Cyprus police have confirmed local media reports of a sighting of a child that looked like missing girl Madeleine McCann, informing Interpol that the child may have been part of a British family that has already fled the island.
Madeline, who should be ten years old today, disappeared in May 2007 aged four while she was on holiday with her parents and twin siblings at the resort of Praia da Luz, in Portugal. Sightings have since been reported around the world with the McCanns following some leads that the missing child may be in Russia or Ukraine.
Cyprus Police spokesman Andreas Angelides said that the owner of a holiday apartment complex in the southeastern resort town of Ayia Napa filed a complaint on February 7 that a British couple, staying with their three children, abandoned the premises after stealing home appliances.
Angelides added that on February 20 police received information “that one of the three children looked like Madeleine McCann.”
Despite investigations the couple was not found, Angelides said, adding that most likely the British family has already fled the island, a common tactic among holidaymakers who try to avoid paying their bills.
The police spokesman also noted that Interpol has been notified, adding that investigations are continuing in Cyprus. An arrest warrant has been issued against the couple.
The Politis daily reported that the complaint was filed by a British man who had seen so many photographs on the Internet, on television and the U.K. press that he was convinced the child was missing Madeleine.
The newspaper added that according to eye witnesses, the girl “looked frightened, was under constant supervision and acted strangely,” had the characteristic eye mark and that she did not look like the other children of the family.
The parents reportedly disappeared when neighbours started showing interest in the little girl.
A similar sighting in New Zealand was dropped after the schoolgirl repeatedly mistaken for missing Madeleine McCann gave police a DNA sample so Scotland Yard could confirm that she is not the youngster.
Read the full Ayia Napa sighting story (in Greek):
Get all the latest news and videos in your inbox. Register FREE