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Original Source:   EXPRESS: 01 - 02 - 03 - TUESDAY 09 OCTOBER 2007
By Martin Evans In Praia Da Luz Tuesday October 09,2007

CRUCIAL forensic evidence allegedly links Madeleine McCann’s parents to her disappearance, a source close to the case insisted last night.

British DNA tests were said to indicate that Portuguese police were correct to declare Kate and Gerry McCann suspects.

The source also rejected claims that the evidence found in their hire car was “inconclusive”. The startling turn in the investigation shocked the McCanns, who had been hoping they would soon be cleared of involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.

Emphasising that the latest tests were valid, the source said: “There is no reason to change the direction of the investigation. Everything that has emerged indicates it is focusing where it should.”

The Forensic Science Service laboratory in Birmingham has spent two months analysing DNA evidence collected from key locations in Praia da Luz.

While their initial findings led Portuguese police to declare Kate and Gerry official suspects, the case had begun to fall apart in recent weeks with no fresh evidence emerging.

But the source close to the forensic investigation said: “Reports that the findings are inconclusive are premature.

While there may be no conclusive evidence to prove Madeleine is dead, there are findings which support the current line of inquiry.

“The new material adds to the existing picture that has been built up by police and fills in a few more pieces of the jigsaw.” But the McCanns’ official spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, insisted there was an “innocent explanation” for any evidence which might have emerged.

He said: “Kate and Gerry have nothing to hide. Any evidence that is found here, or in Portugal, can be wholly and innocently explained.

“None of the results have been put to them so they do not even know what they are supposed to be. Whatever is put to Kate and Gerry, at whatever time, can be totally explained by them.”

A friend of the couple said they were frustrated at being kept in the dark and just wanted the search for Madeleine to begin again in earnest.

The forensic experts have been carrying out analysis of evidence collected from the McCanns’ holiday apartment and hire car. Searches using sniffer dogs in July led to the discovery of traces of bodily fluid in the boot of the car which was regarded as very significant.

Strands of blonde hair believed to be from Madeleine were also discovered in the car.

The McCanns did not hire the Renault Scenic until 25 days after Madeleine vanished, leading police to conclude that her body must have been carried in it.

But Kate and Gerry’s family have always insisted that any traces of Madeleine’s DNA found in the car got there innocently.

They have explained that the bodily fluids could have come from a pair of Madeleine’s sandals when the family moved villas. The hair could have got there from a pair of her unwashed pyjamas.

In addition, the car was also used to transport rubbish, including dirty nappies belonging to Madeleine’s brother and sister, from their villa to a nearby dump. A family friend said: “That car was used by many members of Madeleine’s immediate family. Items belonging to the twins were carried in the back so there is going to be DNA from blood relatives all over the place.”

But sources within the forensic laboratory claim the new findings took into account possible contamination.

Last night a Forensic Science Service spokesman said: “Our work is on-going. We have been regularly in contact with the police conducting the investigation and our findings are routinely being passed on.

“We cannot discuss those findings. It would be for the police to decide what information – if any – should be released.”

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If the new forensic evidence is deemed significant enough, the McCanns could be questioned about it by British police at their home in Leicestershire or they could be ordered back to Portugal.


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