It's been seven years since little Madeleine McCann disappeared while on vacation in Portugal with her parents, Kate and Gerry. The couple had left their three children in their vacation apartment while they had tapas at a nearby restaurant. When they returned, Madeleine was gone. She was almost 4 years old. But now the case is being reopened by Scotland Yard, which says it has a number of "people of interest" it wants to question about her disappearance. Last month, detectives said they had new pieces of "forensic evidence" they wanted to investigate.
In the years since Madeleine's disappearance, several high profile kidnapping cases have been solved when children or adults thought to be long dead resurfaced alive -- including Jaycee Dugard, found after 18 years, Shawn Hornbeck, found after four years, and the latest case to shock the country, the three women abducted in Cleveland, Ohio who were found after 10 years.
It's quite possible that these cases have spurred on the reopening of cold cases all over -- because the standard way of thinking is that the vast majority of kidnapping cases end in death if the victim isn't found within a short period of time. These cases have opened the eyes of detectives everywhere.
Madeleine's parents were the first suspects in her disappearance. They were cleared months later, but no doubt the focus on them took resources away from following other leads. Many Madeleine McCann sightings have been reported in the intervening years -- though none of them turned out to be the little girl.
Her parents have kept up a steady drumbeat of pressure on police to keep the case alive -- they even wrote a book in 2011. I can't imagine what it's like not knowing what has happened to your child. Is she dead? Is she being held captive and chained somewhere in a house of horrors like the Cleveland women? Or has someone "adopted" Madeleine as his/her own? What a relentless agony.
If Amanda Berry, Gina DeJesus, and Michelle Knight are any indication, perhaps Madeleine is closer to the site of her abduction than anyone ever imagined.
Do you think reopening the case will finally solve it one way or the other?
Image via Teri Blythe