Security camera footage from The Warehouse in South
Dunedin filmed seven months after her disappearance may provide
a vital clue in the search for missing British girl Madeleine
Dunedin was in the international spotlight last night as more
details of the sighting emerged after files released from the
Portuguese courts revealed Portuguese police disregarded
several potential sightings of Madeleine.
These included CCTV footage from retail store The Warehouse
in South Dunedin in December 2007.
The then 4-year-old went missing from Praia da Luz in
Portugal in May 2007, during a family holiday while her
parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, were at a restaurant less
than 75m away.
Police confirmed to the Otago Daily Times the footage
was taken at the store on December 5, 2007, about 9pm.
A Warehouse spokeswoman confirmed a staff member had reported
a sighting of a girl believed to be Madeleine, but declined
to comment further.
Acting Southern District Commander Inspector Dave Campbell
said police had spoken to the female security officer, who
had become suspicious of a customer accompanying the young
The overweight man was joined by a woman and older boy, he
In what appeared to be a separate development, Taryn
Dryfhout, a student whose hometown is listed as Auckland on
Facebook, approached One News last night saying she
was adamant the girl who came in to the store in December
2007 was Madeleine McCann.
She said she was working as a checkout operator at The
Warehouse in South Dunedin in December 2007 when she looked
up to see a familiar face entering the shop.
"[She had] huge blue eyes, blond hair, a tiny frame just like
the pictures on the news.
"I was quite stricken by the wee girl who looked just like
"She was quite apprehensive to talk to me and sort of
stammered over her words when she was trying to think of her
Miss Dryfhout said she called the police and a woman officer
came to see her the next day, but could not determine from
the CCTV footage whether it was Madeleine.
Dunedin police called Miss Dryfhout again yesterday to see if
she recalled anything else about the family, but she told
them the details were fading.
She wished they had asked her more at the time, she said.
Miss Dryfhout described the man and woman with the child as
"a little bit suspicious".
Dunedin police had worked with the retailer on the case, and
the file "has remained open ever since".
According to the file, released to several British
newspapers, the security officer approached the girl and
asked if she was British.
The girl replied her name was "Hailey", but, unconvinced, the
guard contacted police, who launched an inquiry.
Insp Campbell said that the informant had told them the woman
and girl had spoken with a British accent.
Security footage of the child, who had the appearance of
Madeleine McCann, and the family accompanying her were
provided to police.
He confirmed police had several photos, but declined to
release them to the media.
The photos are believed to include a clear picture of the
It was unknown what type of vehicle the family left in, and
police were unable to obtain any further information on the
The file was forwarded to Interpol, with the lead
jurisdiction given to Portuguese authorities.
No request for follow-ups have been made to New Zealand
Police, Insp Campbell said.
The formal case is now closed with Portuguese authorities.