It remains one of the biggest mysteries of the past decade: where is Madeline McCann? Now a Spanish criminologist claims to have identified a new lead in the case: the mystery 'woman in purple'.

British police are looking to speak to a woman dressed in purple, believed to have been a waitress, who was seen outside the three-year-old's apartment when she was taken in 2007.

Credit: PA

Earlier this month it was claimed that officers had travelled to Bulgaria in an attempt to find the woman, who criminologist Heriberto Janosch Gonzalez has now identified as Bulgarian waitress Luisa Todorov.

The 58-year-old Todorov is believed to have been working with her husband at Praia da Luz's Ocean Club resort when Madeleine disappeared in 2007.

Both Luisa and her 50-year-old husband Stefan were interviewed by police five days after the three-year-old vanished while her parents Kate and Gerry were eating out at a tapas restaurant.

The Todorovs denied having any involvement with the case and have not been interviewed now for over ten years.

Officers involved with Operation Grange are now searching for the couple so they can be re-interviewed.

Eyewitnesses at the time reported a woman in purple standing by a lamp post just outside the apartment at 8pm on May 3 2007, and again elsewhere nearby half an hour later.

Now Gonzalez, who has investigated the case almost since the very beginning, is convinced that Luisa is the mystery woman.

"I have been combing through all the police files trying to identify who the woman in purple could be. It has been widely reported that Yard officers are in Bulgaria." Gonzalez said.

"Examining all the known statements it seems highly likely the police are seeking the Todorovs. They are the only known people with a clear link to Bulgaria. I have been unable to trace them in Portugal and believe they could have moved away."

Credit: PA

Gonzalez suspects that they returned to Bulgaria seeking work after many works at the Ocean Club were made redundant.

Gonzalez's discovery marks the latest lead in Operation Grange, which was set up in 2011 after the Portuguese police's initial investigation into the crime was heavily criticised.

Officers have investigated 560 lines of enquiry and taken over 1,300 statements but have not yet made any arrests in connection with the case.

The operation was largely scaled back in October 2015 after John Tully, chairman of the Metropolitan Police Federation spoke of "rumblings of discontent" about the scale of the operation.

There are now only four detectives left working on the case.

Source: The Mirror

Featured Image Credit: PA

Chris Ogden

Chris Ogden is a journalist at LADbible. He graduated from the University of East Anglia with degrees in English Literature and Creative Writing before completing his NCTJ Diploma in Multimedia Journalism. Chris has previously written for the independent culture magazine The Skinny, among other publications.

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