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Investigator Believes Missing Madeleine McCann Living Near Kidnap Site

Feb. 25 2019, Updated 11:34 a.m. ET

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Missing Madeleine McCann is still alive and possibly being raised openly by a family just 15 miles from where she was infamously snatched, an investigator believes!

That’s the amazing claim of a hardened detective who has spent years hunting for the adorable British tot who vanished during a family vacation in Portugal in 2007.

“There’s one reason I’m sure Madeleine is alive — a body hasn’t been found,” seasoned ex-cop Dave Edgar, 62, told RadarOnline.com.

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The golden-haired girl’s anguished parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, hired Edgar — a Northern Irishman legendary for combating Irish Republican Army terrorists — in 2009.

“It’s nonsense to think the McCanns could have murdered their daughter. They had no motive,” said Edgar.

“In my experience as a detective, when strangers kill children, or if strangers kill anyone for that matter, they do one thing very quickly and almost automatically — they dump the victim’s body so they’re not caught with it. That’s just the way it works,” he continued.

“All my experience tells me a stranger or strangers took Madeleine, and that she is still alive.”

Madeleine was just a week shy of her fourth birthday when she was last seen by her parents on May 3, 2007, at their holiday getaway in Ocean’s Village resort in Praia da Luz. She would be 15 now.

After years of searching the world for “Maddie,” Edgar is convinced she’s being harbored in the barren landscape of scrubland, caves and sunbaked rural outposts that stretch for miles beyond the resort.

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Based on his experience, Edgar believes Maddie could have been abducted by a single predator who could be keeping the girl underground or in a cellar in one of the rural communities surrounding Praia da Luz.

“There are any number of small villages where Maddie could have been kept — and I’m not talking miles and miles into the countryside,” said the father of two.

“When you get ten or 15 miles beyond Praia da Luz, there are loads of rural farming communities that grow oranges and other crops,” noted Edgar. “She could be being kept in one of those quite easily.”

During his search, Edgar investigated child sex offenders, nearly 80 rapists and more than 20 vagrants along with former Liverpool, England-area Detective Sgt. Arthur Cowley.

Edgar formed the Alpha Investigations Group with Cowley, and he dismissed theories Madeleine was snatched by an organized sex trafficking group that kidnaps children.

“If that had been the case and it was a gang scenario, someone would have broken ranks by now and come forward,” said Edgar.

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“There was so much reward money on the table that someone would have spoken up to get the money — or else they would have been caught doing something illegal and they’d have wanted to trade information about Maddie to save their skin,” he added.

In a dagger to the heart for the McCann family, public funding for Maddie’s search is set to dry up.

Nearly $16 million has been spent on the search, called Operation Grange. Investigators have probed more than 60 persons of interest and 650 sex offenders, but no firm suspects have emerged.

There have also been nearly 9,000 reported sightings of Maddie since she disappeared.

Maddie’s parents, who live in a suburb of the English city Leicester, said they have no plans to give up the search for their beloved child.

In an interview on BBC Radio, Gerry said he dreamed his daughter is alive.

“I just want to hug her, to hold her, to cry — a lot,” he said. “Never a day goes by when I don’t think of Madeleine.”

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