Drogheda Independent

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Local family may be key to new Maddie probe


A POSSIBLE sighting of Madeleine Mccann by a Drogheda family on the night she disappeared could be crucial in a new probe into her disappearence.

Members of the Smith family from Maple Drive revealed to police investigators that they saw a man carrying a young child through the streets of Praia da Luz on the night she went missing, May 3 2007, from her family's apartment on the Algarve.

Their statement is still regarded as being ' totally credible' by sources.

A team of detectives from Porto in Portugal and Scotland Yard are to look over thousands of pages of case files in a bid to unearth new clues, hoping to bring an end to one of the most high profile disappearences in history. Thirty murder squad Britain

officers are now

from on the case, termed Grange.

Reports state that Martin Smith and family members left Kelly's Bar in the resort around 10 p.m. and passed a man walking down the middle of the street, carrying a girl, about 3-4 years old.

It was claimed the child's head was lying against the man's left shoulder and the arms hanging down alongside the body.

Madeleine was almost four when she was reported missing by parents, Gerry and Kate McCann.

At the time the family thought little about it and headed for home the following day but later images from Portugal surrounding the case triggered their memories of the chance meeting.

They travelled to Portugal to give statements on

Operation what they had seen. It was also claimed that the police intended to organise a re-construction of what they saw at the location, in an effort to further jog their memory.

Their evidence has always been regarded as significant, although they couldn't definitively identify the individual concerned.

Detectives have now begun the trawl through the files with the British police visiting Portugal at least four times in the search for new clues.

If new leads can be established, the case can be re-opened, likely to lead to further forensic examination of the Smith's statement.

Madeleine's parents remain convinced their daughter, who would be nine shortly, is still alive and want the case reopened.

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