McCann search on NSW coast

Madeleine McCann.
Madeleine McCann. AAP

THE international search for missing British girl Madeleine McCann could extend to Byron Bay after reports of a possible sighting at the weekend.

Media reports suggest a person mentioned to a police officer they saw a child who resembled the missing girl near Suffolk Park.

Madeleine, 4, disappeared on a family holiday in Portugal in 2007

Byron Bay police Inspector Owen King said no such information has been reported to the station.

The Australian Federal Police confirmed no police were investigating a claim the girl had been spotted at Byron, but they were aware inquiries were being conducted in Australia on behalf of the McCann family.

They could not confirm if this included Byron Bay.

“The AFP has not received any referral from either private investigators employed by the McCann family, UK law enforcement agencies, or NSW police,” the spokesman said.

“The AFP is aware inquiries are being conducted in Australia on behalf of the McCann family, but no request for assistance has been received by any state, domestic or international agency.”

Meanwhile, Australian detectives have 'a number of viable leads' in the search with a Victorian woman believed to hold vital clues to the girl's disappearance.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said there were several tips worth pursuing out of the hundreds of leads sent in from the public about the woman wanted in connection with Madeleine's disappearance.

“An awful lot of these tip-offs and bits of information are well-meaning, but ultimately come to nothing,” Mr Mitchell said.

“But out of all this we have had dozens of names for the woman we're looking for given to us. And out of that the detectives have a number of viable leads.”

One of the hundreds of tips sent in included a Sydney woman telling NSW police that her friend in Melbourne looked similar to the Victoria Beckham look-alike investigators hope to find.

But the friend said she was shocked to have been connected to the story.

Standing outside her home on Saturday evening, 53-year-old Judith Aron denied she had any involvement in the case.

Coincidently, she lives on Madeline Street, but she insisted that the media and her friend had 'got it wrong'.

Mr Mitchell said Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were aware of the recent tip-offs and reported sightings across Australia.

“We will get some reports that do come to nothing, others though could turn out to be highly significant,” he said.

The man heading the McCanns' search for their daughter, Dave Edgar, said the case had taken a new turn.

The woman that investigators were looking for reportedly spoke to a British man outside a bar in Barcelona, Spain, three days after the girl went missing from Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007.

The British man, who did not want to be identified, had told detectives of his brief conversation with the Australian or New Zealand-sounding woman.

The man said she asked him: “Are you here to deliver my new daughter?”

While investigators do not believe the woman is a suspect in the case, they do believe what she told the man could be significant to their investigation.


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