It’s difficult to believe it’s been six years since three-year-old Madeline McCann was taken from her parent’s holiday apartment in Portugal. Vanishing without a trace, no one has seen or heard from Madeline since her disappearance in May, 2007. This week, her parents Kate and Gerry, along with detectives from the Metropolitan Police took to Crimewatch to share new information with the public and appeal for more.
Two e-fits of the same face were released to the public a day before the programme aired, and now it can be revealed that the person in these pictures is a man who was seen near the apartments in Portugal carrying a small child towards the beach. He was seen at around 10pm and is thought to be between 20 and 40 years of age. Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said, “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. This is far from our only line of inquiry and there will be e-fits released of other sightings as well, who we are equally keen to trace. These people were seen on the day of Madeleine’s disappearance and the days leading up to it.”
In addition to this new information, the detectives working on the case have emphasised that the initial timeline of events are not as they once thought. It has now been established that Kate and Gerry left their sleeping children at 8.30pm to have dinner at a Tapas bar within the complex, then at 9.05pm Gerry went back to check on the children. At 10pm, Kate McCann discovers that Madeline is missing and at the same time, witnesses spot the man from the e-fit carrying a child towards the sea. It is also believed that the famous e-fit of a man carrying a child away from the complex and who was spotted by one of the women eating with Kate and Gerry was not carrying Madeline. It has now been established that the man was carrying his own child back to his apartment, after picking her up from the crèche facilities in the complex.
…police are keen to rule out the possibility that Madeline disturbed an opportunistic housebreaker…
In addition to the e-fits released to the press, two more were added, of fair-haired men fitting similar descriptions. Police aren’t ruling out the possibility that these e-fits are the same person, but the men in question were seen loitering in the complex in the days running up to Madeline’s disappearance. Also, between 3.30pm and 5.30pm, several witnesses reported seeing charity collectors who the police now believe to be bogus. E-fits have been released of these charity collectors in the hope that they are identified and eliminated from the investigation.
Police are also appealing to any holidaymakers who stayed in and around the area who were burgled. With several burglaries taking place within the holiday complex, peaking in April, police are keen to rule out the possibility that Madeline disturbed an opportunistic housebreaker. It’s important to note as well that the windows were used as a point of entry for the burglars, and in the case of Madeline’s disappearance, the window in her bedroom had been opened.
…police said they were pleased with a larger response than they had initially expected…
The Crimewatch programme, which included an extensive twenty-five minute reconstruction, was aired in Germany, the Netherlands and the Irish Republic as it’s thought that many tourists from these areas were staying in Praia da Luz at the time Madeline went missing. Following the programme, police said they were pleased with a larger response than they had initially expected, with more than 300 phone calls and 170 emails. Detectives say they will now need time to go through all of the new evidence presented to them following the Crimewatch appeal.