ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday September 9, 2007
Vol. 42 - No 15

Madeleine’s parents named as suspects

Madeleine McCann, who vanished while on holiday in Portugal

PORTMAO, Portugal, Saturday, AFP - The mother and father of British toddler Madeleine McCann, who vanished while on holiday in Portugal, have both been named as formal suspects by police, their lawyer said today. When Gerry McCann emerged from a police station here in the early hours after nearly eight hours of questioning, advocate Carlos Pinto de Abreu said that both the doctors were now under suspicion.

“Kate and Gerry McCann have both been today declared arguidos with no bail conditions and no charges have been brought against them,” the lawyer said in a statement in English.

“The investigation continues.” The move came after Kate McCann had already been named an arguido, or formal suspect, by officers investigating the disappearance of the four-year-old girl from the holiday resort of Praia da Luz in the Algarve on May 3.

Madeleine vanished after she and her twin two-year-old siblings were left in the family's holiday apartment at the resort as their parents had a meal with friends in a tapas bar just metres away.

Gerry McCann Kate McCann

Both Gerry and Kate McCann fiercely deny that they were involved in the disappearance -- he described as “ludicrous” the claims levelled against his wife in a statement issued before he was questioned.“Anyone who knows anything about the 3rd May knows that Kate is completely innocent. We will fight this all the way and we will not stop looking for Madeleine,” he wrote on the www.findmadeleine.com site.

The naming of the couple as suspects came after police in Portugal received the partial results of forensic tests on traces of blood found in the room where the child was sleeping. Kate McCann, 39, was also questioned by police about blood allegedly found in a car the couple rented 25 days after Madeleine went missing.

Gerry McCann's sister, Philomena, told Britain's ITV television Friday that Kate McCann had been offered a reduced sentence by police if she confessed.

Chronology of events

May 4 - McCann family members and British media criticise local police for what they call a slow initial response, failure to notify ports and borders in time, and failure to secure the crime scene, which may have led to vital clues being lost. Police say that under Portuguese secrecy laws they are unable to reveal details of the investigation.

May 5 - Police say they have put together a sketch of a suspect and that they believe Madeleine is still alive and being held within three miles of the crime scene. Media reports say the sketch is vague and only features the back of a man's head.

May 8 - Police say they have investigated 350 suspicious incidents but still have no idea where she might be. Portuguese newspaper Correio de Manha says Madeleine may have been kidnapped by a paedophile ring.

May 11 - Scottish businessman Stephen Winyard offers a 1 million pound ($2 million) reward. Former England soccer captain David Beckham makes televised appeal for information.

May 12 - Madeleine turns four.

May 13 - Virgin boss Richard Branson, author J.K. Rowling and footballer Wayne Rooney are among those to have contributed to rewards now totalling 2.5 million pounds.

May 13 - Half a million pilgrims attending the 90th anniversary of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary at the Sanctuary of Fatima pray for Madeleine's return.

May 14 - Police search a villa just up the road from where Madeleine was snatched and take a British man, Robert Murat, to a police station for questioning. He is later released.

May 30 - McCanns meet Pope Benedict during a general audience at the Vatican.

June 1-10 - The couple travel to Spain, Germany, Netherlands and Morocco appealing for help to find their daughter.

Aug. 7 - Traces of blood were found on the wall of the apartment where Madeleine went missing.

Aug. 11 - Portuguese police Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa tells the BBC that Madeleine may be dead.

Aug. 31 - McCanns say they have instructed their lawyers to begin legal action against Portuguese newspaper Tal & Qual after it claimed police believe the couple killed Madeleine.

Sept. 6 - Kate McCann spends 11 hours being questioned as a witness by police.

Sept. 7 - Parents to be formally declared as suspects.

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Copyright 2007 Wijeya Newspapers Ltd.Colombo. Sri Lanka.