For the past 11 years and 10 months, the entire world has been searching for Madeleine McCann. The young girl was just 3-years-old when she disappeared on the night of May 3, 2007 while on vacation with her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, and her two siblings at a resort in Portugal.
Even though there have been no significant leads or concrete evidence that proves Madeleine was abducted from the Ocean Club vacation apartment that she slept in, there have been over 8,000 sightings of the blonde-haired, blue-eyed girl in over 101 countries around the world since 2007. From Australia to Mexico, the sightings have been reportedly connected to what authorities have called one of the biggest and most heavily reported missing-person cases in modern history.
On the night that Madeleine went missing, Gerry and Kate McCann, along with several friends, were dining at a tapas restaurant about 50 meters away from their apartment. One person from their group would check on the children every 20 minutes during the dinner that night. At about 10 pm, Kate McCann realized that Madeleine was no longer sleeping in her bed and called the police.
Shortly after Madeleine’s disappearance, a couple on vacation in Morocco reported the young girl’s first sighting. According to the Netflix documentary The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, they allegedly saw a little girl that resembled the British tot at a gas station stop. Unfortunately, the couple did not alert the police right away. Also, they could never confirm if they indeed see Madeleine as the CCTV cameras the gas station didn’t have any recorded tapes of the sighting.
According to The Sun, that same month another woman from Dublin, Ireland reported a Madeleine McCann sighting. She claimed that she saw her get on a bus with a man at Eden Quay. Local authorities studied CCTV images and ruled out the sighting. Shortly after that sighting, a girl in Vilamoura, Portugal also appeared to look like Madeleine. She had the same mark in her eye as the missing British toddler.
In Spain, a girl fitting the description of Madeleine was spotted with a woman at a bar in Puerto Banus. The child was wrapped in a blanket and was reportedly crying. Another sighting of a child wrapped in a similar blanket popped up in Switzerland. A couple claimed they saw a girl who looked like Madeleine in the back of an Alfa Romeo. A medical student from Wroclaw, Poland also claimed that he saw a little girl that resembled blonde-haired Madeleine nervously get in a car with a man, too.
In June of 2007, a woman claims that she saw a couple in a sushi restaurant with a girl who looked like Madeleine. That same month, a man at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, says he claims that he saw a girl that looked like Madeleine get on a Disney bus with a man in his mid-50s. The man said that the sighting looked strange to him because the man didn’t speak to the young girl at all during their journey.
Also in Morocco, a British tourist took a picture of a woman carrying a blonde-hair girl that looked like Madeleine on her back. Computer face-imagining experts at the time believed that the girl was indeed Madeleine. By the time the British police had arrived in Britain to investigate the matter, it was determined that the girl was from a village in the nearby Rif Mountains.
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In February of 2008, a retired civil servant from Dorset, England claimed that a couple with a little girl that looked like Madeleine showed up at his doorstep. The couple was never traced. There have also been alleged sightings of Madeleine in Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Norway, Oman, The Netherlands, Brazil, Kosovo, Iceland, Ibiza, Hungary, Hong Kong, Greece, Finland, France, Egypt, and many more countries. As of press time, all sightings have been ruled out.
To this day the McCanns are still feverishly searching for Madeleine, in hopes that they will one day be reunited with their daughter.
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann is currently available on Netflix. The McCanns released a statement that said they refused to participate in the docuseries. They are worried that the documentary might hinder more than helping their ongoing search for their daughter.