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6 years later, UK opens inquiry on missing girl

LONDON — British police said Thursday they have launched a full investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and want to trace 38 ‘‘persons of interest’’ in the case.

Detectives say it’s possible that the girl, who vanished from a Portuguese holiday resort six years ago, is still alive.

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Scotland Yard said 12 of the individuals of interest are British, and the rest from a variety of European countries.

The force says it is working with governments across the continent to find out more.

Madeleine vanished from a vacation home in Portugal’s Algarve region on May 3, 2007, days before her fourth birthday.

The case has generated intense interest.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said police ‘‘continue to believe that there is a possibility that Madeleine is alive.’’

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