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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:35 pm 
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MADELEINE: KIDNAPPER HAS 'STRUCK AGAIN'

MADDIE: Has kidnapper struck again?

Wednesday January 16,2008
By Padraic Flanagan in Huelva
FEARS were growing last night that the kidnapper of Madeleine McCann has struck again.

Detectives hunting for the missing British girl were heading for Huelva, in Spain, where five-year-old Mari Luz Cortes vanished after popping out to the shops alone on Sunday.

The port’s slum suburb of El Torrejon is just over an hour by motorway from the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, where Madeleine, four, went missing.

Spanish police immediately alerted colleagues in neighbouring Portugal to the striking similarities in the two cases, while the McCann family’s own private investigators, Metodo 3, raced to the scene.

Both are attractive children of a similar age, left alone by parents when they disappeared into thin air, unseen by any witnesses. The parents of both believe their daughters have been abducted.

And both have prompted an enormous public response, with the Cortes family, like the McCanns, mobilising hundreds of relatives and supporters to distribute pictures of their daughter.

“It is a possibility that the disappearance of my daughter is linked to the Madeleine case
Juan Jose Cortes Ramirez

Yesterday Mari Luz’s distraught parents, Juan Jose Cortes Ramirez and his wife Irena Suarez Fernandez, appealed for her safe return.

Moments before the TV plea Mari Luz’s mother collapsed at the family’s apartment and needed treatment by paramedics.

Her 34-year-old husband broke down after admitting he feared his daughter had been abducted – and that the Madeleine case was in the back of everyone’s minds.

He said: “It is a possibility that the disappearance of my daughter is linked to the Madeleine case but it is not something we want to contemplate.”

Weeping openly, he said: “Whoever has her, bring her back and everything will be OK.”

The former professional football coach, who now runs a small construction company, added: “We have no quarrels with anyone. We suspect nobody and everybody, because the family doesn’t know how to deal with the situation.

“If anyone has taken Mari Luz by mistake, or if they thought she was lost, please bring her back. She’s very shy and she never gets lost. She is a very bright girl with chestnut-coloured hair and enormous bright eyes.”

A friend said: “The family can’t believe they are going through the same pain as the McCanns did.”
Mari Luz was last seen when she went to buy a 76p packet of crisps from a kiosk on the main road 100 yards away.

Kiosk owner Jose Salazar Maria, said: “My son served Mari Luz. Like other times, she bought crisps. And then she went.” Police have been inundated with reports of sightings.

"One witness claimed to have seen Mari Luz crying on a bus with a gypsy woman, who was shouting at her to keep quiet.

Last night, at home in Rothley, Leics, Gerry McCann said he and wife Kate shared the Cortes family’s worries. He added: “We hope Mari is found quickly, safe, and is returned to her family.”

In Huelva, more than 100 officers and 500 locals – the neighbourhood has a long-established gypsy community – have been searching for missing Mari Luz.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:35 pm 
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POLICE PROBE MADELEINE LINK TO NEW CHILD SNATCH
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Madeleine McCann

Saturday January 19,2008
By Padraic Flanagan in Huelva

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THE parents of missing Madeleine McCann said last night they were reliving their agony amid fears their daughter’s abductor has struck again.

They spoke of their horror after learning that five-year-old Mari Luz Cortes was snatched on a street in Spain just a 90-minute journey from where Madeleine was last seen.


Mari Luz’s heartbroken parents yesterday launched a Madeleine-style publicity campaign to help the search for their daughter. They released a video of Mari Luz dancing and opening her Christmas presents.


As thousands joined a march through Mari Luz’s home city of Huelva, the McCanns’ detectives were scouring the tough gypsy-dominated neighbourhood of El Torrejon.


It was from there the lively young girl disappeared at 4.30pm on Sunday after walking alone to a kerbside kiosk 100 yards from her tenement home to buy a packet of crisps.


The McCanns’ private investigators from the Barcelona-based Metodo 3 agency were with the Cortes family in the slum suburb to examine links between the two disappearances.


Portuguese police were also liaising with Spanish detectives and the Guardia Civil to find any connection.


Huelva lies just over Spain’s border with Portugal, and is 120 miles from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine disappeared on the night of May 3, while sleeping at her family’s holiday apartment.


