NZ police dismiss Madeleine McCann sighting

Madeleine McCann - an age-enhanced photo from 2009. Photo / Supplied
Madeleine McCann - an age-enhanced photo from 2009. Photo / Supplied

Queenstown police are "absolutely satisfied" a young girl seen in the town on New Year's Eve is not missing British girl Madeleine McCann.

About 70 police officers were instructed to look out for the girl after a retailer saw a young person who resembled Madeleine enter her store.

However, Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron this morning said police have identified the girl and were "absolutely satisfied" the girl was not Madeleine.

Mr Cameron would not release any details of the identified child, although said it was not the first occasion someone had contacted police remarking on the similarity between the two girls.

The woman who reported the sighting told the Southland Times a girl resembling Madeleine entered her store with a dark-haired man late in the afternoon on December 31.

She said the girl had the same eye defect as Madeleine - a coloboma of the iris - in the same eye as the missing Leicester girl.

The woman contacted police and also a 24-hour Find Madeleine hotline. British police have been in contact with the woman.

"My only reason for alerting anybody is because if my little girl was missing and if someone on the other side of the world was seen who bore any considerable resemblance, I would want it ruled out," she told the paper.

Madeleine was 3-years-old when she went missing from a resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal on May 3, 2007, while holidaying with her family.

The latest "sighting" of Madeleine in Queenstown is not the first in New Zealand. In 2010 there were suspected sightings in Dunedin, Milton, Alexandra and Queenstown.

- nzherald.co.nz

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