British police identify new leads in Madeleine McCann case

LONDON Fri May 17, 2013 3:41pm EDT

Kate and Gerry McCann are seen in front of a computer generated image of how their missing daughter Madeleine might look now, during a news conference in London May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

Kate and Gerry McCann are seen in front of a computer generated image of how their missing daughter Madeleine might look now, during a news conference in London May 2, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Andrew Winning

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LONDON (Reuters) - British police said on Friday they had identified people they want to question about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old who went missing in Portugal six years ago.

Madeleine disappeared from her room at a holiday resort in the Algarve, Portugal, on May 3, 2007, as her parents dined at a nearby restaurant, sparking a global manhunt and transfixing the world's media.

Speaking to the Evening Standard newspaper, Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, head of Scotland Yard's Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: "There are a lot of people of interest," without saying how many.

"There are people who could be properly explored further, if only to be eliminated."

British police confirmed they had identified people of interest but said they had not asked Portuguese police to arrest anyone.

Despite reported sightings the world over, the fate of Madeleine McCann remains a mystery.

Her parents Kate and Gerry were named as official suspects by Portuguese police four months after their daughter's disappearance, but in 2008 were cleared.

"Kate and Gerry remain very, very pleased with the work that Scotland Yard are doing and have been encouraged by Operation Grange from the day it began," the McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell was quoted as saying by the British media.

British Prime Minister David Cameron ordered a new investigation by London police after the McCanns wrote to him in 2011 saying neither British nor Portuguese authorities had done enough to try to find their daughter.

(Reporting by Dasha Afanasieva; editing by Guy Faulconbridge and Andrew Roche)

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