DNA from Queenstown's 'Madeleine' to go to UK

BROOKE GARDINER IN QUEENSTOWN
Last updated 05:00 06/02/2013
Madeleine McCann, aged three
Reuters
MISSING: Photo of Madeleine McCann, aged three, before she disappeared in 2007.
Madeleine McCann,  is seen how she may have looked age nearly nine in this computer-generated handout released last year.
Reuters
POSSIBLE PORTRAIT: Madeleine McCann is seen how she may have looked age nearly nine in this computer-generated handout released last year.

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New Zealand police have obtained a DNA sample from a young girl people had thought to be Madeleine McCann, at the request of Scotland Yard.

The request follows a New Year's Eve sighting of the girl in Queenstown. It was not the first time her striking resemblance to the missing young British girl had been reported to police.

Detective Senior Sergeant Kallum Croudis, of Dunedin, confirmed police would be sending a DNA profile of the girl to British police investigating Madeleine's disappearance.

"Police will be sending a DNA profile to British police ... to confirm the identity of a girl who has been mistaken for Madeleine by a member of the public," Mr Croudis said.

DNA sampling was a conclusive way to establish identity, he said.

The DNA profile was given voluntarily to police. The results of the test are not expected to be available for weeks.

"The results of this process will not be known for some time," he said.

Madeleine McCann went missing from the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in 2007 just before her fourth birthday. She was on holiday with her parents Kate and Gerry and siblings Sean and Amelie.

Queenstown hit international headlines after a retailer reported serving a man, and a girl who bore a striking resemblance to the missing Madeleine, on New Year's Eve.

The sighting sparked a five-day police investigation.

On January 4, Queenstown police issued a statement saying they had identified the girl seen in Queenstown and were "absolutely satisfied' she was not Madeleine.

Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron declined to disclose any details about the identified child, stating only that this was not the first occasion someone had contacted police remarking on the similarity between the two girls.

At the time, Mr Cameron would not disclose the methods used by police to identify the child.

It is not the first time a child has been DNA-tested in relation to the case of the missing British girl.

In 2011, a young girl spotted in India with a Belgian man and French woman was tested and was also found not to be Madeleine.

A spokeswoman at the British High Commission in Wellington would not comment and said all matters relating to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann should be directed through the commission's London office.

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The London office has not responded to questions asked by The Southland Times last week.

- The Southland Times

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