Tuesday, 30 October 2007

PJ detectives prepare for final steps of the investigation

Paulo Rebelo called a meeting with all the detective's team working in Madeleine's case for today, October 30. Criminal coordinator Gonçalo Amaral, previously in charge of the investigation, was asked to participate in the meeting. The last days have been very busy for Paulo Rebelo and his team of around twenty detectives working in the case. Recently, a new witness has been in Portugal and went to PJ headquarters in Portimão. This witness, an Irish teenager, saw Gerry McCann and Jeremy Wilkins talking, near the apartment from where Madeleine vanished, in the night of May 3, but she is also sure that there was no man carrying a child or Jane Tanner around, at that time.

Paulo Rebelo decided to call a special meeting to make a general analysis of the conclusions of the investigation, until now, after a careful review of all evidence collected, including the results of the samples already sent by Forensic Science Service. Yesterday, October 29, a team of detectives headed by Paulo Rebelo went to apartment 5A, at ocean Club, to check with detail some aspects of those conclusions. After almost four hours inside the apartment, the other detectives left to Portimão, while Paulo Rebelo went to the small square near the church with another PJ investigator. Before calling the meeting, Paulo Rebelo had a long talk with the national director of Polícia Judiciária, Alípio Ribeiro.

News in the Portuguese Press referred that Portuguese police was still waiting, last week, for the list of phone calls made from Praia da Luz, using mobile phones from UK networks. A request has been made to Police in the UK to allow Portuguese police to check the calls with the list of guests and other people staying at Praia da Luz, since the McCann arrived there, on April 28.

This meeting follows also the first public indications that the Portuguese Government is getting more uncomfortable with the violent attacks directed against the Portuguese police and the Judicial system. Mr. Santana Carlos, the Portuguese Ambassador in London, criticise the attitude of British Media, in a interview with The Times, and referred that there are “many more cases of abductions (in UK) than Portugal, and nobody talks about that, but this (Madeleine) case has come up very, very high in the news.”

Also last week, the McCann revealed, for the first time, they have hired a Spanish detectives private company, Metodo 3, to help find Madeleine. The company, according to Antena 3, was hired in August, before the McCann were named as formal suspects in the disappearance of their daughter. The company set up a hotline and issued a sketch of an alleged abductor, seen by one of the friends of the McCann, Jane Tanner, less than 30 minutes Kate McCann found Madeleine was missing.

Just a few days after the hotline was set up, Marita Fernandez, the general-manager of Metodo 3, told Spanish Media that witnesses calling the line have confirmed Madeleine McCann was alive and in Morocco. Metodo 3 told newspapers they had also found another kidnapped child, an American blonde girl, in the mountains of Rif. But a source from “Sureté Nacionale”, the Moroccan intelligence services, denied this information and told us they didn't have any information about the American girl or Madeleine McCann sightings.

The law that regulates privates detectives work, in Spain, demands that any information related to a crime must be immediately forwarded to Police. A PJ investigator considered “very strange” that a positive identification of Madeleine, as the one referred by Metodo 3, could be made available to the Media, instead of remaining absolutely confidential: “This could be a death sentence, if the child was in the hands of a paedophile network, what those Spanish detectives say it's also a possibility...”

Moroccan authorities expelled a British citizen, recently, after he offered large amounts of money in exchange of specific statements about a blonde girl, to several staff members from a gas station in Marrakesh – the same city were Interpol will have its 76 General Assembly, between 5 and 8 of November.

Duarte Levy (Marrakesh) and Paulo Reis (Lisbon)

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