The McCanns and their investigators, two of whom spent the evening with the Cortes family, believe Huelva is on the route Madeleine’s abductor took to spirit the four-year-old away to North Africa.


Her father Gerry McCann, 39, offered Mari Luz’s family support through the nightmare ordeal.


He said: “Hearing of the probable abduction of Mari Luz Cortes has brought many awful emotions flooding back. We hope and pray she is quickly found and returned safely.”


At the family home in Rothley, Leics., he added: “Huelva is approximately a two-hour drive from Praia da Luz and we went there in early August to publicise Madeleine’s disappearance.”


Yesterday, Mari Luz’s parents, construction firm boss Juan Jose Cortes and his wife Irena Suarez Fernandez, both 39, said: “We are heartbroken, all we ask is that you return our daughter.”


No ransom demand has been made but Mr Cortes said: “If anyone has got my daughter and wants something, then they should ask – we will just get it from wherever.”


Mari Luz’s headmaster, Baldomero Rodriguez, spoke of the community’s loss – “Everyone feels as if we have all suffered a kidnap, and everybody feels united.”


Local parents and their children are terrified a kidnapper may be at large.


Around the city, police were engaged in exhaustive searches, including scuba divers at two areas of remote marshland. A dozen divers were in launches off the port city searching for any signs.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:36 pm 
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CALLS FLOOD IN TO MADELEINE HOTLINE

Sunday January 20,2008


Investigators hunting for missing toddler Madeleine McCann have received dozens of calls from the public after releasing images of the man who may have abducted her.

A police artist drew two sketches of the man based on a statement given by a British holidaymaker who stayed in the same resort as the McCann family last year.

The olive-skinned man was seen acting suspiciously near the apartment complex in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz where Madeleine vanished in May last year. One of the new images bears a striking resemblance to an earlier drawing of a man seen carrying a child through the complex on the night of Madeleine's disappearance.

The McCanns' official spokesman said it was vitally important the man was traced as soon as possible. "Who is he? Where is he? What, if any, is his connection to Madeleine's disappearance?" Clarence Mitchell said at a press conference in a London hotel. "If he is innocent we want him to come forward for his own sake so he can be ruled out. We believe this man could be linked to Madeleine's disappearance."

Madeleine, from Rothley, Leicestershire, vanished from her parents' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3 last year.

The new images are based on an interview with Gail Cooper, a holidaymaker from Nottinghamshire who originally told police about the man in May last year. Mrs Cooper described seeing an olive-skinned man with straggly collar-length hair acting suspiciously on a number of occasions in the weeks before Madeleine's disappearance.

This is the first time in the hunt for the four-year-old that images of a suspect's face have been released, and within minutes of the close of the press conference, Mr Mitchell had taken a call from a British man who believes he saw the suspect in the Portuguese resort of Faro several years ago.

Mr Mitchell said developments such as this gave Mr and Mrs McCann renewed hope. "We think the image is of such a quality that anyone who knows him will be able to identify him," he said. "Kate and Gerry are quite buoyant at the moment - every time we do something like this and move things forward it gives them strength. They would be pleased by a single phone call, let alone dozens. Every one could be the one that brings the breakthrough."

Since Madeleine's disappearance, only three people have been named as official suspects - Kate and Gerry McCann, Madeleine's parents, and British expatriate Robert Murat.

Mr and Mrs McCann have always strenuously denied any involvement in her disappearance, and hope today's development will ultimately lead to their status as "arguidos" - suspects - being lifted.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:36 pm 
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McCanns split by agony of Madeleine

Sunday Express January 20, 2008
By Tracey Kandohla

The lives of Kate and Gerry McCann are moving in ''opposite directions'' because they have developed strikingly different ways of coping with the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine.

Kate is living the life of a semi-recluse as she focuses on being a stay-at-home mother, virtually shutting herself off from the supportive community around her.

Gerry, meanwhile, has thrown himself into working full time as a heart specialist during the week, while running the campaign to find four-year-old Madeleine in the evenings and at weekends.

Now friends fear that the strain they have been under for the last eight months is putting a substantial burden on their once idyllic marriage.

