Just weeks after authorities announced they have two new leads into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, police are re-examining a theory they tossed out years ago.
British police have re-opened their files into the theory Maddie had woken up and walked out of her family's holiday apartment to look for her parents before disappearing more than a decade ago.
According to The Sun, detectives from Operation Grange are exploring the theory she may have been knocked down by a drunk driver who put her body in the car and later buried it.
"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," a source in Portugal said.
"One of the lines of investigation that continues to be pursued is that Maddie could have walked out of the holiday flat herself."
Scotland Yard is also looking at whether Maddie's disappearance was a kidnapping or burglary gone wrong.
Just last week, a retired detective who previously worked on the McCann case made bombshell claims she could still be alive and trapped in an underground dungeon.
David Edgar believes Maddie could resurface "at any time" and likely has "no idea" about her true identity, having probably been abducted by a child sex gang.
The investigator, who worked on behalf of Maddie's family for three years, also suspects that she might still be in Portugal, where she vanished from in 2007.
"She could literally be anywhere in the world but my hunch is that she is in Portugal," Edgar told The Sun.
"The chance that she may have been smuggled out of the country without being detected is highly unlikely. There is someone in Portugal with an open knowledge of where she is and what happened."
Edgar was hired by Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry for three years before the Metropolitan Police in Britain launched Operation Grange in 2011.
Edgar believes Madeleine, who would now be 15, could be living with her captor in a hideaway home inland from the popular seaside towns on the Algarve – and he suspects she has no idea of the worldwide hunt for her.
"There is every possibility that Madeleine is still alive and could be being hidden somewhere and having no idea that she is at the centre of a worldwide hunt for her."
Edgar thinks the blonde youngster was snatched by a child sex gang and urged accomplices to "come forward and tell the truth", insisting: "It is never too late."
UK detectives were granted an extra £150,000 (NZ$288,000) in March to continue the probe, to cover until the end of September.
Operation Grange has cost £11.6 million (NZ$22.3m) so far.