Sighting stirs memory
A Wanaka resident who reported a possible sighting of missing British child Madeleine McCann to police several years ago said she wasn’t surprised to hear another sighting had been reported. Queenstown hit international headlines when a retailer sparked a police investigation on New Year’s Eve after serving a man and a young girl who bore a striking resemblance to the missing youngster. Madeleine 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. Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron said police had identified the young girl seen in the resort and were ‘‘absolutely satisfied’’ she was not Madeleine. He would not give any details on the child except to say it was not the first time police had been contacted regarding the similarities between the two girls. Mr Cameron would not disclose the methods used by police to identify the child. It is not known whether police conducted a DNA test. A Wanaka resident who reported a possible sighting to police about four years ago told The Mirror she still believes the young girl she
saw could have been Madeleine. ‘‘It’s brought it all back to me,’’ she said. She contacted Wanaka police after becoming suspicious about the ‘‘weird’’ behaviour of a couple who had a young child with them who bore a striking resemblance to Madeleine. The couple told the woman they had sold up all of their possessions and were driving around the countryside staying at out of the way places because they had decided to have a change. They came into the woman’s workplace to lodge a claim after damaging a vehicle. ‘‘It was really weird. It was just the three of them but they were travelling in two different cars.’’ In order to complete the claim, the woman had to go out and look at the car and was surprised to see a little girl sitting in the back seat. ‘‘She was looking down and she didn’t look up at me . . . when I got one of my colleagues to go out and have a look the man wouldn’t let her anywhere near the car.’’ Quite sure the child could be Madeleine, the woman contacted police immediately. Until now, the Wanaka sighting has not been reported in the media. The woman said she has followed the case and contacted police again two years ago when police ruled out a Dunedin sighting. The woman who reported the Queenstown sighting said she immediately thought of Madeleine when the blonde girl came into her store with a man on New Year’s Eve.