Outwardly, Gerry appears to be as strong as ever but Kate is more fragile and is becoming increasingly angry and frustrated by the lack of a major breakthrough.

A friend said: ''Kate is in a much worse frame of mind than Gerry is. She always looks so haunted. They are totally united in everything they do in their search to find Madeleine. But they are heading in opposite directions in their way of handling it.''

Kate has shown no desire to go back to her part-time job as a GP and cannot contemplate her dream of having another child while Madeleine is still missing.

To occupy her tormented mind, she devotes her time and energies to caring for twins Sean and Amelie and has been busy planning a birthday party for them on February 2. The twins will be three the day before.

Emotionally she is split in two by the event – genuinely excited and happy for her twins, while at the same time knowing that for a large part of that day her mind will in reality be centred on her absent child Madeleine. Like Christmas, it will be an emotional milestone, a hurdle to be overcome as well as an event to enjoy.

''The mental and emotional agony they’re going through is unbearable,'' said another friend. ''We worry that’s it’s putting a strain on their relationship.''

While Gerry is slowly adjusting to life without his daughter, Kate battles for a sense of normality and has become almost reclusive, haunted by visions of Madeleine.

She recently admitted: ''I still have moments of panic. Madeleine is irreplaceable and I just want her back. It’s not about me, it’s not about Gerry, it’s about Madeleine. Every day I’m hoping we won’t get to the next day without her.''

Every night Kate, 39, goes into Madeleine’s pretty pink bedroom and prays for her. Often she weeps for her cherished daughter. And during the night she wakes up and senses that Madeleine has come back to her.

Her mother Susan Healy revealed: ''Sometimes she sees visions of Madeleine. Then she realises Madeleine is still missing and Kate is absolutely devastated, hysterical and bereft.''

Kate refuses to believe Portuguese police claims that Madeleine is dead, desperately clinging to the hope that one day the family will be reunited.

One commentator recently said that Kate has been physically transformed by grief and that her back, shoulders, hands and mouth are now ''reshaped into the angular manifestation of a silent scream''.

Kate’s mother-in-law Eileen McCann admitted: ''A piece of Kate’s heart has been torn away and I worry about how she is coping. She looks so frail and so desperate.

''They are determined to give the twins as normal an upbringing as possible in the circumstances.''

But maintaining a normal face is proving to be increasingly difficult as a hidden anger swells inside Kate. A family source said: ''She is angry about all the untrue, hurtful allegations being made in Portugal. And she is frustrated because the whole investigation is taking so long. She may come across as weak and weepy but she’s strong inside.''

Each day Gerry dresses in a smart suit to go to work at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital, while casually-clothed Kate makes meals for the twins, tidies the house and on Wednesdays and Thursdays does the nursery school run.

A local mother used to help her with domestic duties and babysitting but it is understood Kate no longer uses her services.

Since returning home from Portugal four months ago, the family has had a constant stream of relatives and friends visiting. They also help out with cooking and cleaning.

Kate spends much of her time behind closed doors at her £500,000 detached house in Rothley, Leics. She spends hours sifting through the masses of mail that still arrives every day.

Cash donations, from £10 to £100, presents for Madeleine and boxes of rosary beads and other religious artefacts are sent from around the world. Devout Catholics Kate and Gerry take great comfort in praying for Madeleine at the Sacred Heart church, just a five-minute stroll from their home.

It is one of the few times Kate is seen in public. She attends mass every Sunday with her family and often takes the twins to a Tuesday morning service.

Kate has abandoned the village routine she once shared with Madeleine. She no longer has her hair styled at Dawn Newcombe’s salon, which she regularly visited with Madeleine. Her mother normally takes the twins for haircuts when she is staying.

When Kate joined her shortly before Christmas, she fought back tears as she watched the youngsters take turns to sit in the seat Madeleine used to have.

One of the stylists said: ''She was almost in tears as she watched them and my heart went out to her.''

Kate also avoids her favourite coffee shop, where an excited Madeleine once sipped hot chocolate topped with marshmallows.

The couple are both official suspects but vehemently deny any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.

Gerry fears he will never see Madeleine again, saying: ''I know now, probably, the chances of getting Madeleine back are slim.''


