Detectives believe there is a possibility that Madeleine McCann is still alive.

25 April 2012

Image of Madeleine McCann - age progressed to age 9

Detectives from the Metropolitan Police Service conducting the investigative review into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are releasing an age progression image of her as we approach her ninth birthday on 12 May.

The image has been created in close collaboration with the family and is being released ahead of the fifth anniversary of her disappearance on 3 May. It shows how we believe Madeleine would look today.

"we are releasing the age progression image today with a specific appeal"

The release comes as detectives announce that 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 investigative review commenced in May 2011 under the leadership of the then commissioner, Sir Paul Stephenson. A murder team within the Homicide and Serious Crime Command was tasked to conduct the review and is led by Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood acting to Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell and Commander Simon Foy.

Work of the team involves close collaboration with a senior investigating officer from the Policia Judaria and detectives have been to Portugal several times.

Throughout the course of the review officers have been in close contact with the McCann family who have been assigned a Family Liaison Officer as is standard in accordance with national family liaison policy.

The review team are in a unique position in that their task is to compile and review material from three separate strands - the Portuguese investigation, inquiries by UK law enforcement agencies, and the work of private investigators/agencies.

Officers are now methodically going through that material which they believe amounts to around 40,000 pieces of information equating to approximately 100,000 pages.

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. 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.

The objective of the review team is to work with the Portuguese authorities with a view to having the case, which has remained closed since 2008, re-opened in due course.

DCI Andy Redwood said: “From the outset we have approached this review with a completely open mind, placing Madeleine McCann at the heart of everything we do. We are working on the basis of two possibilities here. One is that Madeleine is still alive; and the second that she is sadly dead.

“Based on the former we are releasing the age progression image today with a specific appeal.

“If you know where Madeleine McCann is now or you have new direct information/evidence about what has happened to her then please contact us.

“The second point of appeal today is in relation to those who were at the resort of Praia da Luz between 28 April and 3 May 2007. If you were either on holiday or in residence in the resort during this period, particularly in the vicinity of the Ocean Club, and you have not been spoken to by police either here or in Portugal then please call us on 0800 0961011 if you are within the UK. The number for non-UK residents is +44 2071580 126. Alternatively if you do not want to speak to us directly you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”