A poster of Madeleine McCann in Praia da
Police searching for a British toddler abducted while on holiday in
Portugal fear she has been snatched by a pedophile.
Officers said they had a prime suspect but were refusing to release
any details, including a sketch, for fear of endangering
Madeleine McCann's life.
They believe the girl, whose fourth birthday falls this week, is
alive and may be being held no more than five kilometres
from where she was abducted. They fear they are now in a
race to find her before she is murdered.
Madeleine vanished between 9pm and 10pm on Thursday night from her
room at a holiday complex in Praia da Luz, a fishing
village on the Algarve, as she slept between her twin
brother and sister, aged two.
Their parents, Gerry, a consultant cardiologist, and Kate, a
part-time GP, both 39, were eating with friends at a
tapas bar a minute's walk away.
More than 150 people were involved on Saturday in the hunt for
Madeleine, as tensions grew between the family, from
Rothley in Leicestershire, and Portuguese police over
the way the investigation has been handled.
Speaking from Glasgow, Philomena McCann, Madeleine's aunt, accused
police of being uncommunicative and said: "My brother is
at his wits' end. They have just played [the abduction]
down from the minute he approached them."
Senior officers have indicated privately that they suspect the
motive for the abduction is sexual. Portugal's Judicial
Police held a news conference on Saturday at which they
denied being slow to react.
Guilhermino Encarnacao, the director of the Judicial Police in the
Faro region, said "many elements" pointed to an
abduction but he refused to give even the sex of the
suspect. He also declined to indicate whether his men
were looking for a named individual, or someone fitting
Mr Encarnacao said police believed Madeleine was still alive and
that airports in Portugal and Spain had been alerted.
Police had received more than 30 calls with possible new
lines of inquiry. All were being followed up.