crimesider

Report: UK police fly to Portugal to discuss Madeleine McCann

Three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann in March 2007, two months before she disappeared in Portugal AP Photo/McCann Family

British police investigating the 2007 disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann have flown to Portugal and are believed to be discussing new leads in the case with officials investigating there, reports CBS News partner network Sky News.

The trip comes just weeks after British police reportedly sent an international letter of request to Portuguese authorities requesting they track down three men in connection with Madeleine’s disappearance.

WATCH: 48 Hours: "Where's Maddie?"

The letter asked authorities in Portugal to either arrest the men or ask them to explain mobile phone calls they made on the night the child disappeared, according to the network.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who is leading the investigation in England, was reportedly seen arriving in Faro, Portugal Tuesday with three colleagues.

Madeleine vanished shortly before her fourth birthday during a family vacation in southern Portugal in May 2007. The child’s parents had left her alone in a resort in Praia da Luz, a coastal town 120 miles south of Lisbon, while they went out to dinner nearby with friends.

The three men reportedly being sought by British police were in the area when the 3-year-old disappeared, and made numerous calls to each other in the hours after the child vanished, reports Sky News. They are also reportedly suspected of burglarizing one or more apartments near where the child disappeared.

Portuguese police closed the investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance in 2008 because authorities had detected no crime. The case sparked global interest because pictures of Madeleine were beamed around the world and because her parents were briefly considered suspects before they were cleared and returned home to England.

In late October, Portuguese prosecutors ordered police to reopen their investigation into the child’s disappearance after a review of the evidence found new leads.

The Portuguese investigation has run parallel with British police efforts to find out what happened to the girl. British police launched Operation Grange in 2011 to try to solve the case. British detectives have said it’s possible that Madeleine is still alive.

  • Stephanie Slifer On Twitter»

    Stephanie Slifer covers crime and justice for CBSNews.com.

Comments

Follow Us