First, the words of caution: "There is absolutely no evidence at this point in time that the child is Madeleine McCann," says an Australian police commissioner. But the body of a child, found near the South Australia town of Wynarka and thus far unidentified, has led the detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine to reach out to their Australian counterparts. Here's why: The remains, contained in a suitcase that also held a quilt and some clothing, are thought to be those of a fair-haired girl, between the ages of 2 and 4, who was killed some time after the beginning of 2007. Madeleine vanished at age 3 on May 3, 2007. NBC News reports police said the child was likely white, with hair about 7 inches long.
The Australian Associated Press reported the skeletal remains were found on July 15; it's thought the suitcase had been left along the rural highway four to six weeks prior, with the child having been killed before that. British law enforcement officials confirm they have made contact, but neither side sounds overly optimistic. It's "highly unlikely" the remains are those of Madeleine, says Detective Superintendent Des Bray, per the Guardian. Adds the commissioner, to suggest the child is Madeleine "at this point in time would purely be speculating to get attention." What they are zeroing in on, per the Advertiser: that homemade quilt. "The quilt is really important to the investigation," says Bray. Investigators believe a portion of the quilt fabric, which shows colored musical notes against a black background, was made in New York around 2008.