Cop’s huge Maddie McCann theory
A FORMER top detective who worked on the Madeleine McCann disappearance has spoken out about his theory that she is still alive, living in Portugal and unaware of who she is.
David Edgar was hired by the missing British toddler's parents Kate and Gerry for three years before the Metropolitan Police in Britain launched Operation Grange in 2011.
Despite fading hopes for Madeleine, who disappeared from the family's holiday villa in Portugal in May 2007, Mr Edgar is convinced she is still alive and well.
And if she is, he suspects Madeleine has no idea the world is desperately searching for her.
"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 Madeleine, who would now be 15, could be living with her captor in a hideaway home inland from the popular seaside towns on the Algarve.
"There is every possibility that Madeleine is still alive and could be being hidden somewhere and having no idea that she is at the centre of a worldwide hunt for her."
Mr Edgar thinks the blonde youngster was snatched by a child sex gang and urged accomplices to "come forward and tell the truth", insisting: "It is never too late."
He echoes the McCanns' sentiments that their daughter is still alive somewhere, after vanishing as a three-year-old from a holiday apartment in the tourist town Praia da Luz.
As Scotland Yard pleads for more cash from British taxpayers to fund their investigation, Mr Edgar admitted: "It's a baffling case, but I think it's solvable."
But despite countless leads being examined and ultimately abandoned, and no new information for quite some time, he said there are people who know what happened to Madeleine.
"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."
Mr Edgar, a retired Detective Inspector, added: "Whoever is responsible will have confided in someone else. They usually do and it is very rare that they don't."
The main obstacle was the fact British police were investigating the disappearance of a Brit on foreign soil, as "everything has to be rubber stamped by authorities there", he said.
So far, some A$21 million has been spent on the British investigation, with a fresh request of up to A$270,000 now being considered.
But Scotland Yard would not be asking for more if it didn't have credible leads they wanted to explore, he said.
In an emotional BBC Radio 4 interview on Saturday, Mr McCann said he dreamt his daughter was still alive and believes they will one day be reunited.
"I just want to hug her, to hold her, to cry - a lot. Never a day goes by when I don't think of Madeleine."
Her mother has said she always had a strong instinct her daughter could still be in Portugal, previously saying: "I've always said Praia da Luz is the place where I feel closest to her. That's where she last was and I don't think she's been taken a million miles from there."
On the night of May 3, 2007 when she went missing, Madeleine had been left alone with her younger twin siblings, Sean and Amelie, while her parents were dining in a nearby tapas restaurant with friends.
This story originally appeared on TheSun.co.uk and is reproduced here with permission.