The 101 places missing Maddie was ‘seen’
THERE have been more than 8600 possible sightings of missing girl, Madeleine McCann since her highly publicised disappearance in 2007, new figures have revealed.
The missing girl, whose face was splashed across newspapers around the world, when she vanished during a holiday with her parents, is considered the world's most recognised missing child.
As a result of extensive media coverage of the decade-long investigation, there has been 8685 possible sightings of the little girl in 101 different countries since she vanished, on May 3, 2007.
The credibility of the sightings vary, though some were considered reliable enough to spark local police investigations.
The sightings have been reported in countries as far away from Madeleine's UK home as Bolivia, New Zealand and even Papua New Guinea.
Figures, released under the Freedom of Information Act show there were six reported sightings between May 4-17 in Portugal, including CCTV footage showing a girl, matching Maddie's description.
The footage showed the little girl with two men and a woman at a petrol station in the town of Nelas.
One of the more credible potential sightings of the missing girl was in Amsterdam, a fact which was ultimately discovered in Portuguese police case files a year after her disappearance.
The report detailed that a blonde girl, of Madeleine's age and description, told a shopkeeper her name was "Maddie" and she had been "taken from mummy".
Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann were not made aware of this alleged sighting at the time and it is not clear if any investigators followed the lead.
Over the last seven years, the UK Metropolitan Police has collated all reported sightings of Madeleine as part of Operation Grange, which was launched in 2011 following the closure of the Portuguese-led investigation.
The Portuguese police finalised the investigation into Madeleine's disappearance in 2008, prompted public anger, and a dedicated task force was established by the Met Police to continue the search.
So far, the search for Madeleine has cost the Met Police more than $22.5 million, but a source close to Operation Grange said investigators were currently hunting a "person of significance".
In March last year, Scotland Yard was awarded funding to continue chasing a vital "final line of inquiry" for a further six months.
It comes as Madeleine's parents announced they would not be watching the new Netflix documentary, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, which aired this month.
The couple believe it won't help with the search for Maddie but could instead, "fuel conspiracy theorists".
So where exactly were these alleged sightings of Maddie?
1. ALGERIA: October 2008 - A man reported he had seen a blonde girl with a British accent, who looked liked Madeleine, with a dark-skinned Algerian family who were "acting suspiciously".
2. ANDORRA: Details not made public.
3. ARGENTINA: June 19, 2007 - A man took a photo of a girl "identical" to Madeleine. Sighting later ruled out.
4. AUSTRALIA: July 26, 2015 - A suitcase containing the skeletal remains of a fair-haired young girl was discovered next to a motorway in Wynarka, near Adelaide. Pathologists said she would have died in 2007. There was speculation that the body was Madeleine's after a cop said it did not match descriptions of any missing children in that country. But the victim's DNA did not match Madeleine's.
5. AUSTRIA: July 2008 - A couple at a hotel in St. Valentin claimed a girl resembling Madeleine cried "Help me!" in English as a man dragged her away.
6. AZORES: Details not made public.
7. BANGLADESH: Details not made public.
8. BELGIUM: May 14, 2007 - A British man claimed he saw a child asleep on a train from Brussels to Antwerp and thought she looked drugged. The girl was with a balding, 6ft white man in his forties, who got off the train at Mechelen carrying her. British Police trawled CCTV footage but eventually ruled out the sighting.
9. BELIZE: Details not made public.
10. BOLIVIA: Details not made public.
11. BRAZIL: June 7, 2007 - A man spotted Madeleine in an Ipanema cafe sitting with a man. He said she looked "sad" and did not speak to her male companion.
May 11, 2007: A man said he saw Madeleine at a book fair in Cinelandia Square, Rio de Janeiro. She was with a white woman and speaking English.
12. BRITISH VIRGIN ISLANDS: Details not made public.
13. BOSNIA: July 8, 2007 - A British tourist believed he had seen Madeleine at the Roman Catholic shrine of Medjugorje. He said the little blonde girl he saw with a couple was "agitated and sobbing". Police investigated and traced the girl, who was a local.
14. BULGARIA: May 26, 2007 - Female Brit tourists saw Madeleine in a hotel in Sunny Beach with a man. When the girl took her sunglasses off the man told her to put them back on which she found suspicious. Madeleine had a defect in her right eye.
15. CAMBODIA: June 2014 - Police travelled to the Southeast Asian country to quiz convicted paedophile Roderick Robertson about Madeleine.
16. CANADA: May 4, 2009 - Distressed viewers inundated a Canadian TV station with calls after a blonde girl identical to Madeleine was shown singing with a choir on a news show. Private investigators studied the footage and ruled it out.
17. CANARY ISLANDS: June 27, 2007 - Madeleine spotted in a Chinese restaurant in Playas De Las Americas eating with a "dark-skinned family".
18. CHILE: Details not made public.
19: CHINA: July 3, 2007 - A man spotted a tall, blonde girl who looked like Madeleine at Taipei Airport with two men. They were never traced.
20. COSTA RICA: Details not made public.
21. CROATIA: June 19, 2007 - She was seen in Dubrovnik, laying on the floor "kicking and screaming" and yelling: "I'm never going to see them again."
