The quarter page ad claiming Maddy is in
the South American city Areguá sparked a
media storm which left local police
Tragic: Madeleine McCann
vanished from her parent's
apartment in Portugal in
A bizarre advert published in a local
paper sparked reports that Maddy McCann
has been 'spotted' in Paraguay, it has
The quarter-page ad appeared in
newspapers in the small city of Areguá
yesterday, launching a media storm which
has now crossed the Atlantic.
The advert used several pictures of
Maddy from previous appeals, including
the computer-generated image of how she
might look as an older child.
Initial reports suggested Paraguayan
police had launched a large-scale hunt
for Maddy - but this has since been
Here's how the mystery began.
The advert, translated into English,
"Citizens of Paraguay, Areguá
"My name is Miraz Ali, a private
investigator from London. We have been
informed that Madeleine McCann has been
found living in Areguá, possibly with a
Local paper advert that
sparked 'Maddy McCann in
"She was kidnapped from her hotel on the
3rd of May 2007 aged three at the Praia
da Luz complex in the Algarve, Portugal.
Please look at the photo above.
"She is now 12 years old and a
photograph has been produced of how she
would look when she was nine-years-old.
"We believe two men were involved and
left the country using a boat."
Heartache: Maddy's parents
Kate and Gerry McCann
"Madeleine has a distinctive
characteristic in her right eye; a hole
in the lower part of her eye.
"Please, look at the photograph of the
eye on the right in the rectangular
square. Please, help return Madeleine to
"She has suffered in an indescribable
"There is a reward of 2 million Euros
for information leading to the safe
return of Madeleine."
The advert quickly generated frantic
coverage in Paraguayan media.
A news website based in nearby Argentina
called BigBangNews.com appears to have
been the first to get hold of police to
inquire about the claims.
Confusing: Miraz Ullah Ali,
who describes himself as a
"private investigator from
The site quotes an Inspector Sanny
Amarilla has having said: "We're
investigating in suburbs where there are
foreigners, in houses, condos, to see if
there is anyone with a similar
description as the newspaper cutting.
"This advert crosses the world, it is
very important, so if they are in the
area we have to recover this girl and
return her to her family."
He is also quoted as having that four
police divisions of Areguá, Home Office
Intelligence officers, the
Anti-Kidnapping Division and the local
division of Interpol are all involved in
looking for Maddy.
However, contrasting reports have since
appeared in other media outlets.
Television channel ABC Color said local
police were "confused" by the reports.
Maddie 'spotted' in Paraguay
They pictured a different police
inspector called Miguel Orué reading the
advert in his local paper looking
He said he had prepared "a report" for
his bosses, but added "I've let my
bosses know that in this district, no
private investigator has arrived, nor
have we any information about the
missing girl supposedly being here."
And ABC Color also tracked down Mr Miraz
Ullah Ali himself.
He was quoted as saying he hasn't even
spoken to police.
"I was only in Aregua taking some
photos, I didn't talk with any locals,
nor the police. I'm surprised that the
city is so small, I thought it would be
bigger," he said.
Further muddying the water, Mr Ali is
also quoted as saying: "We are not after
the reward money. My team and I are
carrying out this work because it is
right, and so that everyone knows we are
a serious business."
According to ABC, Mr Ali went on to
clarify that he hadn't been in contact
with any local police, and was working
He claimed a month or two ago he was
told Maddy was living with a woman in
Areguá who was keeping her hidden.
He reportedly added: "My mission was to
come and get to know the city of Areguá
and publish an advert in the newspaper
with the biggest circulation in the
The episode will cause further heartache
for Maddy's parents Kate and Gerry
The tot, then three, vanished from a
Portugal holiday apartment in 2007.
Last month, Kate McCann said she was
convinced her daughter never went far
from the Praia da Luz resort where she
was snatched - despite thousands of
reported sightings of her around the
She was speaking at the launch of
two-week drive to get a million people
in the UK to register for free Child
Rescue Alerts (CRAs).