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:37 pm 
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MADELEINE: MORE SIGHTINGS OF SUSPECT

WHO IS HE? The Praia da Luz prowler

Tuesday January 22,2008
By Mark Reynolds


MADELEINE McCann’s parents were buoyed last night as witnesses came forward claiming to have seen the man they believe may have abducted her.

Dozens of calls started flooding in immediately after this striking image was released yesterday, giving fresh hope to Kate and Gerry McCann.

It was drawn by an FBI-approved sketch artist from a witness statement given by British holidaymaker Gail Cooper.

Mrs Cooper saw the “disturbing” stranger acting suspiciously near the holiday complex in Praia da Luz where Madeleine vanished on May 3 last year.

The McCanns believe finding the man is crucial to discovering what happened to their daughter.

Their spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: “Calls are coming in. One man rang to say he distinctly remembers seeing this man during a visit to Portugal two years ago. Others are being co-ordinated by the investigating team in Spain.”

The sketch bears a close resemblance to an earlier drawing of a man seen carrying a child on the night Madeleine disappeared. But there is much more detail in the new picture. Mr Mitchell said: “The image is of such a quality that anyone who knows him will be able to identify him.”

Since the facial image was released with another drawing of the man striding along with his hands in his pockets, calls have been coming in from far and wide.

Mr Mitchell said: “Kate and Gerry are quite buoyant at the moment – every time we move things forward it gives them strength.”


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Mrs Cooper, 50, last night described her meeting with the man in Portugal as “unnerving”. She said: “He made my blood run cold and gave me the creeps. My memory of him is very vivid. He was exactly as he is in the sketch. I just hope they either catch this person or he comes forward.”

The healthcare worker from Newark, Notts, first saw the man on the beach as she went for lunch with friends at the Paraiso restaurant in Praia da Luz last April, two weeks before Madeleine was snatched.

She said: “He was wandering alone, even though it was pouring with rain. I watched him for a few minutes before I went back to chatting to my friends.”

Later that afternoon, at around 4pm, the stranger turned up at the front door of her holiday villa just moments after her husband had gone out. Heavily clothed despite the warm weather and carrying what he claimed was an ID card, he told her he was collecting for an orphanage in nearby Espiche.

Mrs Cooper recalled: “He must have seen my husband leave, because the bell rang only seconds later. He seemed really strange. It was a warm afternoon, but he was still wearing khaki trousers or joggers, a T-shirt and a bomber jacket.

“He said he was collecting for an orphanage that was caring for three children whose parents had been killed in an accident on the main coast road. It just didn’t add up.”

Gerry and Kate McCann, from Rothley, Leics, hope the new development will finally lead to their status as official suspects being lifted.

Both have always strenuously denied any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance shortly before her fourth birthday.

Anyone who knows the man, or believes they may have seen him, should call the McCann team’s multi-language information hotline on 00 34 902 300 213.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:37 pm 
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MADELEINE: MANHUNT IS 'DIVERSION'

Wednesday January 23,2008
By Padraic Flanagan in Praia da Luz and Nick Fagge


THE manhunt by Madeleine investigators prompted by a drawing of a possible abductor is designed to divert suspicion from Kate and Gerry McCann, the Portuguese police believe.

Last night, sources in the Policia Judiciaria revealed reports of a dishevelled man lurking around Praia da Luz were investigated months ago and found to be groundless.

One stormed: "The purpose of this latest exercise by the McCanns is the same as always. It"s another diversionary tactic."

On Sunday, private investigators searching for the four-year-old released a sketch based on the evidence of a British tourist who said she had seen a "creepy man". Grandmother Gail Cooper, who was staying 600 yards from the McCanns" apartment, said she saw him three times, once trying to collect money for a fake orphanage.

Based on her descriptions, an FBI-trained artist drew a likeness. Detectives in Portugal believe Madeleine is dead and that her parents were involved in disposing of the body.

Former PJ inspector and now criminologist Francisco Moita Flores said the timing of the McCanns releasing the image was curious, coming only days before the McCanns" dining companions are due to face further questioning.

He said: "This is maybe the most critical moment in the investigation. They know there is evidence that the girl died and we are on the eve of interrogating witnesses who may undo all the theories."

