PRAIA DA LUZ, Portugal — Kate McCann marked the 14th
day of the search for her missing daughter Madeleine by attending a church
service Thursday, while Portuguese police released a local Russian computer
expert questioned in connection with the case.
Police were also checking a reported sighting of 4-year-old
in towns just south of Lisbon,
120 miles north of the place she went missing, Sky News said. Police were said
to be looking for a red van with fake number plates. An earlier sigting of
blonde girl was reported at a service station near Praia da Luz, according to
Reports also emerged that the villa of the main suspect in the
Robert Murat, who lives near the
apartment from which
Madeleine disappeared, contains a "secret chamber." Murat, who is
also British, was questioned by police and released afterward.
The space beneath the living room floor is 27 feet long and four
and a half feet high, according to a report.
Kate McCann went to a beach-side church with friends shortly after
dropping off her two other children at a hotel kindergarten with her husband
Gerry, who was not at the service.
Madeleine vanished after her parents left her and her brother and
sister, both aged 2, alone in their room while they went to a tapas bar inside
their hotel complex in southern Portugal's
region, a popular European tourist destination.
Police said they questioned a Russian man who is believed to have
dealings with Murat.
The Russian, who has lived in the resort town of
da Luz for several years, was taken to a local police station by
plain-clothes detectives late Wednesday. They also took computer equipment from
Inspector Olegario de Sousa told Portugal's news agency
the man was released in the early hours of Thursday after providing a witness
Police have placed Murat under formal investigation, though they
released him after questioning earlier this week because they did not have
enough evidence to charge him.
Murat has denied any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance.
However, he is barred from giving a detailed public rebuttal by Portugal's
secrecy laws, which forbid the release of information pertaining to an ongoing
A man who said he was a friend of Murat's distributed leaflets
Thursday among reporters gathered outside the suspect's
house. The leaflets
explained the legal constraints on Murat.
The friend, Tuck Price, said Murat was upset that media have
distributed his name and photograph.
"He's upset ... he's devastated by this," Price told
reporters. "He just wants to switch the focus to the little girl."
The McCanns said in a statement they were "totally
overwhelmed" by the response to an Internet-based campaign they launched
Wednesday in Britain.
Their Web site had already received 5 million hits, they said,
adding they also planned to raise awareness of the case in other European
countries where Madeleine could have been taken.