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Police say 18 break-ins may be linked to Madeleine McCann mystery

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Police in the United Kingdom announced on April 23, 2014 that they are investigating six more cases involving male intruders that may be linked to the mysterious disappearance of Madeleine McCann almost seven years ago. According to the Independent, investigators are now looking at what amounts to 18 break-ins that might be linked in the area. Those cases include “nine sexual assaults, three near-misses” and six incidences in which the intruder was interrupted before anything took place, the Independent notes.

Madeleine vanished on May 3, 2007 while on vacation with her family in Paraia da Luz, Portugal. Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, had been dining out with friends and left the girl, then just three years old, and her two siblings in the holiday villa where the family was staying. When the McCanns returned, Madeleine was gone.

The latest six cases were discovered after an appeal was lodged for information by police, who made 500 calls to garner the data, CNN reports. Each of the incidents involved a male intruder who entered holiday villas rented by UK families on holiday in Western Algarve, police told the major news media outlet. The Independent reports that one of the attacks took place in 2005 on a 10 year old girl in Praia da Luz – two years prior to Madeleine’s disappearance.

Scotland Yard is still waiting for an official agreement from Portugal to begin “operational activity” on the case, according to the Independent. Police in Portugal had closed Madeleine’s case in 2008, but reopened it in Oct. 2013 after announcing new information had warranted the action.

A £20,000 (about $34,000 USD) reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of anyone responsible for the abduction of Madeleine, who would now be 10 years old.