by Mike Parker in LA
THE hair is longer, the faceless "puppy fat" chubby and the ,mouth and nose slightly wider but those innocent wide eyes are unmistakable.
This is how experts believe Madeleine McCann might look today, almost two years after she went missing. This remarkable image was created for the Sunday Express by forensic computer specialist Jovey Mae Hayes, using techniques she has employed in scores of kidnapping and missing persons cases for the FBI and police in America. Madeleine vanished on Thursday, May 3, 2007, just days before her fourth birthday, while on a family holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal.
Her appearance would have altered significantly, with a two-year' growth spurt, according to Ms Hayes.
Her Michigan-based company Age Progression spent hours studying the "missing poster" of Madeleine as well as photos of her parents Kate and Gerry to create the image.
The McCanns are to appear on a one-hour television special in the US with Oprah Wmfrey, whose team is getting its own image from the , National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children in Washington DC.
Commenting on Madeleine's striking resemblance to her mother, Ms Hayes said: "That resemblance will almost certainly grow stronger as she gets older. "She has her mother's cheeks and chin. She is at an age where the structure of her face is discernibly changing. This will give it a slightly longer appearance, with less of the chubbiness of two years ago.
Her cheeks and mouth will, however, look fuller, with teeth coming through. "Her nose, also, will appear wider. The cartilage growing will possibly make her slightly 'gummier'. "Her hair, if allowed to grow naturally, would be very noticeably longer. This would make her face appear even longer and possibly contribute to the illusion hat her eyes are smaller. "There is a slight two-toner pigmentation in her right eye, which, from her photo, looks blue/brown. Sometimes this pigmentation issue can vanish with age but.some people, like singer David Bowie for example, retain it all their lives."
Many kidnappers try to alter the victims' appearance during the intensive early days of a search. In Madeleine's case, the most logical step would have been to cut short her long blonde hair and dye it dark, But after all this time the kidnapper may feel safe enough now to allow her a natural look.
Today's Sunday Express image will be followed by Oprah unveiling fresh clue during her TV special. New lead unearthed in Portuguese police files will be revealed during - the McCann interview. The new clues were found by lawyers who spent eight months sifting through volumes of legal documents.
Heart specialist Gerry, 40,and GP Kate 41, will be interviewed by Oprah in front of a studio audience. Footage of the McCanns at home in Rothley Leicestershire, with Sean and Amelie who bears a striking resemblance to her sister at the same age, will also be shown.
Kate and Gerry are not being paid for the interview.A separate reconstruction of Madeleine's disappearance will be shown on Channel4 on May 7.
Ms Hayes said she created her image of Maddie with an enigmatic hint of a smile, adding: "Even in the worst possible circumstances, it would be impossible to imagine that her life today is totally bereft of even slight happiness. This, at least, may be of some comfort to her loved ones."
Source: Sunday Express - Paper Edition Only
Many Thanks to Mary Poppins 2 for the scanned article
Who is Jovey Mae Hayes? She is the President and lead artist of "Phojoe.com - The Cure For The Common Photo!" based in Clarkston, Michigan (US). read more here Maddie: The face of 2009 Only for $99*