Madeleine McCann investigators say 18 assaults may be linked

Madeleine McCann Investigators Say 18 Assaults May Be Linked

There has been a new development in the disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann.

The BBC reports British police investigating the girl's disappearance are now examining potentially linked break-ins by a lone intruder into villas in Algarve, Portugal.

According to Channel 5 News these six new incidents include five new cases of sexual assault of British girls on holiday in Portugal and one "near miss" in which the intruder was "essentially stopped before he attacked."

That means there are now 18 "potentially linked crimes" at Portuguese resorts near the one where 3-year-old Madeleine disappeared during a family vacation in June 2007, reports CNN.

According to The Guardian, these six new cases were reported after police issued an appeal for information last month about a predator breaking into hotel rooms of British families who were on vacation.

Authorities had described the suspect as a tan man with short, dark hair who spoke in English with an unknown accent. ABC points out they did not release any new information about the suspected intruder Wednesday.

Scotland Yard told the BBC it hopes to begin "operational activity" in Portugal as soon as possible. It's unclear exactly what those operations will involve.

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Madeleine McCann investigators say 18 assaults may be linked
Parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann, Kate (L) and Gerry McCann (R) pose with an artist's impression of how their daughter might look now at the age of nine ahead of a press conference in central London on May 2, 2012 five years after Madeleine's disappearance while on a family holiday in Portugal. Aged three at the time, the artist's impression depicts how Madeleine may now look, based on family photos of her, along with childhood images of her parents. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/GettyImages)
Kate McCann attends a press conference for the launch of the book 'Madeleine' in London, on May 12, 2011. Kate and Gerry McCann, the parents of missing Madeleine McCann, launched the book on their daughter's eighth birthday. Madeleine went missing in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, a few days before her fourth birthday, as her parents and their friends ate at a nearby restaurant. AFP PHOTO/Carl de Souza (Photo credit should read CARL DE SOUZA/AFP/Getty Images)
Yellow ribbons and messages are tied to a fence in the village of Rothley, Leicestershire, on the day of the first anniversary since the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, on May 3, 2008. The three-year-old girl was last seen by her family on May 3, 2007 in their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, southern Portugal. Her parents, who are official suspects in Madeleine's disappearance, will mark the day privately in Leicestershire.In a campaign entitled Light The Way Home, McCann supporters want candles to be lit and porch lights turned on between 9.30pm and 10pm to symbolise the time Madeleine went missing from her bed. AFP PHOTO/Leon Neal (Photo credit should read Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images)
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