World News

Girl in Moroccan photo "not Madeleine": report

LONDON (Reuters) - A photograph taken in Morocco of a fair-haired child bearing a striking resemblance to Madeleine McCann is not the missing four-year-old, Sky Television reported on Wednesday.

Citing unofficial sources, Sky said the girl in the picture had been tracked down and was understood to be from a local farming family.

The photograph of the child being carried on a woman’s back in a sling was taken by a Spanish tourist in northern Morocco last month.

Parents Kate and Gerry McCann are anxiously awaiting the opinions of British, Portuguese and Spanish authorities who are examining the picture.

“There have been lots of different sightings over the last few months, all of which -- no matter how well-intentioned -- have come to nothing,” said the family’s spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, before the Sky report.

“You can imagine the emotional ups and downs that that causes Gerry and Kate, so they’re simply not getting into commenting at every stage.”

It was the fourth suspected sighting of Madeleine in Morocco.

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A Norwegian woman believes she saw the girl at a petrol station in Marrakesh, a second suspected sighting was near a hotel in Rabat and another woman from northern Morocco has also come forward to say she believes she saw the youngster.

“Hopefully, this not only will lead to finding Madeleine, of course, but if it helps bring the focus of everything back on to the search for her, that’s all for the good as well,” said Mitchell.”

Madeleine went missing on May 3 while her family were on holiday in Portugal triggering an international search and a high-profile campaign.

Portuguese police have named her parents as suspects, but they deny any involvement and say they believe she is still alive.

Additional reporting by Stefano Ambrogi