Madeleine McCann was not quite four years old when she disappeared from her family’s vacation villa in Portugal in 2007. As the years have gone by, her parents–who were at one time suspects in her disappearance–have not stopped searching and hoping that a new lead would turn up; something, anything, to give them closure. Last June, Scotland Yard reopened the case after a 2-year review, and now they say they will begin a dig soon in what is being called a “wasteland” in Portugal, an area of abandoned terrain near the resort where she was last seen.
“The Home Office remains committed to supporting the search for Madeleine McCann. We have agreed to provide the Metropolitan Police with the resources they need to investigate her disappearance,” a Scotland Yard spokesman said in a statement last year.
The dig will make use of radar equipment and dogs, although officials haven’t released an exact start date. Authorities in Portugal have been conducting an investigation into whether Madeleine may have been abducted and taken out of the country, but Scotland Yard believes she was killed. However, they were quick to press the fact that the dig may not yield the answers they’re hoping for.
“It should not be assumed that this substantial upcoming phase of work in Portugal will immediately lead us to the answers that will explain what has happened. What you will see is normal police activity you would expect in any such major investigation,” said Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley.
The dig itself is under tight security, and officials say they have advised local police not to speak to the media or give updates on what is found, if anything. If they do so, or if the media interferes in any way, the search will come to a halt.
The initial investigation has been widely criticized after Portugese police reportedly failed to follow up on potential leads while the case was still hot. As for the McCanns, they believe their daughter is still alive.
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