Madeleine McCann disappeared from a vacation resort in 2007, and because her parents never stopped trying to find her, the case has been reopened despite the passage of time in the hopes that someone saw something, anything, that might lead police to her captor. Now, a set of computer-generated images--based on witness descriptions--have been released to the public, and thousands of people have responded with phone calls and emails to investigators.
Scotland Yard detectives have teamed up with police from Portugal--where Madeleine was last seen--for the past two years to comb through piles of evidence and witness testimony in order to build a new case, and say they definitely have new leads. Unfortunately, it will take time to go through it all, and the same can be said for the public response to the suspect images. The pictures are a composite of the same man, described by two different witnesses who say they saw him carrying a young blonde girl away from the area where Madeleine's family was vacationing.
"Detectives are now trawling through and prioritizing that material. This will take time," Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said.
Investigators stress that this man--who is described as white, between the ages of 20 and 40 and possibly speaking with a German accent--may be completely innocent. However, they need to track him down in order to rule him out.
“Whilst this man may or may not be the key to unlocking this investigation, tracing and speaking to him is of vital importance to us. We have witnesses placing him in the resort area around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance,” said Redwood. “This is far from our only line of inquiry and there will be e-fits released of other sightings as well, who we are equally keen to trace. These people were seen on the day of Madeleine’s disappearance and the days leading up to it.”