It was reported the only other official suspect, Robert Murat, was seen chatting to a man resembling the sketch suspect last May.

Nanny Charlotte Pennington, 20, told the police she saw Murat, 34, talking to "a man 27 to 35, average height, very dark eyes, Portuguese or Spanish appearance".

After Madeleine was snatched on May 3, the McCanns" dining companion Jane Tanner, 36, said she had seen a man walking away from the Ocean Club carrying a child.

Yesterday, despite never seeing his face, Ms Tanner, from Exeter, said she was "80 per cent certain" it was the man in the drawing.

Last night, Amanda Mills, 34, from Basildon, Essex, claimed she saw a man resembling the sketch suspect trying to break into a ground-floor apartment in the Ocean Club, similar to the one the McCanns occupied, a week later.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:37 pm 
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MADELEINE: LOOKALIKE 'WILL CLEAR MURAT'

Madeleine McCann

Thursday January 24,2008
By Padraic Flanagan

THE picture below may clear Robert Murat, the first suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.


On the left is Praia da Luz estate agent Angus Symington, 37, and on the right Mr Murat, 34.


Their resemblance shows that witnesses who claim they saw Mr Murat outside the McCanns’ apartment on the night Madeleine vanished may have named the wrong man.


Expatriate Mr Murat has always insisted he was with his mother.


Now many in Praia da Luz believe that the eight witnesses who say they saw Mr Murat could have confused him with Mr Symington.

Was Murat, right, confused with Symington?

The resemblance has emerged just two weeks after police revealed that one of the McCanns’ friends, 41-year-old medical researcher David Payne, could also have been mistaken for Mr Murat when Madeleine vanished.

The lookalikes could force police into a total rethink of their eight-month investigation.

Mr Symington, who is about the same height as Mr Murat, is a father-of-two who runs the Ocean Country Real Estate office at the Ocean Club complex where the McCanns were staying in Praia da Luz.

I’m amazed by the likeness, The hairline and the nose, it could be me
Robert Murat

When shown his picture, Mr Murat said: “I’m amazed by the likeness, The hairline and the nose, it could be me. Just the chin is different.

“This guy has every reason to be at the Ocean Club. Remember – people work. I wouldn’t want what happened to me to happen to anyone else.”

Mr Murat said he intended to give the new evidence to his lawyer so that it could be forwarded to Policia Judiciaria investigators in nearby Portimao. Later, Mr Murat’s uncle Ralph Eveleigh was shown Mr Symington’s picture and said: “b****y hell – it’s Robert. They are very similar.”

Mr Murat has always said he spent the fateful night at home in the villa he shares with his mother Jennifer, 72, fewer than 150 yards from the McCanns’ apartment.


But a series of witnesses have given statements claiming to have seen him around the Ocean Club in the hours after Kate McCann raised the alarm. They include three friends of the McCanns – Russell O’Brien, Fiona Payne and Rachel Oldfield.


There is no suggestion that Mr Symington had anything to do with the tragedy. He insisted that he was at home with his family six miles away when Madeleine vanished.


He said last night: “I had been away in England for 10 days and came back the day before Madeleine went missing. I was here on the day, and for a few days following, but then I left again for a week.


“I categorically wasn’t around on the night she vanished. I left Praia da Luz at close of business at 6pm to go home. It couldn’t have been me. The first I was aware of the story was when I arrived at work the next day.”


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:37 pm 
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FOUND: THE MAN WANTED IN HUNT FOR MADELEINE
Friday January 25,2008
By Padraic Flanagan in Pedragosa, Algarve
THE Daily Express has tracked down a gun-toting oddball who sparked the latest poster hunt for Madeleine McCann’s kidnapper.

We found hog farmer Joaquim Jose Marques at his ramshackle Algarve smallholding.

Yet last night the McCanns’ £50,000-a-month team of private detectives were still nowhere near tracing him.

The Marques farm is littered with junk and overrun by vicious dogs. It is just three miles from Praia da Luz where Madeleine disappeared on May 3 last year.

Earlier, Portuguese police re-visited the farm to question Marques about the new poster.

