Maddie McCann's mystery disappearance: New developments in the search 10 years later
It’s been more than a decade since British toddler Madeleine McCann went missing from her parents’ holiday apartment on May 3, 2007 in the Algarve, Portugal. And still no one knows what happened to her.
Gerry and Kate McCann, and their three children had been holidaying in the resort Praia da Luz.
The couple had put their children – then three-year-old Maddie and her two-year-old twin siblings Sean and Amelie – to bed and went to dinner at the on-site restaurant with friends.
Maddie disappeared that night and hasn’t been seen since. What followed has been 11 years of emotional pain for her heartbroken parents.
Described as “the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history”, the case has been rife with accusations, denials and conspiracy theories.
Thousands of pounds have been spent in the fruitless search for the little girl. Recently, the money dried up.
But now there’s renewed hope of continuing the search for, if not Maddie, then clues as to what happened to her.
On Tuesday it was announced Scotland Yard had received an amount of £150 000 (about R2,85m) in government funding to continue the investigation, Daily Mail reports.
It’s been reported that since 2011 Scotland Yard has spent £11,75m (about R223,25m) of taxpayers’ money on the investigation, dubbed Operation Grange.
In accordance with British laws, investigators had to reapply for funding every six months in order to continue the investigation. The most recent payment of £85 000 (about R1,6m) was exhausted on September 30.
The Leaving No Stone Unturned fund had been established to help find Maddie.
Within months of its establishment, it had received donations of £1,8m (R34,2m). But in 2009 it came to light that the fund was largely depleted.
In addition – and leading to much criticism – Kate and Gerry, who live in Rothley, Leicestershire, used money from the fund to make two bond repayments on their home.
Another £250 000 (R4,7m) was paid to private investigators, while £123 573 R2,3m) was spent on managing the campaign to find Maddie.
Part of the campaign money was paid to the McCanns’ part-time spokesperson, Justine McGuinness, as well as to a PR company, The Guardian reports.
With the new funds allocated to the Scotland Yard investigation comes new hope for Maddie’s parents. The funds will allow the investigation to continue until March 2019.
The ‘woman in purple’
In November 2017 investigators believed they’d finally found the woman in purple whom witnesses had spotted near the McCanns’ holiday apartment on the night of Maddie’s disappearance.
Self-declared criminologist Heriberto González was convinced the woman was a Bulgarian waitress, Luisa Todorov, who’d been working at the nearby Ocean Club – opposite the apartments where the McCanns had been staying – on the night Maddie disappeared, The Sun reports.
But Luisa says it’s not her. “I’ve no idea about any woman in purple. It wasn’t me. I spoke to the police a long time ago about the Madeleine case,” she told British newspaper the Mirror.
“I don’t really want to talk about it. Nobody around here does. It brings back lots of bad memories.”
Sources: dailymail.co.uk, theguardian.com, findmadeleine.com, thesun.co.uk, bbc.com, theweek.co.uk, mirror.co.uk