Nothing transfixes the public like the story of a missing child. Nancy Grace has built an empire on this fact, knowing that human nature can't resist the fear than grips us when a innocent is in peril.
Such was the case of Madeleine McCann, the little British girl who mysteriously went missing from a vacation resort in Portugal in the spring of 2007. Madeleine, who was three at the time of her disappearance, was napping with her twin siblings in her parents' time share apartment while the parents dined with friends. Taking turns checking on the children, the parents discovered that Madeleine was missing around 10:40 pm on the evening of May 3. Police were immediately notified and began investigating Madeleine's disappearance, working on the theory that she was abducted by either a pedophile ring or an adoption agency. After chasing down several dead-end leads, including accusing the McCanns themselves, the Portuguese police eventually closed the case in 2008, leaving the McCanns to rely on private investigators to search for Madeleine.
However, there are news reports surfacing out of India that a British woman spotted a little girl who closely resembles Madeleine and notified local Indian police who are now investigating. Corroborating the sighting as being a possible lead in the missing girl's case were an American couple who also stated the little girl bore an uncanny resemblance to Madeleine.
A report in the Toronto Sun states that DNA tests are being performed to determine if the little girl, who was spotted with a Belgian man and a French woman, is in fact Madeleine. The couple who were with the little girl have had their passports taken and are being verified as they wait for results of the DNA test.
Parents Gerry and Kate McCann, who have a website set up to help find their daughter, have stated they do not believe the little girl is Madeleine. They are basing this on photographic evidence, but will have wait on DNA for verification - and one can only imagine how disorienting an ordeal like this must be. If in fact this is Madeleine, it will be a tremendous miracle for her to have been found, even with the kind of global outreach the case had, but if it's not Madeleine, then this will have been a horrifying experience, both for the McCanns and for the couple who are under investigation.
Watch this space for updates on the story.