Madeleine McCann: UK has spent nearly $16 million in search for missing girl

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The investigation into the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann, who vanished nearly a decade ago, has cost $15.7 million and is expected to go up, Britain said Friday.

An additional $3.1 million is budgeted to use in the search next year, the Home Office said.

Minister Lord Bates disclosed the figure in an answer to a written parliamentary question. The nearly $16 million price tag accounts for the cost up to June of this year.

Madeleine was a few weeks shy of her fourth birthday when she vanished from her family’s holiday apartment on May 3, 2007, in the Portuguese resort town of Praia da Luz

Her parents had left Madeleine and her younger twin siblings asleep while they went for dinner with friends at a tapas restaurant nearby.

Her mother raised the alarm when she checked on the children about 10 p.m. and discovered her daughter missing. A series of suspects have been questioned, but there have been no solid clues.

Eight years later, Portuguese and British authorities are still investigating her disappearance.

Last year, British police dug an area of wasteland close to where Madeleine went missing in Portugal. They searched two areas, but found no clues.

Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, launched a massive publicity campaign after she went missing. They say they continue to believe she is still alive.

By Faith Karimi and Vasco Cotovio