MARRAKESH, Morocco (Reuters) - Moroccan police investigating a reported sighting of missing Madeleine McCann said on Monday they had found a blonde girl in recent days, but it was not her.
“When we get information on little Madeleine the reaction is immediate,” the head of Morocco’s judicial police said.
Abdelmajid Chadili said officers had searched the coastal towns of Fnideq and Al Hoceima in the north of the kingdom following a tip off.
“In the case of Fnideq, we did find a small blonde girl,” he said at an Interpol meeting.
“We found she was among her true parents and I can tell you she only speaks Arabic,” he told reporters.
There have been several reported sightings of Madeleine who disappeared from her bedroom in a Portuguese holiday resort on May 3, shortly before her fourth birthday.
In August a Spanish tourist photographed a fair-haired child bearing a striking resemblance to the missing youngster.
Chadili, speaking on the sidelines of Interpol’s general assembly in Marrakesh, warned people not to get their hopes up every time a blonde child was seen in the north African country.
“In a far away country, some people think it’s not possible that a small blonde girl can be Moroccan. But it’s true, we have children with blonde hair.”
Madeleine’s parents have launched a high-profile campaign to find her and there have been media reports that private investigators were working on the case.
Chadili said he was unaware of any foreign detectives looking for Madeleine in Morocco.
Portuguese police named Madeleine’s parents, doctors Gerry and Kate McCann as formal suspects in the case on September 7. They say their child was abducted and on Saturday announced they remained hopeful she was still alive.
They have faced intense media speculation over what happened on the night Madeleine went missing in Praia da Luz.
Reporting by Tom Pfeiffer; Editing by Golnar Motevalli