After the announcement that Scotland Yard would reopen and fully fund the search for Madeleine McCann, who disappeared in 2007 while sleeping in her Praia da Luz hotel room in Portugal, investigators said Thursday that they are now examining 38 people of interest.
Among the group of potential suspects – stemming from several European countries – are 12 British nationals that were all believed to be in Portugal at the time McCann went missing.
“It is a positive step in our hunt for Madeleine that our understanding of the evidence has enabled us to shift from review to investigation,” Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said in a statement.
While investigators continue to review evidence, including 30,500 documents all tied to the case, the Metropolitan Police Service are still asking guests who stayed at the resort during the time of her disappearance to step forward with any information.
Lacking clear evidence that would point to Madeleine’s death, the MPS hold out hope that she is still living. “We continue to believe that there is a possibility that Madeleine is alive,” Redwood adds.
The reopening of the case comes after British Prime Minister David Cameron intervened in June, with his spokeswoman relaying his steadfast support in the search for the little girl, who would have turned 10 in May.
•Reporting by SIMON PERRY