Friday 21 October 2016

Madeleine McCann: Police confirm murdered child found in suitcase in Australia is not missing youngster

Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann

Missing Madeleine McCann has been "totally excluded" as the young girl whose remains were found in a suitcase in Australia.

South Australia Police said they had ruled out 43 missing children in connection to the grim discovery next to the Karoonda Highway in Wynarka near Adelaide on July 15.

Detective Superintendent Des Bray said: "I can confirm that Madeleine McCann has been totally excluded as a potential victim and UK police have been advised.”

There was some speculation that the decomposed body of the fair-haired girl could be the missing British child – who disappeared from an apartment in Portugal in 2007 while on holiday with her family.

British police investigating the fate of the missing three-year-old contacted Australian authorities over the discovery of a young girl's remains in a suitcase.

Yesterday it emerged that Madeleine's DNA would be tested against samples from the body.

Speaking about the case, Australian Police Commissioner Grant Stevens said there was "absolutely no evidence" that the child is Madeleine..

He told a parliamentary estimates committee hearing yesterday that: "There is absolutely no evidence at this point in time that the child is Madeleine McCann ... to suggest something like that at this point in time would purely be speculating to get attention.

"We are focusing our inquiries on South Australia but we would be considering any potential missing child. Until we ascertain the identity of the child, we need to be open to all possibilities."

Australian authorities have so far been unable to identify the girl, who is believed to have been dumped on the roadside along with a distinctive blanket around four months ago.

Last week, police said the remains in the suitcase were those of a fair-haired girl aged between two and a half and four who was killed at another location.

South Australian detectives said they now believe the remains date back at least eight years.

Superintendent Des Bray today showed a mannequin of a young girl, with light-coloured hair and wearing a dark leotard and black, sheer skirt, similar to what the child was found wearing, to the media as part of an appeal for information.

He said the girl could have died some years ago as the clothing she was found with, including a black tutu, a pink shoe, a "Dora the Explorer" purple top and red sports shorts, dated as far back at 2007.

 “We want people to think back into the past, look at that little girl, someone must remember that suit - it’s a very distinctive set of clothes,” he said.

“Unfortunately we do not have a definite gender from a forensic point of view of DNA profile, the degradation of the skeletal remains has made this very difficult.

"[However] we are reasonably confident at this time that these are the remains of a girl who had fair hair and was 90-95cm tall," Det Bray said.

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