Madeleine McCann Suspect Emerges as Scotland Yard Presses Search

Image: Madeleine McCann Suspect Emerges as Scotland Yard Presses Search E-fit images believed by Metropolitan Police to be of the same man seen in Praia da Luz in 2007.

Monday, 14 Oct 2013 07:25 AM

By Clyde Hughes

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Scotland Yard detectives say that a new man of "vital importance" has emerged in the 2007 search for the British girl Madeleine McCann in Portugal.

BBC News reported that authorities created two new e-fit images based on separate witness statements in the Praia da Luz area where McCann, 3 at the time, disappeared on May 3. Both witnesses said they saw the man in the evening and authorities believe it is the same person. 

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The witnesses described the possible suspect as a clean shaven white male, 20 to 40 years old and of medium build and height, with short brown hair. 

"Whilst this man may or may not be the key to unlocking this investigation, tracing and speaking to him is of vital importance to us," Andy Redwood, senior investigating officer told Sky News. "We have witnesses placing him in the resort area around the time of Madeleine's disappearance. These people were seen on the day of Madeleine's disappearance and the days leading up to it."

Madeleine McCann went missing as her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, dined at a nearby restaurant with friends. Portuguese authorities dropped the case in 2008, but Scotland Yard opened the case in May, 2011.

Detectives told BBC News that since the start of its investigation, the disappearance's timeline of "accepted version of events" had significantly changed. New information may have come from mobile phone records.

Redwood told Sky News that one of the biggest challenges for investigators is that Praia da Luz is a hot international vacation spot, so their plea for help in the investigation has to reach other countries to be effective. Despite the challenges, he added that the search has taken "massive steps forward."

The e-fits will be featured on the BBC program Crimewatch on Monday.

"We continue to put Madeleine at the heart of our investigation and I would urge people to watch Crimewatch tonight and if you can help identify this man or have any information about our new appeal points please contact us," Redwood said. "I will be travelling to Holland, Germany and Ireland to seek the support of the public there."

Detectives have issued 31 international letters of request to mostly European countries in relation to the case.

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Related stories:

Madeleine McCann Investigators Comb Cell Phone Traffic Records

Madeleine McCann Disappearance Under New Investigation in Portugal

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