The purpose of this site is for information and a record of Gerry McCann's Blog Archives. As most people will appreciate GM deleted all past blogs from the official website. Hopefully this Archive will be helpful to anyone who is interested in Justice for Madeleine Beth McCann. Many Thanks, Pamalam

Note: This site does not belong to the McCanns. It belongs to Pamalam. If you wish to contact the McCanns directly, please use the contact/email details campaign@findmadeleine.com    

Urs Hans Von Aesch *

MCCANN FILES HOME BACK TO GERRY MCCANNS BLOGS HOME PAGE PHOTOGRAPHS
NEWS REPORTS INDEX MCCANN PJ FILES NEWS MAY 2007
 
Interpol message suggesting that a link between Von Aesch and Madeleine McCann should not be ruled out, 03 August 2007 (date of fax)

Urs Hans Von Aesch
Urs Hans Von Aesch

Von Aesch's white Renault Traffic van which was abandoned in woods before he committed suicide
Von Aesch's white Renault Traffic van which was abandoned in woods before he committed suicide

On 07 July 2013, it is revealed that Scotland Yard officers were in St. Gallen, Switzerland, in September 2012 to learn more about Urs Hans Von Aesch.

However, according to Hanspeter Krüsi, spokesman for the St. Gallen District Police, the officers were told that no connection could be found between the cases of Ylenia Lenhard and Madeleine McCann.

Speculation in the UK press had linked the two cases since Ylenia was taken in August 2007.

Missing child linked to mysterious shooting and suicide, 03 August 2007
Missing child linked to mysterious shooting and suicide Tribune de Geneve

03 August 2007

Ylenia Lenhard, 5 ½ years-old, was last seen at 9:30 a.m. on July 31 in front of the village swimming pool. Police and firemen began scouring the area, questioning residents and searching the nearby river Sitter.

Now, the mystery has taken a new and strange turn. Police in Appenzell and St-Gallen have revealed that, on the same day that Ylenia disappeared, a 46 year-old man with a gunshot wound was taken to hospital by a passing motorist. The wounded man said that he had been shot by an unknown assailant as he slept in the woods of Oberbüren (SG), 24kms from Ylenia's home. When police investigated the attack, they discovered a truck in the woods with Spanish license plates. The next morning, Aug. 1, they discovered the body of a 67 year-old Swiss man who had apparently committed suicide. Ylenia's push-bike, helmet and backpack were found next to the body.

According to police, the dead man may have tried to kill the sleeping man as a witness. However, they are now looking for a second gun: several shots were fired although the weapon found next to the body had fired only one.

Police are still investigating the scene and are trying to determine if the truck was used to carry the child. They have already ruled out any relationship between the girl's family and the two men.

Petition to set up system to find missing children in Switzerland

The FREDI Foundation (Foundation for the Search for Missing Children, International) is calling for an immediate alert system to notify the public when children in Switzerland go missing. The organization is collecting signatures to support the initiative.

Switzerland has had 25 cases of missing and murdered children since the 1980s; five are still missing.

"Child pornography is the essential factor in the kidnapping of children today," says Diane Burgy, director of FREDI.

Switzerland has been relatively spared, because many attempts fail probably because the territory is small and densely populated, explains Burgy.

"In Germany, there is practically a kidnapping per day. In France, one every week," she said.

Interpol message suggesting that a link between Von Aesch and Madeleine McCann should not be ruled out, 03 August 2007 (date of fax)

Interpol message suggesting that a link between Von Aesch and Madeleine McCann should not be ruled out Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 63


 MCCANN PJ FILES Von Aesch/Lenhard,


 

Police check possible links between Madeline McCann and the Swiss girl, Ylenia Lenhard, 04 August 2007
Police check possible links between Madeline McCann and the Swiss girl, Ylenia Lenhard Typically Spanish

Missing Swiss 5 year old Ylenia Lenhard - Photo EFE
Missing Swiss 5 year old Ylenia Lenhard - Photo EFE

By h.b./m.p - Aug 4, 2007 - 9:11 AM

A 67 year old Swiss resident of the Costa Blanca could be implicated in the disapperance of the Swiss child.