22. CUBA: Details not made public.
23. CYPRUS: October, 2012 - A British couple and three children left their flat in Ayia Napa after a neighbour alerted police that a girl with them was "identical" to Madeleine. The family have never been traced.
24: CZECH REPUBLIC: Details not made public.
25: DENMARK: Details not made public.
26: DUBAI: May 31, 2007 - A caller, claiming to be a UK barrister, told Portuguese police that Madeleine had been taken out of Portugal on a ship registered in Holland. The report was ruled out.
27: EGYPT: May 23, 2007 - A British woman on a boat trip in Sharm El Sheik saw a blonde girl on another boat screaming at a man. Egyptian authorities investigated and ruled it out.
September 12, 2009: Maddie spotted at a hotel in Hurghada. Not traced.
28. ESTONIA: Details not made public.
29. FIJI: Details not made public.
30. FINLAND: Details not made public.
31. FRANCE: May 26, 2008 - Seen in a restaurant in Montpellier by a student who shouted out "Maddie" at which the girl looked up "surprised" before a man with her "bundled" her out.
32. FRENCH POLYNESIA: Details not made public.
33. THE GAMBIA: Details not made public.
34. GERMANY: May 31, 2007 - Maddie was spotted in a car park in Offenburg.
35. GIBRALTAR: May 2007 - A Brit couple said they saw a woman pushing a girl who looked like Madeleine in a trolley out of Marks & Spencer's. They said they heard the girl shout: "You're not my Mummy." The woman replied: "Of course I am."
36. GREECE: May 12, 2007 - A girl resembling Maddie seen in a watch store in Milos.
May 17, 2007 - Madeleine was spotted on an easyJet flight from Athens to London.
May 19, 2007 - A girl resembling Maddie spotted in Athens, hitchhiking with a man.
37. GUATEMALA: Details not made public.
38. HONG KONG: June 14, 2007 - A woman said she saw Madeleine in a shopping centre but this was ruled out after police studied CCTV footage.
39. HUNGARY: Details not made public.
40. IBIZA: August 12, 2007 - A woman saw a girl who had the same visible eye defect as Madeleine.
41. ICELAND: Details not made public.
42. INDIA: July 28, 2011. A British tourist was so convinced a girl in the northern city of Leh was Madeleine she took a photograph of her. When it was shown to Kate and Gerry they said it was not her.
43. INDONESIA: Details not made public.
44. ISRAEL: Details not made public.
45. ITALY: June 17, 2007 - A British man said he saw Maddie in Bari, walking along with a "large" lady.
46. JAPAN: Details not made public.
47. JERSEY: May 9, 2007 - A woman in a park saw a man and a young blonde girl at the top of the slide. She thought it strange as there was no interaction between them all the time she was there. The man was Portuguese but spoke English. Police investigated but ruled it out.
48. JORDAN: Details not made public.
49. KENYA: July 24, 2007 - A man saw a child who looked like Madeleine on an internal flight from KTC Wildlife Safari Park, Kichwa Tembo. She got off at the next stop and was never traced.
50. KOSOVO: Details not made public.
51. LAOS: Details not made public.
52. LATVIA: July 3, 2007 - A man said she saw a blonde girl exactly like Madeleine holding a woman's hand in the capital of Riga. He took a photograph of her which was later ruled out.
July 20, 2007: A man spotted Madeleine, again in Riga.
53. LITHUANIA: Details not made public.
54. LUXEMBOURG: Details not made public.
55. MACEDONIA: Details not made public
56. MADAGASCAR: Details not made public
57. MADEIRA: May 16, 2007 - Madeleine seen in a black car in Funchal.
58. MALAYSIA: Details not made public
59. MALTA: July 20, 2007 - A couple staying in a hotel in St Julian's saw a girl who looked like Madeleine screaming in the hallway. She was rushed away by a couple after guests came out to see what was going on.
60. MAURITIUS: Details not made public.
61. MEXICO: July, 200 - A man said he heard a little scream 'Help me, help me!' while visiting friends in Mexico City. He said she had blonde hair and spoke English. He flagged down a police car but they did nothing.
62. MONACO: Details not made public.
63. MONTENEGRO: June 15, 2007 - Dr. Seamus Hegarty, a child educational specialist, said he saw a girl like Madeleine while at a conference in Budva.
64. MOROCCO: August 2007 - In the town of Fnideq, A woman aged around 50 was spotted with a blonde girl who had a mark in her eye like Madeleine's. The girl also had a dummy around her neck, not something usually seen in Morocco.
August 31, 2007 - A British tourist took a snap of a local, dark-skinned woman walking with a young very blonde child tied to her back with a cloth. The little girl looked so like Madeleine even computer face- imaging experts said it was a match to her. British police scrambled to Morocco to find the girl but within hours news came back that it was a girl from a village in Rif mountains.
65. MOZAMBIQUE: May 26, 2007 - A man saw Madeleine being driven in a 4x4 in Maputo by a man with no teeth. The witness took the number plate. Police traced the man and it was ruled out.