The McCanns had released the drawing by an FBI artist of a “creepy” man spotted lurking around Praia da Luz by 50-year-old holidaymaker Gail Cooper, of Newark, Nottinghamshire. She described a sinister, long-haired man in his 30s, with Spanish or North African colouring.

When this newspaper’s investigators traced unkempt Marques to his tumbledown hillside farm, it was apparent why police were quick to include him in their first round-up of local suspects.

As we approached his crumbling farmhouse in the hamlet of Pedragosa he flew into a rage at being linked to Madeleine’s disappearance and unleashed a pack of ferocious dogs.

Brandishing a garden hoe menacingly, the leather jacket-clad farmer rushed from tending his hogs to scream abuse and threats when asked to explain the recent police visit. “Leave me alone, leave me alone,” he screamed in a wild rage.

“Is this the face of the man in the picture? No it is not. Just leave me f****** alone.

“You are destroying my life. I have had the police around here and they know it is not me. I want you off my land right now.”

The swarthy farmer then disappeared into an outbuilding and emerged toting a rifle and screaming threats that he was about to shoot.

We left with his dogs snarling at the gate.

“He is a very strange character,” said one local later. “I don’t know much about him because I don’t want anything to do with him. He moved in here about three months ago but he’s lived in the area around here for ages. All I know is that he goes to work at 7 every morning on his motorbike after feeding his hogs.”

Commonly known as “Quim Ze”, Marques has a three-year-old daughter with his British girlfriend who works in a nearby town as an assistant at a hair salon.

Portuguese police also visited the girlfriend’s workplace. They questioned her about Marques in an effort to check the accuracy of his alibi in the light of new information from the McCanns.

Last night, Kate and Gerry McCann’s private detectives from the Barcelona-based Metodo 3 agency were still trying to locate Marques’s home to question him about the poster.

The McCanns’ spokes-man Clarence Mitchell said: “As far as we are concerned, the hunt for the man in the sketch continues. Even if it is not the man we are looking for, at least it enables us to rule individuals out.”

Police confirmed that no arrests had been made after their visit to the Marques farm on Tuesday.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:38 pm 
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MADELINE: THE THEORIES THAT DON'T ADD UP
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All theories surrounding Maddie's disappearence have come to nothing

Saturday January 26,2008
By Marcus Dunk

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IT IS almost nine months since the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and in this time numerous theories have been put forward as to where she might be held captive, what happened to her that night and who was really involved.

Unfortunately, the Portuguese police. The latest is by dismissed been every theory has hastily the allegation by private investigators that a local paedophile snatched her. A sketch was distributed worldwide but the police named him as an innocent local pig farmer who had nothing to do with the case.

So what others have there been?

Neighbour Robert Murat was somehow involved in the abduction of Madeleine
Having drawn the suspicion of a journalist who was alerted by his eagerness to help in the search and the fact he had recently lost custody of a three-year-old daughter who bore a resemblance to Madeleine, Robert Murat, 34, was given arguido (suspect) status by the police on May 15.
Police cleared this pig farmer


Villas were searched, computers and mobile phone records seized and a hidden basement at his property searched.

Also investigated was computer expert Sergey Malinka who had set up a website for Murat and who exchanged frequent phone calls with him after the abduction – calls that Malinka denied.

Friends of the McCanns claim they saw Murat outside the holiday complex on the night of the disappearance. Murat proclaimed his innocence and claimed he was at his mother’s villa 100 yards away for the whole time, an alibi she backed up.

Police have found no evidence to link been revealed that a man recently has it and Murat to Madeleine’s disappearance working that evening at the complex, Praia da Luz estate agent Angus Symington, bears a remarkable similarity to Murat.

In cahoots with her boyfriend Robert Murat and her former husband, Michaela Walczuch was involved in the conspiracy to abduct and sell Madeleine
A Portuguese lorry driver claimed that Ms Walczuch, 32, had been seen with the missing girl in a van 25 miles from Praia da Luz two days after Madeleine went missing.

Initially, Walczuch claimed she was attending a Jehovah’s Witness meeting in Lagos at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance. Even though this alibi was disputed, police established that Ms Walczuch, who has a daughter of her own, could not have been involved.

