Photo of girl in Morocco is not Madeleine McCann
THE PHOTOGRAPH OF a potential sighting of Madeleine McCann beamed around the world yesterday has turned out not to be the missing four-year-old, but a local farmer’s daughter.
The blurred image of a girl being carried by a Moroccan woman bore a strong resemblance to missing Madeleine McCann who disappeared on 3 May in Praia da Luz.
However, yesterday Hafeza Mohammed Akchar, 35, and her husband Ahmed Ben Aisa, 39, came forward saying that the picture taken on 31 August by a Spanish tourist was in fact their five-year-old daughter, Bouchra Ben Aisa.
The farming couple had not heard of Madeleine until yesterday when the world’s media descended on the small village of Zinat, and explained that their daughter could also be responsible for reported sightings of Madeleine in Marrakech as the family visited the city in May.
Ahmed Ben Aisa, an olive farmer said yesterday: ‘I do feel sorry for her parents, I hope they find Madeleine. But Bouchra is my little girl. She is not Madeleine.’
The news comes as a blow to Kate and Gerry McCann who remain convinced Madeleine was abducted and believe she is still alive.
Clarence Mitchell, spokesman for the McCanns, said: ‘It is obviously a terrible blow. We have been here before. It’s obviously an emotional rollercoaster.’