The five year old Swiss girl disappeared on Tuesday near the scene of an attempted murder and the discovery of the body of the man.

The Alicante newspaper, Información, reports on a possible connection in the Marina Alta with the disappearance of a young girl in Switzerland this Tuesday.

Just five and a half years old, Ylenia Lenhard is believed to have been kidnapped, and was last seen at a swimming pool in Appenzell, Switzerland.

Police later found her rucksack and other possessions near the scene of a shooting which took place in nearby woods later that day, where a 46 year old man was injured. He’s now in intensive care and is not yet fit enough to be questioned by police.

The body of a 67 year old Swiss man resident of Benimantell in the Marina Alta since 1990, was found close by on Wednesday, together with some of the missing girl's possessions.

He has been named as Urls Hans Von Aesch and is thought to have been involved in a shoot-out with another 46 year old man last Tuesday July 31 – the same day that the Swiss child disappeared. His body was found on August 1 in Saint Hallen in Switzerland.

The 46 year old is now in intensive care after being shot in the head, with police waiting to question him to see if he knows anything about the disappearance.

The Alicante Civil Guard are investigating in the Marina Alta at the request of the Swiss police, and have already questioned the dead man's wife.

Possible links to the disappearance of British girl Madeline McCann in Portugal are now also reported to be being followed up.

Maddie link to Swiss suicide, 05 August 2007
Maddie link to Swiss suicide Daily Star Sunday

Daily Star Sunday, 05 August 2007

By Tom Worden
5 August 2007

A MAN who is suspected of abducting a girl before killing himself is being investigated over the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Meanwhile the home of Robert Murat - the only official suspect in the Madeleine case - was being searched again yesterday.

Police are trying to establish if Urs Hans Von Aesch, 67, who shot himself in the head in a Swiss forest on Wednesday, was in Portugal when Madeleine, left, went missing. The day before his death he is thought to have abducted a five-year-old who went missing as she returned home from a swimming trip in Appenzall village in north-east Switzerland.

Von Aesch, a retired business consultant, had been living in Spain for the past ten years.

Madeleine was abducted from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, more than three months ago.

As part of the investigation, Spanish police quizzed Von Aesch's wife at the chalet she shared with her husband in the village of Benimantell on the Costa Blanca.

A backpack, scooter and helmet belonging to the still missing Swiss girl were found in the forest where Von Aesch killed himself. Forensic experts are also examining his van.

Meanwhile, Portuguese police predicted that they would be on Murat's property, just yards from where Madeleine was snatched, for at least four days.

They revealed that trees and undergrowth would be cleared.

In Belgium, where there was a sighting last week of a girl matching Madeleine's description, detectives were waiting for DNA tests on a drinks bottle used by her.

A customer at a restaurant in the Flemish town of Tongeren, not far from the Dutch border, said she was "100% sure" she had seen the missing youngster.

Fax forwarding a translated version of Interpol's original alert about Von Aesch to the coordinator of the Madeleine McCann criminal investigation, 06 August 2007
Fax forwarding a translated version of Interpol's original alert about Von Aesch to the coordinator of the Madeleine McCann criminal investigation Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 61

 
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 61
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 61

6-8-07; 16:35 ; PJ LISBON/INTERPOL                  PJ PORTIMAO     P. 01


POLÍCIA JUDICIÁRIA
Central Department of International Cooperation
National Bureau of Interpol

Date: 06/08/2007

To: THE COORDINATOR OF THE CRIMINAL INVESTIGATION
D.I.C. PORTIMÃO - POLICIA JUDICIÁRIA

Subject: MADELEINE BETH MCCANN

Text:

For your knowledge and related to the message from IP BERNE about the suicide of the Swiss citizen URS HANS VON AESCH, I am sending you the translation of the message received from IP WIESBADEN.

With compliments,

GNI Chief

Ana Mafalda Duarte

--------------------------

Original Interpol alert on Von Aesch (produced on 02 August 2007) which was forwarded to the PJ in Portimão, following translation, on 06 August 2007 Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 62

 
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 62
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 62

6-8-07; 16:35 ; PJ LISBON/INTERPOL                  PJ PORTIMAO     P. 02


POLÍCIA JUDICIÁRIA
National Bureau of Interpol

NR. 35268

URGENT

BERNE INTERPOL

INFO: IP MADRID, LISBON, LONDON, ROME, FRANCE, LYON

N/REF: SO 11-206 2007-342144 D/AG (36268)

V/REF: IP/105/342394/DEA/CLA DE 02.08.2007.