May 26, 2007. Another caller said he had seen Madeleine with a white man in the capital.
66. NEPAL: Details not made public.
67. NETHERLANDS: May 2007 - Amsterdam shop worker Ana Stam, 41, claimed a little girl of three or four who said her name was "Maddie" asked her: "Do you know where my mummy is?"
Then she pointed to the couple she was with and told Ana: "They took me from my holiday." Ana said the little girl was with a Portuguese man and woman. Ana reported her fears to police but nothing was done.
68. NEW ZEALAND: May 2007 - A girl there bore such a strong resemblance to Madeleine that police had to investigate whether she was her TWICE. After a photo of the girl went viral in March 2012 police interviewed her parents and said they believed she was their daughter.
A few months later police officers requested DNA tests from the girl, which finally ruled her out.
69. NORWAY: September 2007 - Madeleine was seen at a cafe in Skarnes. She was with two smartly dressed men.
70. OMAN: Details not made public.
71. PANAMA: Details not made public.
72. PAPUA NEW GUINEA: Details not made public.
73. PARAGUAY: May 2016 - Officers from Interpol and an anti-kidnapping elite squad went into action when British private eye Miraz Ullah Ali claimed earlier this year he had uncovered evidence Madeleine was being held in Paraguay. He said a woman was looking after her in the city of Aregua. There was a huge search there but nothing was found. He later said he was "mistaken".
74. PERU: Details not made public
75. PHILIPPINES: Face-imaging computer experts have examined "dozens" of child abuse images beamed from the Philippines to identify if any are Madeleine.
76. POLAND: May 12, 2007 - A medical student in Wroclaw saw a taxi with a young girl like Madeleine in it with a "tough looking" man.
77. PORTUGAL: May 23, 2007 - A girl seen in Vilamoura had a mark in her eye like Madeleine has.
May 26, 2007 - Girl seen being pushed by a man of Muslim appearance in Porto. The caller said when he reported it to Portuguese police they "laughed" at him.
78. REPUBLIC OF IRELAND: May 2007 - A woman in Dublin told police she had seen a girl who looked like Madeleine getting on a bus with a man at Eden Quay. They got off at the city centre. CCTV images of the girl were studied and the sighting ruled out.
79. ROMANIA: Details not made public.
80. SERBIA: June 2, 2008 - A man thought he saw Madeleine in the back of a car in Belgrade.
81. SEYCHELLES: Details not made public.
82. SINGAPORE: June 21, 2007 - A woman saw a white couple in a sushi restaurant with a girl who looked like Madeleine.
83. SLOVAKIA: Details not made public.
84. SLOVENIA: Details not made public.
85. SOUTH AFRICA: In June 2007 - police driving through Cape Town noticed two black men in a car driving with a young blonde child. When they stopped the vehicle the men grabbed the child and ran off towards Table Mountain. Cops gave chase but lost them. The incident was reported to Leicestershire Police as a possible sighting of Madeleine.
86. SPAIN: There have been numerous sightings of Madeleine since she went missing including:
May 25, 2007 - girl fitting her description in Puerto Banus in a bar with a woman. The child was wrapped in a blanket and crying.
July 11, 2007 - A woman spotted "Madeleine" on a beach near San Pedro with a man of 50 who was rubbing sun lotion on her.
87. SRI LANKA: Details not made public.
88. SWEDEN: October 2009 - A photo of a girl at a car show in Stockholm that appeared on a website led to Swedish police being inundated with calls that she was Madeleine. Face-mapping technology used by British police identified the girl as a possible match. Swedish police were unable to trace the girl.
89. SWITZERLAND: May 25, 2007 - A family driving near the Gotthard tunnel were hit by an Alfa Romeo. The driver of the Alfa was a male aged between 30 and 40 with a ponytail. He kept getting out and "nervously" checking the back door was locked. In the back was a small blonde girl wrapped in a towel.
90. SYRIA: Details not made public.
91. THAILAND: Details not made public.
92. TUNISIA: Details not made public.
93. TURKEY: May 25, 2007 - A man saw a girl resembling Madeleine in a market in Istanbul with a dark-skinned woman who she was speaking English to.
94. UGANDA: Details not made public.
95. UNITED KINGDOM: February 20, 2008 - A retired civil servant reported that a Portuguese couple who knocked on his door in Dorset had a blonde-haired child with them he was sure was Madeleine. The couple were never traced.
96. UKRAINE: Details not made public.
97. USA: July 25, 2007 - A man at Disney World in Florida saw a girl on a Disney bus who looked like Madeleine. She was with a man in his mid-50s who treated the girl "strangely" because he didn't speak to her at all during the journey.
98. URUGUAY: Details not made public.
99. VANUATU: Details not made public.
100. VENEZUELA: May 2008 - Brit Trevor Francis said he saw a girl like Madeleine with a blemish in her eye on the Island of Margarita.
101. VIETNAM: July 2007 - A girl resembling Madeleine spotted in Vietnam, but the report to police had so few details they were unable to act on it.
This story originally appeared in The Sun and has been republished here with permission.