NOW A 'PHOTO' OF MADELEINE IN MOROCCO Wednesday September 26, 2007
A PHOTO has emerged that could prove Madeleine McCann is alive and being held in Morocco.
Interpol is investigating the picture of a very frightened blonde girl being carried by a gang of Moroccans.
It was taken from a car window by a Spanish couple in Zinzat, in the north of the African country on August 31. The group was walking along a road in the direction of Tangiers and the blonde head of the little girl can be seen behind a woman's shoulder. Another previously unreported sighting in Morocco came to light yesterday. Another Spanish woman claims she saw Madeleine at the end of May but when she reported it to Portuguese authorities they told her: "It can't be Madeleine because we believe she is dead. Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry are being kept informed of developments. The photograph is now in the hands of their London lawyers who are considering whether it should be passed to Leicestershire police and then the couple. The Spanish couple were so struck by her likeness to pictures they had seen of Madeleine that they emailed the image to police based in their home city of Albecete, in south-east Spain.
The little girl looked so similar to Madeleine that officers passed on the photograph to Interpol. Spanish Government official Jose Herrero Arcas confirmed the development. He said: “The National Police received a photograph by email taken by a young Spanish couple who believe it shows Madeleine McCann. The quality of the photograph is not very clear and it was taken from around 200 metres away. “However, the National Police are taking the claim seriously enough to have sent it on to their colleagues at Interpol. I cannot give any more information than that.” Clara Torres, the Spanish woman who took the photo, told of the chilling moment she realised she may have taken a photograph of the little girl. And she said has spoken about it to the McCanns. She told Spanish radio station COPE: “I was taking photos of everything we saw, and we saw a group of people and took a photo. “As soon as I took the photo we were struck by the little girl, who was very blonde. “We said the name of the girl, but we couldn’t believe it could be here. “When we arrived back in Spain we downloaded the card of photographs onto our computer.
“Then yesterday we heard on the news that there were various people who said they had seen Madeleine in Morocco. I ran to the computer, downloaded the photos and started to amplify the photo and when we saw it we realised yes, it could be her. It sent shivers down my spine. “The first thing we did was to call the police. They took a CD with all the photos. They told us they would take 10 to 15 days to get the results back from the photos. I thought that was a long time considering how important these photos are.” The second sighting in Morocco to emerge yesterday – which brings the total to four – was made by a Spanish mother who told Portuguese detectives that she was convinced she had seen Madeleine – who disappeared in May 3 – in the north-eastern town of Zaio at the end of May. The witness said she spotted the girl being dragged across a busy street by a Muslim woman wearing a traditional headdress. She tried to give chase but lost the pair in a crowd. Her suspicions were immediately raised by the unusual sight.
The little girl, who was wearing a skirt and short-sleeved top, had her hair tied up and was wearing a hat. She became convinced it was Madeleine after seeing her face when a gust of wind blew her hat off. The witness, who asked for her identity to be kept secret, said: “I saw her face very clearly from close up and I know it was Madeleine. She looked very sad and scared. I shouted, ‘It’s the girl from the television!’ to my husband and ordered him to stop. “But by the time we pulled over and ran back to where she had crossed, they had both vanished.” She said yesterday: “I am totally convinced it was Madeleine and I cannot believe the sighting was not even investigated.”
The claim shows Portugese detectives had already abandoned the theory they were looking for an abductor as early as four weeks after Madeleine disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz. The two other Moroccan sightings of Madeleine took place on May 9 in Marrakech – one at a petrol stationn on the outskirts of the city and the rother at the nearby Hotel Ibis. Both accounts were given to the police independently and without knowledge of the other. Yet incredibly detectives in Portugal failed to follow either up at the time they were reported. A friend of the McCanns said: “Kate and Gerry believe the Morocco sightings were vital. They are furious they weren’t followed up properly by police. They should have been fully investigated and publicised.”
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