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Madeleine McCann Spotted In Morocco?

Police are trying to determine whether a photo taken in late August by a Spanish tourist in northern Morocco shows missing British toddler Madeleine McCann being carried by an unidentified woman by the side of a road.

The picture was taken by Clara Torres on August 31 - four months after four-year-old Madeleine went missing. Her parents say she vanished from their holiday villa in southern Portugal, where they had left her sleeping while they ate at a nearby restaurant.

The photograph is blurry, but the girl on the back of the woman, who is wearing traditional Moroccan attire and walking with several others of varying age, does bare a resemblance to "missing Maddie."

Britain's Sky News reported Wednesday afternoon that, according to unnamed security sources, the girl in the photo had been identified as the daughter of a Moroccan farmer. The report said investigators tracked the family in the photo to a farm about a mile from where it was taken, and found the young girl at the home.

If confirmed, the Sky report would put the hunt for Maddie back at square-one, with no solid leads on her whereabouts - at least none confirmed by investigators.

"We saw a blonde girl who caught our eye. We both looked at each other. We thought of Madeleine but we didn't think any more about it, as we thought it would be impossible," Torres told Spanish news agency EFE about the possible sighting.

Remarkably, the photograph stayed undeveloped in Torres' camera for almost a month, says CBS News reporter Meg Oliver.

"I've been kicking myself because these 25 days have been lost ... The moment I realized, I handed over the photo to the authorities," said Torres.

It is the most recent, but not the first possible sighting, of Madeleine in Morocco.

On May 9, two witnesses - unknown to each other - told police they saw a little girl who looked like Maddie in Marrakech, in the south of the country. There was one other reported sighting in the north, close to the town where Torres took her photo on August 31.

CBS News reported on Monday that the McCanns had hired a private security firm in Morocco, called National Risk Group, to try and find their daughter. One of their jobs has reportedly been to keep track of the many reported sightings of the little girl.

The McCanns, who traveled to Morocco this summer as they publicized their daughter's disappearance, are said to be impressed by the latest photo, but they remain guarded.

Speaking to Britain's Sky News on Wednesday, McCann family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said "there are certainly questions to be answered" about the new photo.

Mitchell said the McCanns were waiting to hear what the police, who are using facial recognition technology to examine the photo, say about the likelihood of it being their daughter.

But he added that one positive aspect of the new focus for the case is that it "refocuses the campaign on finding her."

Later Wednesday, Sky reported Mitchell as saying that if reports that the girl in the photograph is a local child, it would be "clearly disappointing news".

For weeks prior to the development, media attention had been devoted to rumors and unconfirmed reports that Portuguese police were considering the girl's parents as the chief suspects in the case.

Neither Gerry nor Kate McCann has been asked to return for further questioning since leaving Portugal.

According to Mitchell, Kate McCann has always felt that Morocco is an important country to the investigation, given its location only a short boat ride away from ports in southern Spain.

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