course of the investigation, and have said the girl may still be alive.

The request for the DNA sample came after a store clerk in Queenstown contacted authorities. New Zealand police were reportedly alerted to the same look-alike at least five times over the past five years and are "absolutely satisfied" the child is not McCann. 

The girl disappeared from an unlocked ground-floor bedroom at the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz, while he parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were dining at a restaurant about 130 yards away. The McCanns were at one point named as suspects by Portuguese authorities, but were later cleared.

The results of the DNA test are not expected for several weeks.

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