Two weeks after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in the Algarve,
Portuguese police admitted this evening that they still do not have enough
evidence to make an arrest.
At a news conference in Portimao, the provincial town close to the village of Praia da Luz, where Madeleine was last
seen on the night of May 3, Olegario Sousa, the detective leading the
investigation, said the latest man interviewed by police was not regarded as a
"To this moment we do not have enough evidence to arrest anybody,"
said Mr Sousa, the day after a Russian website designer was questioned by
police because of his alleged links to Robert Murat, the British father
identified as the only suspect in the case so far.
Mr Sousa said that several items had been seized from the home of Sergei
Malinka, 22, who is believed to have had several telephone conversations with
Mr Murat around the time of Madeleine's disappearance two weeks ago.
But he conceded that Mr Malinka remained a witness in the case. He also
dismissed reports in the Portuguese press today that police were investigating
a sighting of a girl similar to Madeleine in a red car in southern Lisbon. Mr Sousa said the
focus of the inquiry remained in the Algarve.
Earlier today, Mr Malinka said he had been ruined by his involvement in the
investigation even though the computer equipment seized from his home was
returned today after police found no incriminating evidence.
Mr Malinka, who lives with his parents just 500 yards from Madeleine’s holiday
apartment, said: “My telephone number was on Mr Murat’s mobile phone.
"Everybody on his telephone has been spoken to. But I can’t comment on
telephone calls. I’ve invested seven years of my life in this country trying to
succeed and suddenly in one hour it’s all fallen apart.” Mr Mr Malinka he was
“completely” innocent and had no criminal record in any country.
It is believed detectives asked Mr Malinka about a tour company he was involved
with at Lagos Marina, five miles from Praia da Luz, which organised boat trips
to the Mediterranean and North Africa.
Detectives have searched the records for yachts which visited Lagos
after receiving reports of girl resembling Madeleine being dragged down to the Marina. Posters appealing
for information about Madeleine have been printed in Arabic after fears that
she may have been smuggled to Morocco,
Algeria or Tunisia.
Meanwhile, Madeleine's parents have said that working on the new campaign to
find their daughter has helped them to escape “dark places” they entered after
Kate and Gerry McCann have been coordinating the Find Madeleine campaign to
spread the image of their missing daughter and to help organise an
The campaign’s website received five million hits in the first 24 hours since
its launch on Wednesday afternoon.
Mr and Mrs McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, have stopped watching the
almost constant television coverage in Portugal of the hunt for their
daughter as they work with British lawyers and family members on the campaign.
Michael Wright, a relative of the McCanns, said that the work had helped them
avoid “a return to the dark places they might have been in the early days”.
Speaking outside the apartment in Praia da Luz, where the McCanns have spent
the waiting for news of Madeleine, Mr Wright said the couple had been
overwhelmed with offers of support. He said a cash fund would be used to pay
for the campaign and engage experts both in publicity and the detection process
Although primarily aimed at Europe, it could also spread to North Africa across
the sea from the Algarve.
“Gerry and Kate are taking immense strength from the support and good wishes
that they are receiving from all over the world,” said Mr Wright. “They have
been totally overwhelmed by offers from individuals, small companies, and large
He said: “We want to make sure that if Madeleine isn’t in Portugal that the rest of Europe
is aware of the image of this little girl. Our target is to reach the
saturation that we know has been achieved in the UK
and certainly in the Algarve.”
Mrs McCann, a GP, had earlier attended an Anglican service at the church in
Praia da Luz. She was accompanied by a small group of friends and family,
including Father Paul Seddon, the priest who married the McCann’s and baptised