October 24, 2013 / 2:16 PM / 5 years ago

Portugal reopens case of missing girl Madeleine McCann

LISBON (Reuters) - Portuguese prosecutors have ordered the reopening of the investigation into the 2007 disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann, saying new leads had emerged in the case.

Kate and Gerry McCann pose with a computer generated image of how their missing daughter Madeleine might look now, during a news conference in London May 2, 2012. REUTERS/Andrew Winning

The decision comes after British police began an inquiry in July, saying they believed she might still be alive.

Madeleine went missing aged three from her room at the Praia da Luz holiday resort in the Algarve in May 2007 while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant, leading to a global search that gripped the world’s media.

Portuguese police closed their investigation in 2008.

In a statement, the country’s public prosecutor’s office said there were potential new elements in the case, without providing details.

They said the investigation would be subject to a legal clause that meant no information in the case would be made public.

British police welcomed their decision.

“But both sides of the investigation are at relatively early stages, with much work remaining to be done,” said Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner for Specialist Crime and Operations at London’s Metropolitan Police.

“This new momentum is encouraging, but we still have a way to go, and as with all major investigations, not all lines of enquiry that look promising will yield results,” said Rowley.

British police said this month they had received hundreds of calls following a new television appeal that suggested Madeleine was snatched in a planned abduction and that they wanted to trace a number of men, including some thought to be either Scandinavian or German.

Reporting By Andrei Khalip; additional reporting by Joshua Franklin in London; editing by Axel Bugge and Tom Pfeiffer

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