Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann. Reuters

Even five years after toddler Madeleine McCann went missing from a resort at the Praia da Luz in Portugal, there is no clue to her whereabouts.

Madeleine was only three years when she went missing from her apartment in the resort. Kate and Gerry McCann had gone for dinner at a close by restaurant, leaving behind their children unsupervised. The parents claimed that they kept a constant tab on Madeleine as well as their other children, Sean and Amelie.

They said that every few minutes Kate, Gerry McCann and their friend Matthew Oldfield checked on the children.

The McCanns suspect that someone abducted their daughter. Jane Tanner, who was staying just opposite to the McCann apartment, claimed she saw a man carrying a child from the apartment.

Many people have been taken in as suspects but there is no clue to what happened to Madeleine.

Police first suspected Robert Murat, a local resident, because he was seen in Praia da Luz by some witnesses on the day Madeleine went missing.

Kate and Gerry McCann were also named as suspects on 7 September, but were allowed to fly back to the United Kingdom on 9 September. All three were cleared, with their suspect status lifted on 21 July 2008, according to Wikipedia.

Having reached a dead end, the Portuguese police closed the case on 21 July, 2008, saying they would reopen the case if they found a fresh lead. The McCanns hope that the case would be reopened and their daughter traced.

A recent report in the Daily Mail said Madeleine is alive and that police believe that she was abducted. The paper quoted Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who heads the review, as saying: "We genuinely believe there is a possibility she is alive."

The police have not disclosed the basis for their optimism, but they have been reported as saying that it is based on evidence.

From time to time there have been reports that the girl has been sighted in different parts of the world, including India. But there is no concrete evidence to back these reports.

The Guardian reported that the parents of the girl say that Scotland Yard's review of the case and the release of a new age-progression picture of Madeleine had given them hope after a long time.

The paper quoted Kate McCann telling the presenter Lorraine Kelly on ITV's Lorraine: "We are realistic. We don't know what has happened but we know there is a very good chance that she could be alive - there is no evidence to the contrary. We know, year after year, missing children, children that have been abducted, are found alive."