Madeleine McCann 'could have wandered off by herself' before she was reported missing, claims UK top cop

The three-year-old girl could have wandered off before coming to harm on the night of her disappearance, suggests a top detective who worked on her case


                            Madeleine McCann 'could have wandered off by herself' before she was reported missing, claims UK top cop

A top detective has claimed that Madeleine McCann "could have wandered off" before she was reported missing. Jim Gamble was the UK's most senior child protection officer working on Maddie's case after she disappeared. Now, the top cop has suggested that the youngster may not have been abducted from her room at all, according to a new report by The Mirror.

"Either someone took her – could be anyone – or in fact she wandered out that night, came to harm and her body has never been discovered. You’ve got to consider the hypothesis that in fact she was taken," Gamble, who was closely involved in the initial search operation, said.

Speaking to The Daily Star, he said, "What we do know is Madeleine is missing."

In this handout photo, released on September 16, 2007, missing child Madeleine McCann smiles. (Getty Images)

But the missing girl's family allegedly does not support this theory. "Kate and Gerry have always maintained that their daughter was abducted and simply didn't get up and wander off to her fate. To suggest this is almost ridiculous," a family source told the outlet. "There were heavy shutters which would have been impossible for a small child to open."

On May 3, 2007, Madeleine went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal when she was just three years old. The Met Police's investigation into her disappearance — dubbed Operation Grange — has now come up with a new theory with Portuguese law enforcement.

"A meeting took place recently at the HQ of the General Attorney's Office, which was attended by the prosecutor from Portimao who is in charge of the Portuguese inquiry. One of the lines of investigation that continues to be pursued is that Maddie could have walked out of the holiday flat herself," a Portuguese source told the paper.

Kate and Gerry McCann hold an age-progressed police image of their daughter during a news conference to mark the 5th anniversary of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, on May 2, 2012, in London, England. (Getty Images)

While £11.6 million ($14.7 million) has already been spent on the 12-year long probe, a further £150,000 was released by Britain's Home Office this year. Meanwhile, investigators are still trying to track down 13 suspects who were reported to be acting suspiciously in and around the resort before the three-year-old girl went missing.

While a series of sketches and e-fits have been released along with several high profile police appeals in the last 12 years, no promising leads have developed as yet. "The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann remains ongoing. We are not providing a running commentary," a Met Police spokesman said.

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