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Madeleine McCann's Grave Found, Claims South African Land Baron Stephen Birch

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A South African business man claims he has found the grave of Madeleine McCann. | Handout

A South African real estate developer claims to have found the gravesite of Madeleine McCann.

Self-styled investigator Stephen Birch says he used a ground penetrating radar device -- a tool that uses radar pulses to x-ray the subsurface -- to locate the body of the missing British girl.

McCann was 3 years old in May 2007, when she went on a trip to Portugal with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. The couple was dining with friends at a nearby restaurant when the little girl vanished from their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz. There have been no solid leads in the case since that time.

Birch is obsessed with McCann's disappearance and spent more than $30,000 of his own money on the equipment used to find McCann's suspected gravesite, according to Sky News.

"All I want to do is solve the mystery and bring closure to Madeleine's family," Birch said on Friday.

Birch said the location he scanned is not far from the apartment where Madeline disappeared.

"I've had the scans analyzed and they show digging, a void and what could be human bones," he said.

Birch told Sky News that he provided Scotland Yard detectives and Portuguese police with hard copies of the radar scans and the agencies are examining them.

Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have yet to comment on Birch's claims.

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Criminal profiler Pat Brown, author of Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, said she expects little from Birch's independent investigation.

"In my opinion, nothing will come of this," Brown said.

According to Brown, Portuguese police have already searched the property in question and found no evidence of a grave.

"Birch ... claims to have ground radar scans showing a burial site on ex-suspect Robert Murat's property, which is just a long block away from the McCann's vacation home in Praia da Luz. He says the police have asked him for more information, which I believe to be merely a polite formality as Scotland Yard has steadfastly stated they believe, against all odds and evidence to date, that Madeleine McCann is likely alive [and] living with a family who wanted a child," Brown said.

Brown is also critical of the overall investigation into the little girl's disappearance -- an investigation that has reportedly cost authorities more than four million dollars.

"Scotland Yard detectives have spent a year pouring over thousands of meaningless tips while never bothering to re-interview the McCanns or their friends," Brown said. "The case would be best served by the McCanns requesting the case be reopened and returning with their friends to Portugal to allow the Portuguese detectives to finish the investigation properly [and] to do [a previously] requested reenactment, to eliminate themselves as having any involvement in the disappearance of their daughter."

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Madeleine McCann | UK news | The Guardian

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