Madeleine McCann: Investigators looking for missing UK girl want additional funds to continue search
Scotland Yard has now asked the UK Home Office to provide one more year of funding to find missing girl Madeleine McCann. The Home Office received the official request from the investigators on March 1 as the existing funding for Operation Grange is slowly drying up. So far, the investigation had spent more than £11 million ($15 million) on trying to locate Madeleine who went missing in Portugal on May 3, 2007 when she was three years old, while her parents were having dinner nearby at a tapas restaurant.
The detectives are hoping that the extra funding, which will be able to help the investigations continue until March 2020, will bring new hope to finding the girl, reported the Daily Mail.
The Metropolitan Police commissioner Cressida Dick had reportedly backed the operation, which cost £11.75 (approximately $15 million) million so far, in December last year and has stood up for the search of the missing British girl.
In November last year, the investigation into the missing child's disappearance had been given £150,000 ($198,150) in funding from the Home Office. In a statement at the time, the Home Office said: "We have received and are considering a request from the Metropolitan Police Service to extend funding for Operation Grange until the end of March 2019. The Home Office maintains an ongoing dialogue with the MPS regarding."
Madeleine vanished in 2007 from the bed that she slept in with her twin siblings Sean and Amelie while the family was on holiday in an apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal. After a request was made by the then-Home Secretary Theresa May, the investigation into the child's disappearance was launched in May 2011 and about 600 "persons of interest" were investigated.
During these investigations, the officers sat down and translated around 40,000 documents that were given to them by the Portuguese authorities. In 2015, however, the British investigations into the girl's disappearance were reduced from a team of 29 investigators to only four. Scotland Yard insisted that they would keep the search going but with a "smaller team".
At the end of 2018, Madeleine's parents, 50-year-olds Kate and Gerry McCann from Rothley, Leicestershire, promised that they would never give up the search for their missing daughter in an emotional message.
A spokesperson for the couple, Clarence Mitchell, said: "Kate and Gerry are extremely grateful to the Metropolitan Police for making a new funding application and whilst they know it is not guaranteed they are hoping it will be approved."
"It shows that officers are still doing everything they can to get a resolution after all this time. And it gives them hope that one day they may finally find out what happened to their daughter. It gives them the belief there is still work left to be done."
Scotland Yard's interest in getting the special grant, however, will not be approved so easily and will need to be "carefully considered" on the possible orders of Home Secretary Sajid Javid.
A spokesperson for the Home Office said: "We have received and are considering a request from the MPS (Metropolitan Police Service) to extend funding for Operation Grange until the end of March 2020."