Portuguese police searching for
today released a description of a
seen carrying a child or a large object on the night the
four-year-old went missing.
girl's parents, who welcomed the release of the description, spoke
emotionally earlier of how the guilt they feel at leaving her alone
"will never leave us".
press conference tonight, the detective leading the investigation,
told journalists: "We have a suspect. He
is a Caucasian man, 35 to 40 years old, medium build, 5ft 10in tall,
hair mainly short, wearing a dark jacket, light or gold trousers and
around 21:30 he was walking in the area of
Praia da Luz possibly carrying a
child or an object that could have been taken as a child."
inspector urged anyone with information on the man to call the
refused to say whether police believed he had had any contact with
the Briton widely thought to have been interviewed earlier this
month by detectives as an "arguido" - a formal suspect.
"This description was told to us by a witness in the case," Mr Sousa
are confident with the images we have of the child we will be able
to find her. Sadly at this moment we haven't been able to reach
Asked why the description had not been released earlier, he replied:
"If we didn't do it before it's because we didn't feel it necessary
at the time."
Kate and Gerry McCann, earlier gave
their first formal interview in which Mr McCann said: "The guilt we
feel having not been there at that moment will never leave us."
Mr McCann said the chances of their daughter going missing from the
safe Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz were "100 million to one".
wife, Kate, said that at worst they were guilty of being "naive".
The couple refused to criticise the police investigation, but Mr
McCann did say they had expected a "British response" when they
reported their daughter had vanished.
we're in a tiny resort. It's an on-going investigation working very
closely with a lot of expert help," he said. "Many people say this
is a parents' worst nightmare and it is. It's as bad as you can
possibly imagine. But if all three children had been taken it will
be worse than your worse nightmare," he said.
"Ultimately we need to be in control so we can help in any way
possible." Mrs McCann told Sky News that they could not consider
leaving the resort yet. After the first week Mr McCann said they
were "devoid" of emotion but had been buoyed by support from
friends, family and the wider public. "Out of an evil act has
resulted so much," he said.
Earlier, it emerged
have taken a more
active role on the ground in the investigation into Madeleine's
disappearance. Experts have begun working around the holiday
apartment in southern Portugal where the she went missing three
weeks ago. Police would not say which British force had sent the two
specialists, who could be seen taking measurements and walking
around with plans of the crime scene in Praia da Luz.
Eyewitnesses said they had been measuring the windows of the
apartment where Madeleine and her two-year-old twin siblings,
Sean, had been left sleeping by her parents on the
evening of May 3. They were also reportedly seen walking between the
Ocean Club holiday complex, where the McCann family had been
staying, and the nearby home of Robert Murat, the only formal
suspect in the case. Mr Murat has strongly protested his innocence.
spokeswoman for the Association of Chief Police Officers said the
experts were helping on "technical matters and aspects of the
British Child Exploitation Online Protection Centre is already using
photo recognition software to analyse holiday snaps from people who
were in Praia da Luz around the time Madeleine went missing.
Leicester police are also running a parallel incident room that is
feeding information gathered in Britain to the Portuguese police.
spokesman for the McCanns said they would welcome extra help in the
case. "The family has been saying throughout that everything that
should have been done in the immediate area has been done. Part of
that would be rechecking," he said. "Certainly the family will be
very pleased to know that examination of the immediate area is
Confirmation that British investigators were on the ground coincided
with the arrival of two men who say they are former British soldiers
and have come as freelance volunteers to carry out searches of
abandoned buildings and rough land. Yorkshiremen
Colin Sahlke, 46, and Steve Taylor,
32, have met Madeleine's father, Gerry McCann, in Praia da Luz. They
said they were funding themselves and were interested in the missing
girl's welfare rather than the £2.6m of reward money currently on
spokesman for the McCanns said the ex-soldiers were not being paid
by the Find Madeleine Fund, and had been advised to coordinate
anything they were doing with the Portuguese police.
Madeleine, whose case is slowly fading from media coverage, became
the most prominent face of
International Missing Children's Day
yesterday. Figures from the National Missing Person's Helpline
show that between May 3 and May 15, 450 young people were reported
missing in the UK. Home Office estimates show 210,000 people
reported missing in Britain each year, with up to two-thirds of them
under the age of 18. Initiatives across Europe under consideration
include a plan by the European commission for a single telephone
number - likely to be 116 - on which to report missing or sexually