Sunday, May 13, 2007

Suspects emerge in Madeleine case



"I really believe she was British and yes it could have been someone seeking the girl. She looked at cars, she was startled, she hesitated and she looked away" - Anonymous witness
Suspects emerge in Madeleine case
12.01, Sat May 12 2007

Evidence is mounting about a female suspect in connection with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

A potentially vital witness said that she saw a woman behaving suspiciously at a crucial place and time on the night Madeleine was abducted from a Portuguese holiday apartment in the Algarve village of Praia Da Luz.

The Portuguese woman, who wished to remain anonymous, said: "The woman was about 1'70", perhaps 1'72", more or less 50 years of age. She was a little fat, had blonde hair and a centre parting.

"I really believe she was British, and yes it could have been someone seeking the girl. She looked at cars, she was startled, she hesitated and she looked away."

But the witness claimed investigators had taken no interest in her sighting and had not shown her any sketches or photo-fits.

Meanwhile, police have said they are checking CCTV footage from several locations. A source confirmed that it includes a tape from a service station close to Praia da Luz which shows a young girl with a woman.

Madeleine's father has insisted he will leave "no stone unturned" in the hunt for his daughter as a businessman offered a £1 million reward for her return.

Gerry McCann joined by his wife Kate said: "We have now seen at first hand how hard the police are working in the search for Madeleine and their strong desire to find her.

"We are doing absolutely everything to assist the police with their investigation and we will leave no stone unturned in the search for our daughter Madeleine.

"We are very grateful for all the effort and offers of support that we have had from home and around the world."

Mr McCann added that his family is still "positive" even though the ground hunt for her is being scaled down and there has been no breakthrough in the police investigation more than a week after she was snatched.

At St Andrew's Cathedral in Glasgow, hundreds of well-wishers attended a vigil for the missing toddler.

The service was organised by her uncle John McCann who read out an email from Madeleine's parents to the congregation gathered in the church.

The message from Mr and Mrs McCann said: "We remain confident that Madeleine will be found soon and your prayers and efforts will bring this about."

It comes as David Beckham filmed a television appeal for the little girl's safe return.

Stephen Winyard, owner of a Scottish health spa called Stobo Castle, offered a reward of £1 million for information that leads to the return of Madeleine McCann through a British newspaper.

It is not the first reward to be offered in the case after a colleague of Madeleine's mother offered a £100,000 reward for help in finding the toddler.

A 200 kilometre (125 mile) square area had been searched, with each area covered more than once by search, rescue and dog teams.

Police also issued an image of a pair of pyjamas identical to those which Madeleine had been wearing when she disappeared. Notices around Praia da Luz previously had differing accounts of what she was wearing.