6 Feb 2013

Police seek to prove NZ girl not Madeleine

7:51 pm on 6 February 2013

New Zealand police have sent a DNA sample of a Southland girl to counterparts in Britain, hoping to put to rest persistent rumours that she is Madeleine McCann.

Police say members of the public have reported seeing the girl more than once, as say she bears a striking resemblance to the missing British child.

The Southland child has the rare eye defect Coloboma, which makes the iris appear to be split.

Madeleine McCann also had the condition in her right eye. She went missing at the age of three from a Portugal resort in 2007, while her parents were eating dinner nearby.

The first report about the Southland girl was in 2007, with police confirming more than two years later that she was not Madeleine.

But Detective Senior Sergeant Kallum Croudis says reports have continued to come in, with some people even approaching the girl.

Mr Croudis says he has seen evidence that has left him confident that she is not Madeleine and her parents accept the fact that the best way to settle the matter is with a DNA sample.

The sample has to travel from a laboratory in New Zealand to a laboratory in Britain and it will be months before there is a result.