It’s been over a decade since Madeleine McCann vanished from her bed while on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Yet this week, the three-year-old’s name once again in the headlines, as authorities pursue a new lead in an investigation that has spanned multiple borders and cost British taxpayers in excess of £11 million (AU$18.8 million).
According to The Sun, British police have travelled to Bulgaria in search of a woman seen near the Algarve apartment complex around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.
The woman, dressed in purple, was reportedly working nearby as a domestic helper alongside her husband, a now-deceased convicted paedophile.
The couple’s presence was known to police, but investigators were unable to locate them after the little girl vanished.
A source told the outlet, “There is no evidence they were involved but it would be good to eliminate them from the investigation.”
After a year-long investigation by Portuguese police failed to unearth a credible suspect, Metropolitan Police opened their own investigation in 2011, and have since proven dogged in their pursuit of an outcome.
By 2015, they had taken 1,338 statements, collected 1,027 exhibits, and investigated 650 sex offenders and 60 persons of interest, according to The Guardian. Headlines told of a search for a group of British cleaners, probes into a series of burglaries in the area, and the search for a mystery woman seen near the apartment.
Yet, still, there has been no result.
With funding for the search – known as Operation Grange – due to end in September, investigators successfully appealed for an additional £154,000 ($263,300) from the British Home Office, allowing them to continue for a further six months.