TIMES: 18 AUGUST 2007
|From The Times
August 18, 2007 Paulo Reis in Praia da Luz, Duarte Levy and David Brown
Detectives hunting for Madeleine McCann have been ordered to prepare for an
operation over the next four days that they hope will lead to a breakthrough,
The Times has learnt.
The Public Prosecutor’s Office signed a series of warrants yesterday
authorising searches at locations that may be linked to the disappearance of
Madeleine 107 days ago. Officers have been told that the operation will be
carried out by Tuesday.
The Portuguese Polícia Judiciária believes that it has uncovered evidence that
could be significant in discovering what happened to Madeleine after she was
taken from her bed in the Algarve
resort of Praia da Luz.
The searches follow the arrival in Portugal of the result of tests on
samples recovered from the McCann family’s apartment, their car and other
locations in Praia da Luz.
The Times revealed on Thursday that the preliminary notes from the headquarters
of the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham showed that traces of blood in
the apartment had come from a man.
However, the findings received by the Laboratório de Polícia Científica in Lisbon on Wednesday
indicated that the blood samples were too damaged to be checked against the DNA
database of British sex offenders. Scientists have been attempting to recover a
The Portuguese magistrate in charge of the investigation has now been sent the
full report on all the samples recovered as part of a review of the
investigation completed with the help of British experts.
It is not known if the possible breakthrough in the investigation is connected
with scientific evidence, although detectives are believed to have been
monitoring the movements of at least one suspect for some time.
Police are also reported to have been reviewing two burglaries — one in the
apartment directly above the McCanns’ apartment — which happened shortly before
the family arrived at the Ocean Club resort.
Meanwhile, Madeleine’s twin sister and brother, Sean and Amelie, have finally
been told that their elder sister is missing. They had previously been assured
that she was on holiday and would be returning home soon.
Sean and Amelie, 2, were asleep in the ground-floor apartment when Madeleine
was taken. Police have said that the twins slept throughout and have been
unable to provide evidence.
Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have been advised by a British
child psychologist on how to break the news to Madeleine’s siblings. The
couple, both doctors, have been careful to maintain the twins’ daily routine
but agreed last week not to take them to the usual morning sessions at the
crèche of the Ocean Club resort because the presence of the media was
disturbing other parents and children.
The twins, who, like Madeleine were born through IVF, have been encouraged to
talk about their sister and her Cuddle Cat toy, which Mrs McCann now carries
around wherever she goes.
Mr and Mrs McCann have thanked the thousands of people from around the world
who have sent letters and e-mails of support. But the couple are still
devastated at their daughter’s disappearance.
Mrs McCann, 39, a locum GP, recalled the pain of returning to Britain without
Madeleine for a family baptism. “When we went back to the UK for a family
baptism there was an empty seat on the plane and Sean said, ‘That’s Madeleine’s
seat.’” she said. “Amelie asked me afterwards, ‘Where’s Madeleine? I miss my
The couple have also contemplated for the first time having to return home to
Rothley in Leicestershire, without Madeleine. They have extended the rent on
their villa on the outskirts of Praia da Luz only until the middle of next