THE New Zealand girl mistaken for missing British girl Madeleine McCann in Queenstown on New Year’s Eve has sparked previous calls to police.
Queenstown police are not naming the girl who prompted an investigation into the possibility the high-profile missing person case had moved to New Zealand.
Detective Sergeant Brian Cameron said they had identified the young girl seen in Queenstown on New Year’s Eve and they were “absolutely satisfied” she is not Madeleine.
“This was not the first occasion that someone had contacted police remarking on the similarity between the two girls,” he said in a statement on Friday.
A Queenstown retailer contacted police after she became suspicious of a man and a young girl, who bore a resemblance to Madeleine, when they came into her shop.
The woman said the girl had the same rare eye defect as Madeleine, and she felt obliged to contact police in the slim chance it could be the missing girl, Fairfax reports.
Madeleine was nearly four when she vanished from her family’s Portuguese holiday apartment on May 3, 2007 as her parents dined at a nearby tapas restaurant with friends.
Madeleine’s parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, have never abandoned their high-profile campaign to find their eldest daughter, who would now be nine.
There have been previous reported sightings of Madeleine in Dunedin, Milton, Alexandra and Queenstown. Sightings have also been reported in Sweden, Belgium, India and Australia.