A woman saw Madeleine at a cafe in Belgium
On July 28, 2007, child therapist Katleen Sampermans claimed to have seen Madeleine in the company of a “swarthy” Dutch man and an English-speaking woman at a cafe terrace in Tongeren on the Belgian border.
This toddler was a farmer's daughter

Sampermans, 33, told detectives she was “100 per cent certain” the child was the missing four-year-old girl.

Staff at the De Pauze restaurant provided police with a milkshake bottle and a straw they thought the girl used. But

DNA samples proved negative – and after further investigation it was discovered that the girl was the four-year-old daughter of a Belgian man.

An anonymous letter sent to a newspaper claimed that Madeleine’s body was buried in scrubland only nine miles from where she was abducted
The tip-off on Wednesday, June 13, 2007, to Dutch newspaper De Telegraaf was taken seriously because of its chilling similarity to a note written to the same newspaper last year, which correctly identified the location of two dead Belgian girls.

Shortly before dawn on Friday June 15, up to 50 Portuguese police with sniffer dogs cordoned off an area of 10 square miles before focusing on a patch of rocky ground where a beach towel was reported to have been discovered.

grave shallow the The grim task of locating referred to in the note began at the top of a dirt track outside the village of Arao. For four hours police combed the dense undergrowth but found nothing.

After being abducted and murdered, Madeleine’s body was put inside the body of a labrador and then incinerated at a pet cemetery
In September of last year, police questioned a former Dutch criminal who operated a pet incinerator from a run-down villa in Monchique, a 30-minute drive from Praia da Luz.

eight years in jail for planting bombs almost spent Having in the Netherlands, Eef Hoos, 61 (dubbed the “Al Capone of The Hague” after his 1988 trial), was called in by police. “The police said to me, ‘You have a very bad name’. I am the biggest bomb maker in the world,” he said.

over whether he knew the McCanns or if anybody questioned was He matching their description had used his services. He told detectives that a had brought the corpse of their labrador to Polish were thought couple who he him.

He admitted that the man and woman had “acted strangely”. He found it odd that “this couple were not crying”. He said: “I can swear I had nothing to do with that girl’s disappearance.”

An intensive police search of the incinerators and of Hoos’s records revealed nothing.

Madeleine was abducted and taken to Morocco, where she is being brought up in a North African family
There have been numerous sightings in Morocco of blonde girls matching Madeleine’s description. One of the first was made by Norwegian Marie Olli, who contacted the police on May 10 claiming she had seen Madeleine the previous day in a petrol station in Marrakech accompanied by a man in his 30s.

She saw the child asking the man: “Can I see Mummy soon?” Other sightings were reported at the Marrakech Ibis hotel, in the town of Zaio in northern Morocco, and on a ferry from Tarifa in Spain. On August 8, hotelier James Valarino from Gibraltar claimed he saw Madeleine in the clutches of a European man at a market in Tangiers.

The biggest lead, however, came from Spanish tourist Clara Torres, who had taken a photograph on August 31 on a road between Chaouen and Tetuan of a fair-skinned girl being carried on the back was uncanny. But the Madeleine to of a dark-skinned woman. The resemblance little girl turned out to be called Bouchra, couldn’t speak a word of English and was the daughter of local farmers.

Although the Spanish detective agency employed by the McCanns to find their daughter have focused much of their activity on following up leads in Morocco, dead ends have been the only result.

to taken was Madeleine Experts say it is highly unlikely that Morocco, believing that the high number of sightings of blonde girls in the area is down to the fact that blonde and red-haired children are not uncommon in the area due to the ethnic Berber population.

Madeleine was abducted and taken to Malta
By mid-June there had been a series of possible sightings in Malta, with at least five recognised as being credible. The first came on June 16 when a British couple reported seeing a small blonde girl in the capital Valletta. A Maltese woman then reported seeing a girl resembling Madeleine on a ferry on June 20, followed by Welshman Ray Roberts claiming he saw a girl in Sliema wearing a jet-black wig being told: “Get up, little girl,” by an Arabic-looking man. A full-scale investigation was launched.

“The last time Madeleine was reported was in Bahar-ic-Caghaq [where there is a large caravan site] on June 21 by a man who would not reveal his name,” said Superintendent Mario Spiteri in Malta.

