Home News Portuguese police focus on dead hotel worker in Maddie probe: media

Portuguese police focus on dead hotel worker in Maddie probe: media

Published on 01/11/2013

Portuguese police are following a lead focusing on a deceased former employee of the Algarve hotel where British girl Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007, local media said Friday.

Investigators have reportedly honed in on a Cape Verdean immigrant who died aged 40 in 2009, and who worked at a restaurant at the Praia da Luz beach resort until being fired for attempted theft shortly before Madeleine’s disappearance.

The Sol newspaper reported on Friday that detectives had questioned the suspect’s widow, who has a criminal record for theft.

The widow said her husband “would have been incapable of wanting to hurt a child” and that she was going to hire a “good lawyer to defend his honour”.

Police would not confirm or deny their interest in the former hotel worker.

The Correio da Manha daily reported earlier this week “it is this lead which led to the reopening of the inquiry” into Madeleine’s disappearance.

Portuguese authorities announced on October 24 they were re-opening the probe “due to new elements”.

Maddie vanished from the holiday apartment where her parents were staying in the southern Algarve resort just days before her fourth birthday in May 2007, while they were dining at a nearby tapas bar.

Portuguese authorities closed their investigation into her disappearance in 2008, but Scotland Yard spent two years reviewing it at the British government’s request and opened their own probe in July this year.

Correio da Manha reported that the spotlight fell on the former hotel employee during an analysis of cellphone signals which showed the suspect was near the holiday apartment where Maddie went missing on the night of May 3, 2007.

The McCanns have led a six-year campaign to find Madeleine, who they believe was kidnapped and is still alive.

British detectives investigating the Maddie case in October published two new electronic images of a man they want to contact in a major new appeal also shown in Germany and the Netherlands.

Detective chief inspector Andy Redwood, who is leading the British investigation, said witnesses had spotted a man carrying a young child fitting Madeleine’s description towards Praia da Luz.

The detectives have interviewed 442 people over the last couple of years and have identified 41 potential suspects — 15 of them British nationals — although no arrests have been made.