Madeleine McCann: new leads five years after disappearance

May 8, 2012

Police search for German couple after witness says she saw Madeleine on Spain's Costa Del Sol

FIVE YEARS after Madeleine McCann mysteriously disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Portugal, detectives are investigating a number of new leads.

A holiday maker has told The Sun that she saw a blonde girl identical to Madeleine three days after the three-year-old went missing from Praia da Luz in Portugal on 3 May 2007.

Karen Sisson, from Gibraltar, believes the girl was at a campsite on Spain's Costa del Sol, just a few hours drive from Praia da Luz. The toddler was wearing a pink T-shirt, shorts and a beige hat for two days in a row and seemed "out of it". Sisson tells the newspaper: "She seemed alienated and completely different to her family. It really was most peculiar."

The German family, who checked in under the name of Karsten Mayer, apparently paid extra for bringing one child more than expected when they arrived at the site on 6 May 2007. But Sisson claims she had no response from police when she reported the sighting at the time.

Another witness told the Evening Standard last week that he had seen Madeleine the night after she had disappeared. Antonio Castela, a 72-year-old taxi driver, claims he picked her up with four adults near the Spanish border in the Algarve, about an hour's drive from Praia da Luz. He claims the girl wore pink pyjamas and was awake but did not speak and was just "staring ahead" as though she had been drugged. He drove them two miles to Vila Real de Santo Antonio, where they got into a blue jeep and drove away.

Castela, who is believed to be a crucial witness by the McCanns, claims he was also ignored by police when he first raised the alarm.

Scotland Yard, which last year launched a £2m review of all known evidence in the case, claims there are 195 new leads and believe Madeleine is still alive. Last month, they released two new images of what she might look like now, while Kate and Gerry McCann (above with the image) have said they are feeling "probably as positive" as they had been for a long time. However, Portuguese police are yet to reopen the case.

Today the McCanns were horrified by a website that used a photo of their missing daughter to advertise holidays in Portugal. They described the advert, used by to illustrate deals offered by, as "vile". The travel firm said it had no advertising contract with the website and had been trying to get the image removed.

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