Investigators searching for Madeleine McCann were so convinced they had found her at one point that a plane had its engine running to fetch her from Morocco.
Over the course of the investigations, there have been two near misses that got the family’s hopes up.
Clarence Mitchell, the McCann’s media spokesman revealed the details of the night a blonde English-speaking girl in Morocco was thought to be Maddie.
You can watch the timeline of events in the case below:
Writing in the Telegraph, Mitchell said:
All the information coming back to us suggested heavily that it could be Madeleine, so much so that an aircraft was put on stand-by, with its engines running, waiting to fly to pick her up.
Kate and Gerry sat tight. They had learned by that stage to be sceptical, not to give in to natural hope only for it to be dashed. They preferred to wait until the Moroccan authorities had checked it out. And when they did, it became clear she was not Madeleine.
The second incident was a false lead where Mitchell received numerous repeat phone calls reporting that a girl, fitting Maddie’s precise description was on a farm.
Madeleine vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia Da Luz. Portugal on May 3, 2007 at the age of three.
In the account, Mitchell, who is a former BBC journalist, goes into detail about the traumatic experiences they all went through, describing Kate and Gerry’s reactions.
Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said:
I know we have a significant line of inquiry which is worth pursuing, and because it’s worth pursuing it could provide an answer, but until we’ve gone through it I won’t know whether we are going to get there or not.
Ourselves and the Portuguese are doing a critical piece of work and we don’t want to spoil it by putting titbits of information out publicly.
Kate and Gerry McCann have vowed to never end the search for their daughter, and earlier this week, detectives said they are still pursuing critical leads.
There have been 9,000 reported sightings of Madeleine since she vanished, just nine days before her fourth birthday in 2007.
An investigation fund of £12 million ordered by then Prime Minister David Cameron is set to run out in March this year.