In the 10 years since three-year-old Madeleine McCann went missing from a Portugal hotel the prevailing theory has been that she was abducted.
Now, a crime expert claims that is “unlikely” to be the case and that another theory makes far more sense.
‘Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann’ author Pat Brown, who has analysed the case, said the evidence implicates the British girl’s parents, not a stranger.
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The investigative criminal profiler told News.com.au that Scotland Yard was “wasting time and money” searching for the little girl.
“Madeleine is dead,” Brown told the news site.
“There’s no point spending all of this money as nothing they do is going to make that child alive.”
Brown said the evidence in the case “does not support an abduction” and instead points to an accidental death that was “covered up”.
"The evidence supports the theory of an accident occurring through neglect and possible medication," she said.
"It’s my belief the body was moved to a desolate location and will never be found."
Brown says it was "extremely unlikely" the little girl was abducted to join a child sex ring because children in poor areas of Portugal would be easier targets, "even blonde ones".
Pat Brown is not the only investigator to suggest that Madeleine's abduction was a "cover-up" for her death.
Former detective Goncalo Amaral, who led the initial investigation after she was reported missing, alleges the parents faked the abduction in his book, 'The Truth of the Lie'.
Kate and Gerry McCann were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant in the evening of 3 May 2007 when their daughter disappeared from the family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal.
They have always denied involvement in her death and were formally dropped as suspects in 2008.
About £11.1 million ($A17.9 million) has been spent looking for Madeleine - money Brown claimed could have been spent searching for other missing children.
The British police investigating her disappearance were recently granted £85,000 ($A136,940) to extend the search for a further six months based on a new lead.