“We could not trace the call as it may have been made from a phone box. We are making a search and will continue our investigation until we can rule out the claim. If she is on the island it will be hard for her captors to leave without us knowing. We have little crime here and we are a very religious community.”

All the sightings have been dismissed by the police who trawled through CCTV footage and interviewed multiple witnesses. “We don’t believe they brought the girl here,” said one officer. “It’s unlikely anyone would have brought her here, gone out on buses and walked around publicly when the world is searching for her.”

Madeleine was abducted by a convicted paedophile and sex fiend known as “The Frenchman”
Back in June, Spanish investigator Antonio Toscano claimed Madeleine was snatched by a French paedophile on orders from wealthy organisers of a European child sex network. “I’m certain that Madeleine is still in Europe, perhaps even still in Portugal, that she is alive and is being held by this man,” said Toscano.

“This man is a cold and meticulous criminal, he abducts children for money and hands them over to paedophile networks. I was told the Frenchman was responsible for taking Madeleine through a tip-off from a very reliable source.

Now police are going to check out this information and I intend to contact the McCanns and offer my help to the family and get this girl back.”

But the claims came to nothing. “We have checked all the information that he has provided,” said a Portuguese officer. “[We] have already said that it is a line which is not very strong, not consistent.”


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 01, 2009 2:38 pm 
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MADELEINE: £1M WAR FOR MCCANN INTERVIEW

Saturday January 26,2008
By David Pilditch in Praia da Luz


AMERICA’S top chat show hosts are locked in a bidding war for an exclusive interview with the parents of Madeleine McCann.

Oprah Winfrey and Barbara Walters have each pledged £1million in an attempt to get them in front of the TV cameras, it emerged yesterday.

And the McCanns, who remain suspects in their four-year-old daughter’s disappearance, are considering taking the cash from one of the rivals to top up a fund which was set up to help find her.

The Find Madeleine Appeal, which once stood at £1.2million through donations from the public, is dwindling at an alarming rate and is said to have plunged to less than £400,000. Fears are growing the money could run out within weeks because of vast spending on private detectives and advertising.

The couple’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell confirmed that they were “talking” to representatives of both chat show giants.

But he insisted money would not be the deciding factor. The couple would go for the show that best helped their search for Madeleine.

The disclosure that they are planning a big-money TV appearance comes just two weeks after they were criticised for considering selling movie and book rights to their story.

Award-winning Oprah, 53, a billionaire, bills herself as “America’s best friend” and “one of the most influential women in the world”.

Her 1993 interview with troubled pop star Michael Jackson pulled in 100 million viewers.

Rival Barbara, Walters, 78 – who prides herself on her “personality and scoops” – claims she has interviewed more statesmen and stars than any other journalist in history.

Her 1999 grilling of Monica Lewinsky about her fling with former US president Bill Clinton attracted 74 million viewers.

Mr Mitchell said: “We’ve been approached by representatives for both Oprah and Barbara. They want an exclusive interview with Kate and Gerry. We are discussing it but it doesn’t mean we are doing it. Nothing has been agreed.”

A family source said the McCanns had several discussions with Oprah’s spokesman but “more conversations” with Barbara’s.

The source added: “Barbara is like royalty over there and has done every major interview with the presidents and the biggest stars.

“Her people said, ‘We have the biggest show in the States with an audience of 15 million from East to West’.”

But Mr Mitchell stressed: “We are not in the market for selling Kate and Gerry’s story to the highest bidder. And we are not impressed by big names. We talk to media from all over the world.”

Mr Mitchell said the couple would only consider a TV interview or documentary film if it was “constructive and helpful” in the search for Madeleine or led to “a long-term change” in procedures to help find missing children.

Only then would contributions or donations to a special fund be welcome, he added.

The McCanns say they have been impressed by a system in America called Amber Alert which triggers an emergency system nationwide when a child is reported missing. They want to campaign for a similar system to be set up in Europe.

But both chat show hosts may be disappointed about how much information they can glean from the McCanns.

Under Portuguese law the couple’s status as suspects bans them from talking publicly about the investigation.

Portuguese police have faced fierce criticism over the handling of the case and their actions in the crucial early hours after Madeleine disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on May 3 last year.


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