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Stalker snatched little Madeleine while she slept

Original Source: ADELAIDE NOW: 07 MAY 2007
From John Follain in Praia da Luz
May 07, 2007
POLICE have produced a drawing of the abductor suspected of snatching three-year-old British girl Madeleine McCann as she slept in her Portuguese holiday apartment.

Detectives believe Madeleine was taken by someone who may have stalked her family during their holiday on the Algarve.

They are working on the assumption that she is still alive and being held within a few kilometres of the resort where she was taken.

Guilhermino Encarnacao, the director of judicial police in Faro, said the initial drawing of the suspect was not being released to "safeguard the child's life".

Officers are understood to have interviewed witnesses who may have seen the abductor.

Appeal to kidnapper

Mr Encarnacao appealed to the kidnapper for the safe return of the child. "Bring her back just as she is, because you're still in time," he said.

Madeleine disappeared on Thursday evening just before 10pm as she slept with her twin brother and sister in the family apartment at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, which is run by the Mark Warner holiday company.

Her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, both doctors, were eating at a restaurant with friends within sight of the apartment.

The resort offered a creche service but the couple chose to leave the children sleeping at the apartment, taking turns to check on them. Between their checks at 9.30pm and 10pm the apartment was broken into through a window and Madeleine was taken, according to her aunt.

Trish Cameron, Mr McCann's sister, said it appeared that someone had been spying on Madeleine and had targeted her for abduction.

Child deliberately targeted

"The front door was open, the window had been tampered with, the shutters had been jemmied open and Madeleine was missing. Nothing had been touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports. They think someone must have come in the window and gone out the door with her," she said.

"She's an absolutely beautiful wee girl, with blue-green eyes."

Police were called at 10.20pm as Madeleine's parents became increasingly anxious. Soon, fellow guests were notified. About 60 staff and holidaymakers searched until 4.30am, while police notified border police, Spanish police and airports.

Officers have since received more than 30,000 calls offering information. About 150 investigators have been deployed in Portugal and are liaising with British police and Interpol.

Family friend Jill Renwick said the McCanns were very, very anxious parents and very careful, and chose Mark Warner because it is a family-friendly resort."

'We want her back"

Another of Madeleine's aunts, Philomena McCann, said relatives were clinging on to hope after hearing that police believed Madeleine was still alive.

"It's really important to keep your emotions in check because the last couple of days have been like a rollercoaster," she said. "It's great to have some hope but we need something to happen. We want her back."

Hundreds of holidaymakers, British expatriates and local residents yesterday joined the hunt for Madeleine as Portuguese television broadcast a second impassioned plea by the McCanns for the return of their daughter.

Gerry McCann, 39, said: "We cannot describe the anguish and despair we are feeling as parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine. We request that anyone with any information relating to Madeleine's disappearance, no matter how trivial, contact the police and help us to get her back safely."


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