NEW LEAD: Police 'honing in' on new man in the unsolved case of missing Maddie McCann

By Almari Wessels
13 March 2017

"They are not suggesting he stole Maddie but he may know people who could have been involved."

In a move that has been described as the “last roll of the dice” to get to the bottom of what happened to little Madeleine McCann almost a decade ago, British authorities have granted investigators an additional £85 000 (about R1,1 million) to continue the probe until September.

The then three-year-old Maddie (as she was affectionately known) went missing in May 2007 while vacationing in Portugal’s Praia da Luz with her parents, Kate and Gerry. Her disappearance from her room while they were dining at a restaurant nearby has baffled and intrigued the public ever since.

Rumours are rife that police are honing in on a former worker at the Ocean Club resort where the McCanns were residing. The Portuguese man in question might hold crucial information that can unlock the mystery behind the blonde girl’s disappearance.

Read more: Another setback for missing Maddie McCann’s parents in fight against ‘fake abduction’ claims

“They're not suggesting he stole Maddie but he may know people who could have been involved,” a Portuguese police officer reportedly said, according to UK paper the Daily Mirror.

But British cops have mostly remained mum on this new lead. When asked about it, a spokesperson simply replied that the investigation by a team of specialist Scotland Yard investigators – called Operation Grange – is “cracking” on. “The Operation Grange team are not prepared to discuss any lines of inquiry while the investigation is ongoing.”

Read more: The internet is convinced the mystery girl ‘living rough’ on the streets of Rome is actually Maddie McCann

The McCanns are extremely grateful for the extra time and money extended to Scotland Yard investigators, a source close to the couple said. The comment comes amidst criticism that time and resources were being wasted in the search for Maddie. “They've never given up hope of finding out what happened to Madeleine, and still believes she could be alive,” the source says.

As the 10th anniversary of Madeleine’s unsolved disappearance approaches, the cost of tracking down the teenager already amounts to almost £13 million (about R169 million). Last year the Operation Grange team was cut down to only four investigators, but the size and scope of the investigation will remain unchanged for the time being. "The inquiry has not reached a conclusion. There are still focused lines of investigation to be pursued. There are no immediate plans to reduce office numbers further at this time,” a spokesperson said of demands to call it quits in the search for Maddie.

Sources: thesun.co.uk, mirror.co.uk, dailymail.co.uk

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