PORTUGUESE police are tonight
searching a villa just 150 yards
from where Madeleine McCann went
Forensic detectives sealed off Casa
Liliana in Praia da Luz, where a
British man lives with his mother.
He was taken to a local police
station for questioning.
It is understood that they are yet
to find anything, although police
sources said several items had been
taken away for examination.
The man who lives in the house has
been close to the investigation into
Maddy's disappearance - and has
repeatedly appealed for help in
finding her. He has even been
assisting local police with English
Still missing: Maddy
It came just hours after Maddy's
parents reaffirmed their belief that
their daughter is safe and well as
they stepped up international
efforts to find her.
Gerry McCann said that until the
family saw “concrete evidence to the
contrary”, they continued to be
convinced that the four-year-old is
“safe and being looked after”.
His wife, Kate, also emphasised that
the couple had no intention of
returning to Britain from Portugal
in the immediate future.
Speaking just outside the apartment
where their daughter was abducted,
Mr McCann looked relaxed standing
beside his wife, who was holding
Madeleine’s favourite cuddly toy.
For the first time the couple took
questions from the media.
They were asked how they were coping
and Mr McCann replied that although
it was extremely difficult, they had
received help from travel trauma
consultants, helping them to look
forward and direct negative emotions
out of their minds.
He said the process was helping them
channel everything into looking
He said: “As far as we are
concerned, until there is concrete
evidence to the contrary, we believe
that Madeleine is safe and being
looked after and that’s how we can
continue in our efforts.”
The family have asked potential
witnesses to look out for
Madeleine’s “black flash” in her
right eye – where her pupil runs
into her blue-green iris.
They have issued a poster headed
“Look into my eyes!” which shows how
distinctive Madeleine looks, even if
an abductor tries to alter her
One theory is that the kidnapper may
have dressed Maddy as a little boy
to smuggle her out of the country.
It was her fourth birthday on
Saturday but 11 days after she
vanished, police yesterday confessed
that they were nowhere nearer to
finding her captor.
Police, who earlier claimed Maddy
may have been drugged with
chloroform by her abductor, also
claimed Maddy's kidnapper may have
cut or dyed her hair in an attempt
to disguise her looks.
But Madeleine’s parents Gerry and
Kate could this week come
face-to-face in court with a man who
has been questioned by police after
he was seen acting suspiciously
outside the family’s holiday
apartment on the night she
He is one of 10 people who have been
quizzed by detectives so far.
Reports claimed the ex-pat lives
within the perimeter of the Ocean
Club complex where the family is
staying. Under Portuguese law the
man will be asked to swear a witness
statement to a magistrate.
Madeleine’s parents will be allowed
to be present at the hearing and put
questions to him.
Yesterday the couple, in T-shirts
and shorts, spent the afternoon
walking hand-in-hand along the beach
in Praia da Luz.
They headed to an isolated spot
where they spent around half an hour
sitting quietly on rocks overlooking
As they returned to their apartment,
GP Kate, 38, clutched Madeleine’s
favourite soft toy called Cuddle Cat
– as she has done throughout the
At one point she lifted the toy to
her face and appeared to kiss it.
The Policia Judiciaria are now
working on the theory that Madeleine
was subdued by her abductor before
Detectives have asked chemists if
they have sold insect sprays
containing chloroform or other
knock-out type drugs to a man
matching the prime suspect’s
They believe a drug was used because
there were no signs of disturbance
in the apartment where Madeleine
They have also asked chemists if
they have seen anyone suspicious
buying medicines for children or
tablets for travel sickness.
Kate’s mother Susan Healy, 61,
called her granddaughter her
“bright, shining star” and begged
people: “Please look at children,
don’t be afraid, look for this black
flash that goes from her pupil to
the iris of the eye.
“If those who have got Madeleine
realise she has this distinctive
marking, take her somewhere safe.
Leave her, you can run off, we don’t
care. We just want Madeleine back.”
A British ex-pat seen acting
suspiciously was picked up by police
at 7pm on Saturday. He is one of the
10 people questioned who are now
being regarded as being key to
finding Madeleine’s kidnapper. They
include eight Britons and two people
described locally as being
Madeleine’s parents are among the 10
who have been questioned but they
are not suspects.
On Friday, two men and a woman, all
Britons, were questioned after being
picked up in Praia da Luz dressed in
their beach clothes.
The McCanns took their twins Sean
and Amelie, two, to a crèche
yesterday. Catholic Mrs McCann said
prayers for Madeleine at the local
church half an hour later.
She wept as Father Jose Pacheco read
the words: “Do not let your hearts
be troubled or afraid. You heard me
say I am going away and shall
Father Pacheco added: “We can say
that Madeleine can also say the
words ‘I’m going away. I shall
return’. We hope this.”