The search for Madeleine McCann, the little British girl who went missing in Portugal in 2007 and generated a number of sightings around the world since her disappearance, is being boosted after Portuguese authorities compiled a new team of detectives to aid in the investigation overseen by Scotland Yard.
Madeleine, then 3, disappeared while her family was on vacation in Portugal. Despite a global search and strong interest in the case that yielded dozens of tips and sightings, she has yet to be found.
The investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance was shuttered by Portuguese police on July 28, but now authorities there are adding a new team of detectives to help Scotland Yard, ABC News reported Wednesday.
Meanwhile, British police renewed their investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance last month. Authorities said they have reason to believe she is still alive because they haven’t found evidence that she’s dead. If alive, Madeleine would be 10 years old now. Her birthday is in May.
"We have visited Portugal on 16 occasions," Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood told ABC News. "The Portuguese have worked with us. We are working carefully and closely together now in order to progress this case."
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Scotland Yard has fingered 38 individuals as “persons of interest” in Madeleine’s disappearance, including 12 British citizens who were in Portugal at the time she went missing, ABC News reported.
The new investigation is expected to include the questioning of 73-year-old cab driver Antonio Castela. Castela said he believed he picked up Madeline, two men and a woman in his taxi on the night the 3-year-old disappeared.
News of the renewed investigation came as the lead Portuguese detective handing the original case, Goncala Amaral, faces a libel lawsuit from Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.
The McCanns, both 45, sued Amaral for £1 million, alleging the detective falsely wrote a book contending that they covered up Madeleine’s death.
Amaral’s next court date in the libel case is Sept. 13, but the case is expected to be adjourned to Sept. 19 and Sept. 20, the Daily Star reported. The case is being handled by a court in Lisbon.