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A detective who worked on the Madeleine McCann disappearance believes she may be alive and still in Portugal, more than 11 years after she vanished.
David Edgar, who was personally hired by Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry to work on the case, worked on finding the youngster for three years.
Now, 11 years since Maddie vanished from an apartment complex in Praia da Luz, Mr Edgar has stated that the youngster may still be alive – and believes there are people who know where she is.
He told The Sun: ‘There are people out there who know what happened.
‘The best hope of a breakthrough, even after all this time, will be if and when someone’s conscience is pricked.
‘It may be that the person responsible for Madeleine’s kidnap is dying and makes a deathbed confession, or someone close to that person comes forward after he or she has passed away.
‘Or it could be that the abductor falls out with others who know and they finally decide to contact police.’
He added: ‘She could literally be anywhere in the world but my hunch is that she is in Portugal.
‘The chance that she may have been smuggled out of the country without being detected is highly unlikely.
‘There is someone in Portugal with an open knowledge of where she is and what happened.’
Mr Edgar believes that Maddie, who would now be a teenager, could be living with her captor away from the tourist areas where she disappeared.
Scotland Yard recently asked for another £150,000 to continue the search for Maddie, who vanished in May 2007.
Some £11.6 million has so far been handed over to investigators.