Official says no new leads in Madeleine McCann case

Posted at 2:27 PM, Apr 26, 2012
and last updated 2012-04-26 14:27:30-04

By the CNN Wire Staff

(CNN) – Portuguese police have found no reason to reopen an inquiry into the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann during a 2007 family vacation in Portugal, a senior police official said Thursday.

Pedro do Carmo, deputy head of the Portuguese police, told CNN an independent team of detectives had been sifting through the evidence from the initial investigation for the past two months.

They “have found no new evidence that might provide the basis for a reopening of the investigation,” he said.

It comes a day after London’s Metropolitan Police suggested Madeleine could still be alive and that its officers are developing “genuinely new material.”

The London force released a new image Wednesday created in collaboration with the family that shows how Madeleine might look at age 9. Her ninth birthday is May 12.

Madeleine was a few days shy of her fourth birthday when she disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz as her parents dined in a nearby tapas restaurant with friends.

Despite a huge police investigation, massive coverage in the Portuguese and British media, and a public riveted on social media, she remains missing.

Portuguese investigators closed the case in July 2008.

Do Carmo said any decision to reopen the case in Portugal would be made by the country’s Public Ministry.

The police have informed the ministry that there is no evidence that is new, consistent and credible to warrant such a move, he said.

The independent team of Portuguese detectives has no deadline to wrap up its investigation, he added.

In Britain, officers have been working on an investigative review set up by the Met Police in May last year.

The Met did not disclose any details on potential new leads found by its detectives in its statement Wednesday.

“As a result of evidence uncovered during the review, they now believe there is a possibility Madeleine is still alive and are appealing for anyone who is able to provide direct information as to her whereabouts to contact the team,” the force said.

Investigators are combing through about 100,000 pages of information for more details, authorities said.

“The intention is to identify from that material, investigative opportunities which we will then present to the Portuguese authorities who retain primacy for the investigation,” police said. “Officers have so far identified around 195 such opportunities within the historic material, and are also developing what they believe to be genuinely new material.”

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who is leading a team of more than 35 officers focused on the McCann case, said they “will continue to put Madeleine McCann at the heart of everything we do.” Redwood has visited Portugal seven times since the disappearance and has regular contact with the girl’s parents.

The investigation is split equally down two lines — one assuming that Madeleine is dead, the other that she is alive, police said.

Since her disappearance, her parents have appealed for help and said there’s a chance she may still be alive. Frequent reports of sightings of her in various parts of the world have sparked wide interest. Last year, a report of a girl bearing a resemblance to the child created a spike on social media.

CNN’s Isa Soares contributed to this report.