Madeleine McCann has been on the minds of many over the last several years, since she disappeared without a trace from her family’s vacation villa in Portugal in 2007. She was not quite four years old at the time, and police feared she may have been taken by a man who had reportedly sexually assaulted several girls in the area. But searches of the resort and the surrounding land gave investigators nothing new to work from, and the case was essentially closed until last year, when Scotland Yard requested that the investigation be reopened.
The McCann family–who are from the U.K.–have not given up hope that Madeleine will be found alive, but Scotland Yard believed she may have been killed in the same area they were vacationing in and buried somewhere nearby, prompting a massive dig that began earlier this month. On Wednesday, investigators packed up their equipment and left the dig site, saying no new information had been discovered.
“At this time no evidence relating to Madeleine McCann has been identified. However it has given us an essential understanding of the activity on and people that have used this piece of land. This recent work is part of ensuring that all lines of inquiry are progressed in a systematic manner and covers just the one hypothesis that she was killed and buried locally,” Scotland Yard said in a statement.
The case was officially reopened last year, with Scotland Yard saying they had enough new leads and possible evidence to move on with the case; police in Portugal were widely criticized for their handling of the investigation, with some saying they weren’t thoroughly following up leads and allowed the case to grow cold.
The McCann family were staying at a resort in Praia da Luz when Madeleine went missing. Her parents said they were out at dinner while Madeleine slept with her siblings; the mother, Kate, said she went to check on the children around ten p.m. and discovered Madeleine was missing. There have been witness descriptions of a man who was in the area at the time, but no definitive suspects have been taken into custody.
Anyone with any information about Madeleine’s disappearance is urged to contact investigators at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the investigation line at +44 845 838 4699.
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