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Someone in Praia da Luz knows what happened to Madeleine, claim private detectives

Original Source: MAIL: SATURDAY 03 MAY 2009
By Mail On Sunday Reporter
Last updated at 9:10 AM on 03rd May 2009
Someone living in or around Praia da Luz - the Algarve resort where Madeleine McCann vanished - knows what happened to her, claim the private detectives employed by her parents to find the little girl.

Speaking publicly about the inquiry for the first time in a Channel 4 documentary to be aired next week, the two former British police detectives say the 'answer still lies' in that small section of the Portuguese coast.

They disclose that one statement, contained in files released by police last summer, apparently corroborates the sighting by a friend of Madeleine's parents of a man carrying a small girl in the area at the time she went missing.

In a Channel 4 documentary, Gerry McCann returns to apartment 5a in Praia da Luz for the first time since his daughter Madeleine vanished two years ago
The search team also found statements from tourists, who all noticed a suspicious-looking man hanging around near the McCanns' apartment on that fateful evening.

And statements from the files suggest the family may have been watched in the days before Madeleine disappeared.

The documentary, Cutting Edge: Madeleine Was Here, follows detectives Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley as they try to piece together what eye-witnesses say happened two years ago.

Today is the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.

Mr Edgar, a retired detective inspector with more than 30 years' experience in Cheshire and the RUC, is leading the probe.

The McCanns hope a computer-generated image of how Madeleine could look today will generate leads
He said: 'There's someone local, lives locally, who has the answer to this, and not, you know, much wider than 10, 15km away from Praia da Luz.

'So you don't start an investigation in Morocco or Spain or France or even Lisbon. This offence happened in Praia de Luz. It's a very self-contained resort, and that's where we've started and that's where I think the answer is.'

Mr Cowley, who spent three decades as a detective sergeant in police forces in the north west of England, said: 'The answer still lies in Praia de Luz and it's important that we focus on Praia da Luz and the surrounding area.'

Portuguese police released some 30,000 files of information about their investigation when the case was shelved last summer.

Now translated into English, at a cost of 100,000, the files are yielding new leads for the private detectives, they tell the documentary makers.

One key statement appears to corroborate the sighting by the McCanns' friend Jane Tanner, who told police she saw a man carrying a small girl near the Leicestershire couple's holiday apartment on May 3 2007 at around 9.10pm.

A short time later, on the same night, a family also saw a man carrying a small blonde child nearby. Their and Ms Tanner's descriptions of the man are similar.

The investigators hope the documentary and a reconstruction filmed with Gerry McCann may jog the memories of people who were in Praia da Luz at the time of the apparent abduction.

Mr Edgar said: 'We're interested in getting back and getting answers to where it happened and that's why we're doing a reconstruction, because there's lots of unanswered questions.

'The reconstruction is based on statements taken by the Portuguese police. We're not speculating on anything or theories, it's evidence that we've got from the file.'

Piecing it together: Mr McCann at home in Rothley, Leicestershire
He added: 'In my experience random just doesn't happen, someone just doesn't go in, a passer-by, and pick up a child and take it, these things are planned.

'So someone will have been in the vicinity of apartment 5a, the Ocean Club, and they may even have been watching the apartment for a week or more.'

In the documentary, Mr McCann returns for the first time to apartment 5a of the Ocean Club complex, where he last saw his daughter.

The McCanns are also hoping that the release of a computer-generated picture showing how Madeleine could look today will generate new leads.

However, Mrs McCann admitted on the Oprah Show that even she could not recognise the image of the little girl.

Desperate: Kate and Gerry McCann pictured at a news conference a month after their then three-year-old daughter Maddie disappeared on May 3 2007
A source said: 'On the way back, Kate was in tears. She cried the whole way home and just kept on saying "I want it all to be over".'

To mark the anniversary, Madeleine's family, from Rothley in Leicestershire, have spoken of their torment over the past two years.


Mr McCann admitted that they had struggled to move on with their lives, saying: 'We're a happy family but we're not a complete family. There's still a scar.'

His wife added: 'I think we're far from normality. We need to get out there that she's alive, she's out there, she's findable.'

Cutting Edge: Madeleine Was Here, will be shown on Channel 4 on Thursday, May 7 at 9pm


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