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Madeleine police 'not struggling'

Original Source: BBC: 17 MAY 2007
Thursday, 17 May 2007
Portuguese police searching for missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann insist their inquiry is not struggling.

Ch Insp Olegario de Sousa told a news conference the inquiry was "going on" but emphasised that Portuguese law restricted what police could reveal.

Russian Sergey Malinka has been quizzed as a witness and computer items seized from his flat in Praia da Luz, Algarve.

IT expert Mr Malinka, 22, has denied any involvement in the disappearance of Madeleine from the resort on 3 May.

Ch Insp de Sousa said police did not have the evidence to arrest the only formal suspect, Briton Robert Murat, 33.

Publicity experts

Ch Insp de Sousa said police had received information about a number of possible sightings of Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, but that nothing had come of them.

Any information given to the police was studied and various departments were analysing photos, he said.

Meanwhile the family of the four-year-old said there had been an overwhelming response to their own campaign to find her.

Michael Wright, a close relative of Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate, said a campaign website had received more than 5m visitors.

Speaking in Praia da Luz, Mr Wright said: "Gerry and Kate are taking immense strength from the support and good wishes that they are receiving from all over the world."

He said a fund launched with the website on Wednesday would pay for the campaign and to hire experts in publicity and detection.

There has been speculation the family may hire private investigators to look for Madeleine, who vanished from her bed when her parents were at a nearby restaurant.

Mr Malinka, who was questioned at a police station in Portimao, is believed to have designed a website for Mr Murat's property business.

Following his release from the police station he said he had invested seven years in trying to succeed in Portugal, but "in one hour it's all fallen apart".

Speaking later he refused to comment on reports that there were several mobile phone calls between himself and Mr Murat on the night Madeleine disappeared.

Mr Murat, who had helped police with translation work, was questioned by detectives for 12 hours and his mother's villa in the resort was searched.

He was later given "arguido" status by police, which means he is officially a suspect - although he can request this status himself.

Rewards of ?2.5m have been offered to anyone with information leading to Madeleine's safe return.

Details of how to donate to the Madeleine fighting fund - at banks, by post or via the internet - can be found at


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