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UK police scale back hunt for missing Madeleine McCann

Scotland Yard is dramatically scaling back its investigation into the 2007 disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann while on a family holiday in Portugal, it said Wednesday.

The number of officers working on the case is being cut from 29 to four but the parents of the little girl, who was nearly four when she disappeared, say they are “hopeful that she may still be found”.

Madeleine disappeared from her room in the seaside resort of Praia da Luz in southern Portugal in May 2007 as her parents had dinner with friends nearby, sparking one of the biggest searches of its kind in recent years.

Despite a wide range of suspects and theories about what happened, no one has ever been convicted over her disappearance.

“We still have very definite lines to pursue which is why we are keeping a dedicated team of officers working on the case,” Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley from the Metropolitan Police said in a statement.

“The Portuguese police remain the lead investigators and our team will continue to support their inquiry.”

He added that officers in Portugal remained “fully committed” to the investigation.

Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry were quoted as saying in the statement that they believed the investigation to find their daughter had “significantly progressed”.

“Whilst we do not know what happened to Madeleine, we remain hopeful that she may still be found given the ongoing lines of enquiry,” they added.