Maddie's anguished parents - heart
consultant Gerry McCann and GP Kate,
both 38 - tried to carry on with their
Algarve holiday for the sake of their
other two toddlers, senior investigator
Guihermino Encarnaca said: "There is a
prime suspect and there is a portrait
sketch of the suspect.
"I am not
going to reveal it or give more
information at this stage because it may
put the girl's life in danger.
"But I do
believe she is still alive."
Encarnaca who is investigating 30
"strong" leads, added: "As for the
reason she was taken - in Portugal
kidnap is not just for money but can be
for sexual abuse."
relatives of the distraught parents from
the upmarket village of Rothley, Leics,
insisted that police had bungled the
first few critical hours of the
investigation at the luxury Mark Warner
Ocean Summer Club resort in Praia da
hundreds of officers, local Portuguese,
British holidaymakers and even
expatriate Brits who drove from other
parts of the Algarve joined a desperate
search of surrounding countryside,
Gerry's sister Philomena McCann said:
"The police were doing very little after
and Kate were left on their own and Mark
Warner staff had to organise the
searches. The police did nothing for
hours and hours."
Maddie's godmother and great-aunt, Nora
Healy, was asked what she thought about
the police response she raised her
eyebrows and said: "Well, it upped a
gear when the British ambassador
relatives who had flown to the Algarve
to comfort the distressed parents also
hit out at suggestions that Gerry and
Kate had not been looking after their
blue-eyed Maddie, four next Saturday,
was snatched from their holiday
apartment on Thursday evening as she
slept with her brother and sister,
two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.
McCanns, who had been enjoying a £1,600
week-long break with nine other doctor
friends, were dining at a tapas bar 40
yards from their apartment and were
checking the children every half hour.
Great-aunt Nora said: "Please don't say
they weren't watching them. They could
see the apartment from where they were
and they were checking them.
are doctors, these are intelligent
retired headmaster Brian Kennedy - the
uncle of Maddie's mumwho lives in the
same village - said: "The children were
left only in the sense that when you put
your children to bed you don't stay in
the room all night. They are highly
responsible parents who are devoted to
children were conceived after Kate had
sister Philomena added: "They love
Maddie so much. She is the centre of
their universe. Maddie is such an
integral part of the family and a loving
big sister to the twins. She is their
their little princess and the focus of
everything for the whole family."
Kennedy and his wife Janet attended a
prayer meeting for Maddie last night at
Rothley parish church. He added: "We
fear the worst but we are hoping for the
Ambassador John Buck has been with the
family throughout their ordeal.
Yesterday three family liaison officers
from Leicestershire Police flew in to
help the parents deal with the
a relative were allowed back in the
apartment briefly to collect a suitcase
of clothes and the children's bucket and
spade as the massive search for Maddie
Manchester manDave Shelton, 38, who has
lived in Praia da Luz for 16 years
running an air conditioning company, has
been co-ordinating the hunt.
"I came here first on Friday morning, I
speak a little Portuguese and was
helping police knock on the doors of all
the apartments. Then people just started
coming out of the woodwork saying 'Lookwe've
heard, what can we do to help?'"
map provided by the local mayor and
aided by extra maps downloaded from the
internet, around 800 people have so far
taken part searching an area from the
resort to the next village of Quatro
Estradas around three miles away.
Meanwhile Senor Encarnaca, head of the
local Policia Judiciari - the Portuguese
CID - denied his officers had been slow
local uniform cops - the Guardia
Nacional Republicana or GNR - had been
on the scene within five minutes of a
call at 10.40pm and that his officers
were there before midnight coordinating
insisted he was happy with the parents'
account of the tragic events and they
were not suspects.
Captain Marco Henriques said Maddie's
parents could face prosecution for
leaving a child once the investigation
mayor Julio Barosso said: "We will do
all we can to help find this little
hoping Madeleine will come back to her
parents and that England can breathe
from the bottom of my heart that this
story does not have a bad ending."