Child remains found in suitcase not Madeleine McCann, Australian police say

This March 2007 photo shows three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann.

This March 2007 photo shows three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann.  (AP)

Australian police said Wednesday the remains of a young child found in a suitcase do not belong to missing British girl Madeleine McCann, who disappeared from a resort in Portugal back in 2007.

The announcement came a day after London's Metropolitan Department said it was in contact with Australian authorities over the remains, believed to be those of a young female -- around the same age as McCann -- who they said was likely killed in 2007.

"Missing UK girl Madeleine McCann has been ruled out as the victim in the South Australia Police inquiry into a child's remains found at Wynarka earlier this month," the South Australia Police said in a statement Wednesday.

The remains -- found with a distinctive homemade quilt -- were described by the South Australian Police Department as those of a "fair-haired" child, likely a Caucasian female and between 2 ½ and 4 years old. Based on an examination of the bones, Australian police determined the child was killed "some time since the start of 2007."

Australian police have so far eliminated 43 other missing children as potential victims in the case and said they received more than 500 tips about the remains, discovered July 15 near the Karoonda Highway -- just west of the Wynarka township in the Murray Mallee region of Australia.

McCann was 3 when she was last seen sleeping with her two younger siblings in a vacation villa in the Portuguese resort town of Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.

The international search for the British girl has led police to nearly every corner of the world and yielded thousands of leads over the last eight years, though the case remains unsolved.'s Cristina Corbin contributed to this report.