Police in UK and Australia have been at odds all week over the possible identity of the skeletal remains of a murdered child found dumped by the roadside in the Southern Australian bush three weeks ago.
While Australian police have repeatedly dismissed suggestions that the bones could be those of Madeleine McCann, a source from Scotland Yard told the UK’s Daily Mirror “we cannot rule it out”.
Writing on Tuesday night, the Mirror’s online edition claimed Scotland Yard detectives will either fly to Australia to carry out “crucial” DNA tests “or will wait for samples” from what the paper calls “the corpse” to be sent to them.
Reading between the lines, however, this could simply be another case of headline-hogging journalese.
Within hours of one Mirror journalist writing the story, another wrote that Australian police had finally "totally excluded” the possibility that she could be the potential victim.
Talking in Australia when speculation first broke, the detective in charge of the case said obtaining a DNA profile had been proving “very difficult” due to the “degradation of the skeleton”.
Elsewhere in Britain, the Guardian, Mail and Independent all ran stories confirming that British investigators have been in touch with Australian police over the grisly discovery beside a highway, 138km east of Adelaide.
As reported in the Resident on Saturday, there are at least three Australian links in the baffling case of Madeleine’s disappearance from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz over eight years ago.
And since police in Australia alluded to the fact that the child’s bones date back as far as 2007, speculation that they could indeed be those of Madeleine McCann has spread like the proverbial bushfire.
Detectives in Australia did their best to warn that the world’s press attention was unwarranted and more for the “benefit of attention”.
“There is absolutely no evidence at this point in time that the child is Madeleine McCann,” Australian police commissioner Grant Stevens has explained.
Australian insistence that “there is no evidence” has swung back and forth however, with Monday’s edition of Adelaide’s The Advertiser stating categorically that “32 children have been excluded as potential victims, including the world’s most high-profile missing girl, Madeleine McCann”, and then backtracking saying: “It is highly unlikely that the victim is Madeleine McCann.”
Now, the latest story has police finally “totally excluding” the possibility, though a source confirmed that Scotland Yard will still go ahead with DNA testing.
Back in UK, a source close to Madeleine’s parents has reported that “Kate and Gerry hope that if anything of substance is found linking the body in Australia and Madeleine they will be told straight away”.
Adding fuel to the fire of speculation is the revelation that there is no Australian child matching the description of the remains on any national missing persons database.
Article courtesy of the Portugal Resident http://portugalresident.com/