Police investigate tip-off in Madeleine McCann case

Police investigating the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann are investigating an anonymous tip-off which claims that her body is buried near where she was abducted.

An anonymous letter and map were sent to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf, who then passed it on to the Portuguese police.

The letter claims that Madeleine's body is buried in an area of a dirt track in Odiaxere in the Algarve, just over nine miles from Praia da Luz where the four-year-old disappeared on May 3.

The letter said that the child's body could be found buried "north of the road under branches and rocks, around six to seven metres off the road".

The letter is said to resemble another letter which was sent to the same newspaper last year, indicating where the bodies of two missing Belgian girls were buried.

The bodies of Stacey Lemmens, seven, and Nathalie Mahy, 10, were found at the spot indicated on the map enclosed with the letter.

A convicted paedophile, Abdullah Ait Oud, is currently on remand awaiting trial for the murders.

According to reports, it is believed that the letter came from a medium.

Plain-clothes police officers arrived in Arao, a small village around nine miles from Praia da Luz and spent around an hour and 20 minutes looking at fields and the surrounding area ahead of possible searches.

Chief Inspector Olegario de Sousa confirmed that they were checking the information contained in the letter.

Madeleine's parents have criticised the decision by De Telegraaf to publish details of the letter and map before Portuguese police had a chance to investigate the claims.

Writing on a blog on the Find Madeleine web-site, her father Gerry McCann said: "We feel strongly that this was an irresponsible piece of journalism and even if it were true, is insensitive and cruel."

De Telegraaf have not commented on Mr McCann's comments.

Madeleine McCann disappeared from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3, while her parents ate at a nearby restaurant.


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