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Madeleine McCann India 'Sighting' Under Investigation Despite Doubts

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MADELINE MCCANN
AP

The ongoing search for Madeleine McCann took a potentially surprising twist this week after a young girl matching the missing youth's description was reportedly spotted in an Indian market.

As the Daily Mail is reporting, a British woman spotted a youngster "bearing a remarkable likeness to Madeleine" at a market in the northern Indian town of Leh, which is situated mostly in the Himalayas. Madeleine, who disappeared in 2007 just days before her fourth birthday while vacationing with her parents in Portugal, would now be eight years old.

Though the British woman is reported to have raised concerns with other tourists, including an American man who is said to have tried to take the girl from the couple with whom she was seen to be traveling, they were unsuccessful. The couple -- a French woman and her Belgian husband -- have insisted they are the girl's parents, according to the Mirror.

The McCann family's spokesman quickly played down the sighting, noting that while it was "no more credible" that previous leads, an investigation was underway. "Our private investigators have been aware of this report since the weekend and have been trying to establish the truth," Clarence Mitchell is quoted by Scotland's STV News as saying. "Unfortunately there is nothing that leads us to believe that this sighting is any more credible than any of the others we have received over the last four and a bit years."

A regional Indian police chief told CNN that he knew nothing about the sighting, and dismissed reports of a possible DNA test on the girl. "We have not recovered any girl from Leh," said Abdul Gani Mir, deputy inspector general of police for central Kashmir and Leh. "I checked and re-checked from my officers on ground in Leh and they have categorically told me they have not recovered the girl."

Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann -- who were, at one point, considered suspects in their daughter's disappearance -- have hoped to spark renewed interest in the case as of late. Kate's new book, titled "Madeleine," reportedly details the night of Madeleine's disappearance and the subsequent search.

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