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Authorities examining photo of child resembling missing British girl

  • Story Highlights
  • Authorities examine photo resembling missing British toddler Madeleine McCann
  • Photo seems to show Moroccan woman on roadside carrying a child on her back
  • Photo taken in Morocco by Spanish couple vacationing there in late August
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LONDON, England (CNN) -- Authorities are examining a photo taken in Morocco showing a child who appears to resemble missing British toddler Madeleine McCann, a spokesman for the girl's family told CNN Wednesday.

"It appears to look very like Madeleine on first glance," spokesman Clarence Mitchell said.

The digital picture was taken by a Spanish couple who vacationed in Morocco in late August, he said. The picture, taken out of a moving car, seems to show a Moroccan woman carrying a child on her back while walking along the side of a road.

"Along this route we started to take photos of everything we saw -- mosques, villages, everything. We saw this group of people we took some photos but as soon as we took them, we saw a blonde, blonde girl who caught our eye," said Clara Torres. "We thought of Madeleine but we didn't think any more about it as we thought it would be impossible."

Torres said she was traveling from the town of Chefchaouen to Tetouan when the pictures were taken.

"The picture stayed in the camera as we thought it was so strange," Torres said. "The truth is, I've been kicking myself, because these 25 days have been lost, but I couldn't do anything else. The moment I realized, I handed over the photo to the authorities," who forwarded it to Interpol.

Mitchell said attorneys for Kate and Gerry McCann -- the girl's parents -- had just received the photo. The family has made a policy of not commenting on potential sightings of the child, he said, as none have turned out to be verified.

"If indeed this is her in a picture, and if it is proof she was alive just a few weeks ago, clearly this could be a major breakthrough," he said. However, "technical assessment is underway ... until we know a lot more about the picture and its authenticity, we simply can't comment any further."

The couple, both doctors, were vacationing in Portugal's Algarve region with their children -- including then-3-year-old Madeleine -- in May. The couple said they were having dinner at a restaurant while their children slept at their hotel May 3, and discovered Madeleine was gone when they checked in on them.

The McCanns were named "arguidos," or suspects, earlier this month by Portuguese authorities, but have vehemently denied any involvement in their daughter's disappearance.

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News of the missing wide-eyed girl has grabbed headlines across the globe and moved celebrities such as soccer star David Beckham to make public pleas for the girl's safe return.

Mitchell said Wednesday the McCanns are being kept apprised of the situation regarding the photo. Earlier, the McCanns visited Morocco during the search for their daughter, and authorities in Rabat, Morocco, assured them of their cooperation. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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