‘NEW MADDIE KIDNAP’ FEAR AS GIRL VANISHES
Maelys, 9, in wedding bash car riddle
MORE than 100 police were last night searching for a suspected Maddie-style kidnap victim who vanished from a family wedding.
Detectives fear nine-year-old schoolgirl Maelys de Araujo may have been abducted.
Three sniffer dogs which were tracking the scent from her cuddly toy lost the trail at the same spot in the car park of the community hall where the wedding party was held.
Officers believe that could indicate that she was bundled into a car.
Yesterday they found a hair clip and a balloon in a nearby forest.
The girl’s disappearance has chilling echoes of the unsolved case of three-yearold Madeleine McCann who vanished from her parents’ holiday apartment in Portugal in 2007.
Maelys was last seen in a play room in the hall in Le Pont-de-Beauvoisin, a small town near Chambery in the French Alps around 3am on Sunday.
She had attended the wedding with her mum –who was the bride’s cousin – her dad and elder sister.
Guests initially searched for the youngster after a DJ announced she had vanished.
A wedding guest called Gregoire said: “It was anguish. We initially thought she must be asleep in a corner after a game of hide-and-seek. After an hour as we’d found nothing so the police were alerted.’’
A massive search was launched involving police divers, dog handlers and a force helicopter.
Regional police chief Yves Marzin said: “One of the possible theories is that little Maelys left in a car, one way or another.’’
Maelys lives in the Jura district of France which is around 150 miles north from the spot where she vanished.
Madeleine McCann’s parents Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, Leics, are convinced their daughter was abducted while they dined with pals in a nearby tapas bar.
Madeleine’s favourite soft toy Cuddle Cat was also left behind.
Despite a decade of appeals and a £12million Metropolitan Police investigation she has never been found.
HUNT: Police search garden near wedding venue
®Ê MISSING: Maelys. Below, police divers search a pond. Bottom, the town of Pont-de-Beauvoisin