Police in Australia find body of 'fair-haired' girl in suitcase sparking Madeleine McCann speculation
Police in South Australia say girl found in suitcase – along with quilt and tutu – was aged two to four, three feet tall and was killed elsewhere up to eight years ago
Detective Superintendent Des Bray updates media on Wynarka bones investigation
By Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney
8:47AM BST 27 Jul 2015
Police in Australia say a body found in a suitcase is believed to be that of a fair-haired girl aged two to four who was killed up to eight years ago but insist there is “no evidence” to suggest the child was Madeleine McCann.
As police in South Australia released images of a quilt found with the body, Grant Stevens, the state’s police commissioner, dismissed local media speculation that the child could be Madeleine, a British girl who was aged three when she disappeared during a family holiday in Portugal eight years ago.
“There is absolutely no evidence at this point in time that the child is Madeleine McCann … to suggest something like that at this point in time would purely be speculating to get attention,” he told a parliamentary committee.
“We are focusing our inquiries on South Australia but we would be considering any potential missing child. Until we ascertain the identity of the child we need to be open to all possibilities.”
Madeleine McCann as she looked when she disappeared from her parents’ holiday apartment on the Algarve on 3 May 2007 and (right) an “age progression” image of what she would look like today
Police believe the small victim was a Caucasian girl aged two-and-a-half to four, three feet tall, with hair seven inches long, and that she was killed at another location some time after 2007. A black tutu was found with the body, along with a homemade quilt which was machine-stitched from a fabric reportedly manufactured in New York seven years ago.
The skeletal remains of the child were dumped in a suitcase – apparently about four months ago – near a highway in remote bushland about a mile from the small town of Wynarka, 80 miles from Adelaide. The bones were believed to have been subsequently tipped out of the suitcase and were spotted by a passing motorist on July 15.
Two women have told police they saw a man, aged in his 60s with a clean-cut appearance, walking near the highway with a dark-coloured suitcase between 7.30am and 8am about eight weeks ago.
Police have checked missing person records but have not yet been able to find a match and now believe the girl’s disappearance was not reported.
“I thought when we started this job that we would quickly identify who this little girl was,” said detective superintendent Des Bray.
“Somewhere out there is a mother, a father, at the very least an extended family that obviously lived near someone and I’m at a loss as to why someone hasn’t reported this little girl."
Detective superintendent Bray said the girl appeared to have suffered a violent death: “We’re certain of how the little girl met her death — why, who and what circumstances, it’s just impossible to tell.
Police in Australia find body of 'fair-haired' girl in suitcase sparking Madeleine McCann speculation - Telegraph