Maddie vanished on May 3, 2007, from Apartment 5A of the Ocean Club resort of Praia da Luz, Portugal, while her parents ate dinner at a tapas restaurant with seven friends just metres away. In July, prosecutors in Germany revealed a heartbreaking twist to the investigation, announcing that Maddie is “assumed to be dead” and they have opened a murder investigation into a 43-year-old convicted sex offender, named as Christian B. It came following an appeal for information from British, Portuguese and German police regarding a campervan seen in the area of Praia da Luz around the time of the disappearance and a 30-minute call made to his phone before Maddie vanished.
The development led to three days of relentless excavations of a secluded holiday chalet in Seelze, outside Hanover, using ground-penetrating radar, sniffer dogs and a drone in a desperate hunt for crucial evidence against the prime suspect.
But still, no trace of Maddie has been found.
British police have been involved in the investigation from the start, but on May 12, 2011, the Met announced that, at the request of then Home Secretary Theresa May, it had agreed to bring its particular expertise to the case.
The investigation, dubbed Operation Grange, continues to be funded by the Home Office as an open “missing person” investigation.
Cressida Dick is the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police
Maddie disappeared from Apartment 5A of the Ocean Club resort
The Met confirmed to Express.co.uk that the total spend of the probe, from May 2011 to April 2020 was £12,124,870.46.
Scotland Yard’s involvement is led by the Specialist Crime Command unit and involved, in the first instance, an “investigative review”.
This was a re-examination of all of the investigations that had been previously conducted into the circumstances of Maddie’s disappearance.
It was initially led by Detective Chief Inspector Andrew Redwood and was supported by 35 members of staff.
In July 2013 the status of the Met’s enquiries changed to that of an active investigation, working with the Portuguese authorities to pursue specific lines of enquiry.
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German authorities believe the youngster is dead
In December 2014, the case was handed over to Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall.
The Portuguese authorities retain the lead and the Met continues to work in support of them.
The Met confirmed to Express.co.uk that a total of five officers are still assigned to Operation Grange – four detectives led by a senior investigating officer.
They would not comment further on the success of the operation.
Scotland Yard applies for funding every six months.
In February it was understood the Home Office received details of the Met’s anticipated spending on Operation Grange for 2020 – 2021.
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Scotland Yard continues to investigate the case
There have been appeals around-the-world to find Maddie
It is not known how much the police asked for but a further £300,000 was awarded to the investigation last June.
The McCanns’ family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “It is good news that the Met Police are seeking a new budget to continue the search for Madeleine.”
Commissioner Cressida Dick previously said: “We have active lines of inquiries and I think the public would expect us to see those through.
“A very small team continues to work on this case with Portuguese colleagues and we have put in an application to the Home Office for further funding.”
Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have vowed to never give up the search for their daughter.
Kate and Gerry McCann say they will never give up hope
Mark Williams-Thomas has questioned the spending
Speaking to Express.co.uk exclusively though, investigative journalist and former detective in the Surrey Police Mark Williams-Thomas questioned what the money had been spent on.
He said: “There was a considerable amount of support provided in the initial days, weeks, months and years of the investigation.
“But, thereafter, they provided support because they were sharing information and making enquiries on behalf of the Portuguese for the British elements of the inquiry.
“One of the biggest questions I cannot answer is where on Earth £12million has been spent.
“I am at a loss to explain the huge scale of that figure.”