Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Portuguese Authorities Announce Reopening of McCann Case

Portuguese police in Oporto have reopened the case of Madeleine McCann, an English girl, 3, who disappeared on May 3, 2007, from the suite her parents had rented at resort Praia da Luz, citing the discovery of leads that were never investigated during the original probe.

That investigation conducted by Portuguese police was widely criticized for focusing on Madeleine’s  parents, Kate and Gerald McCann, as suspects when they were with five friends at the time, at a restaurant 54 yards away from their suite. Portuguese authorities closed the unsolved case in July 2008 in the wake of scandal involving police and information leaked from Kate’s personal diary to the press that was published without permission. Authorities justified the move stating that their investigation did not detect that any crime had been committed.

All the information gathered by the Portuguese investigation was reportedly released and is available online.

Police sketch of man wanted for questioning in connection with Madeleine McCann investigation.

Police sketch of man wanted for questioning in connection with Madeleine McCann investigation.

The investigation in the UK was opened May 8, 2008, though originally intended to take its lead from the Portuguese in accordance with Portuguese law, it remained open. Investigators from Scotland Yard have been asking Portuguese police to reopen the case for some time. The answer from Portugal was than the case would not be reopened unless new information came to light, which recently it did.

Scotland Yard turned up a possible person of interest from Germany about ten days ago. Police have said they want to interview a man and have released sketches made from witness descriptions.

Police sketch of man wanted for questioning in connection with Madeleine McCann investigation.

Police sketch of man wanted for questioning in connection with Madeleine McCann investigation.

A team of Portuguese detectives, who reportedly has no connection with the original investigation, completed two-year-long internal review of the Portuguese evidence and found new leads, specifically witnesses that had never been interviewed. They issued a requested to formally reopen the case.

In a statement from Portugal’s Attorney General’s Officer a spokesperson said,  ”The Public Ministry has determined the reopening of the inquiry relating to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann following a request from the Policiia Judiciaria.”

In reply Scotland Yard issued a statement saying, ”This is a welcome development, but both sides of the investigation are at relatively early stages, with much work remaining to be done. This new momentum is encouraging, but we still have a way to go, and as with all major investigations, not all lines of inquiry that look promising will yield results.”

Madeleine’s parents are reportedly very happy with these recent developments and continue to encourage anyone who has any knowledge of Madeleine’s abduction to contact police in either the UK or in Portugal.

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Casefile: Madeleine McCann

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