The force’s Operation Grange inquiry is set to shut later this year, a source told The Sun, two years after German police named Christian Brueckner, a convicted paedophile and rapist, as their prime suspect.
Brueckner has never been charged over Madeleine’s disappearance from the Praia da Luz resort in 2007, and it is now believed there could be too little evidence to ever bring charges against him.
As the chance of answers, long-awaited justice or a possible reunion for Madeleine’s family fades, families in South Yorkshire whose children vanished years ago are still holding out hope that they will see their loved ones again.
Andrew Gosden has been missing from Doncaster for 15 years
Gifted student Andrew Gosden was just 14 years old when he went missing from his home in Balby, Doncaster, in 2007
He boarded a train on September 14 that year, having withdrawn £200 from his bank account, and was last seen at Kings Cross station in London later that day.
Multiple appeals to find Andrew over the years have yielded little information.
But on Tuesday, January 11 this year, South Yorkshire Police confirmed that, assisted by officers from the Metropolitan Police, they had detained two men on December 8, 2021, in connection with Andrew’s disappearance.
The force said that a 45-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of kidnap, human trafficking and the possession of indecent images of children; and a 38-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of kidnap and human trafficking. Both were released under investigation while enquiries continued.
Police said at the time they were supporting Andrew’s family while they ‘work through this new line of enquiry in the investigation’.
Detective Inspector Andy Knowles, the senior investigating officer, said: “We have made numerous appeals over the years to find out where Andrew is and what happened to him when he disappeared. I would encourage anyone with any information they have not yet reported to come forward.”
There is a dedicated Missing People page for Andrew, which features images of him as he looked before he disappeared and how he is believed to look now, where people can leave any information.
Sheffield boy Ben Needham disappeared more than 30 years ago
Sheffield toddler Ben Needham was just 21 months old when he vanished on the Greek island of Kos, and police think he died on July 24, 1991 in a tragic accident involving heavy machinery.
But his body has never been discovered and his mum, Kerry Needham, still believes more than 30 years later that he may be found alive.
They were recently given fresh hope when Greek authorities confirmed last year that they were following up information from new witnesses about a possible sighting in Corfu, where a young girl reportedly found a child on a beach, in the summer of 1991.
The Help Find Ben Needham group set up by his family, which frequently shares missing person appeals for other families, has published pictures of Ben as it is believed he would look today and wants to offer a £10,000 reward for information leading to his discovery.
To donate, visit: https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/reward4ben.