London - DNA from a New Zealand girl bearing a striking resemblance to missing British youngster Madeleine McCann is being sent to Scotland Yard to confirm her identity, police said on Wednesday.
British police requested the sample after the latest reported sighting of McCann in New Zealand, nearly six years after she went missing while holidaying with her family in Portugal at the age of three.
New Zealand Detective Sergeant Brian Camerson said then that police were “absolutely satisfied” the child seen on New Year's Eve in the southern resort town of Queenstown was not Madeleine.
There have been several other reported sightings of Madeleine in the same southern region in recent years and police said DNA sampling was a conclusive way to establish the identity of the New Zealand girl.
“Police will be sending a DNA profile to British police . . . to confirm the identity of a girl who has been mistaken for Madeleine by a member of the public,” Detective Senior Sergeant Kallum Croudis told the Southland Times.
The DNA, requested by Scotland Yard, was given voluntarily to police, he said.
The Queenstown shop attendant who reported the possible sighting of Madeleine said a girl closely resembling the missing youngster entered her store with a dark-haired man on December 31.
“She had the same eye defect as Madeleine. Only a very small percentage of the population have that and I was just staring at it the whole time to the point I forgot what they had purchased,” she said.