SUBJECT: URS HANS VON AESCH, BORN ON 11.11.1940, SWISS NATIONALITY, RESIDENT IN ALTET DEL CANONCHE SN. BENIMANTELL, IN THE PROVINCE OF ALICANTE, SPAIN.

WE INFORM THE SUBSCRIBER OF TELEPHONE NUMBER 0049XXXXXX6236:

URS HANS VON AESCH, ADDRESS: 97786 MOTTEN, ZUM SCHMELZHOF XX, GERMANY.

THE LOCAL POLICE HAVE BEEN INFORMED OF THE CASE AND THEY WERE ASKED FOR ALL THE INFORMATION AVAILABLE ABOUT THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE ADDRESSES ABOVE.

UNTIL NOW, WE DO NOT POSSESS ANY CRIMINAL INFORMATION ABOUT HIM.

WITH COMPLIMENTS.

IP WIESBADEN
02/08/2007

Madeleine lookalike snatched by pervert, 07 August 2007
Madeleine lookalike snatched by pervert Daily Express

Daily Express, 07 August 2007, pages 4 & 5

By David Pilditch in Praia da Luz
Tuesday August 7,2007

A GUN victim now fighting for his life could hold the key to the whereabouts of Madeleine McCann.

Detectives were last night waiting at the hospital bedside of the unidentified Swiss man.

He was blasted in the chest by alleged child abductor Urs Hans Von Aesch, 67, in a remote village in Switzerland.

Von Aesch, who killed himself last week, is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Ylenia Lenharda, a five-year-old Swiss girl who bears a striking resemblance to Madeleine.

Police in Portugal were alerted after it was revealed that Von Aesch had been on holiday near the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz when Madeleine, four, was kidnapped.

Detectives in Switzerland believe that the critically injured man – who is aged 46 – has vital evidence over the abductions and was about to blow the whistle.

Police are working on the theory that suspected pervert Von Aesch gunned down the potential witness in an attempt to silence him.

Portuguese police were alerted via Interpol to the potential link between Von Aesch and Madeleine.

Von Aesch shot himself in the head in a forest in the St Gallen region of central Switzerland days after the disappearance of Ylenia .

A source close to the investigation said those leading the manhunt had been told of "certain similarities" between the two abductions.

Swiss police informed colleagues in Spain and Portugal after learning that Von Aesch lived near Alicante and was on holiday in the Algarve at the beginning of May.

Now local detectives have also reopened files on five other missing girls who disappeared in the area in the 1980s before Von Aesch moved to Benimantell on the Spanish coast. His wife, who is still in Spain, has been questioned by officers who are also checking the movements of his Spanish-registered white Renault van.

Yesterday Hans Peter Eugster, a Swiss police spokesman, said: "Because of the similarities in both cases and because Von Aesch lived in Spain we have informed Interpol. They in turn have passed on the details to both colleagues in Spain and Portugal and they are looking into reports that Von Aesch was on holiday in the Algarve at the time Madeleine disappeared.

"I understand that his wife, who still lives in Spain, has also been questioned but purely as a witness so a picture of Von Aesch can be built up.

"In our case he is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Ylenia and his body was found near to where some of her belongings were discovered."

Ylenia vanished last Tuesday after she went to her local swimming pool at Appenzell in north-east Switzerland.

Later that day a passing motorist discovered the 46-year-old man slumped by the roadside with gunshot wounds.

Von Aesch's van was found abandoned in the woods . His body was later found nearby. Witnesses reported that the vehicle had been seen at the swimming pool earlier. And local police chief Bruno Fehr said the van had also been seen up to four weeks before outside the youngster's house.

Police discovered a backpack containing Ylena's cycling helmet and her scooter at the scene. Forensic tests were carried out and Von Aesch's DNA was found on the items.

Last night police were still searching for Ylenia using helicopters and sniffer dogs, while officers and volunteers combed fields and woods close to her home.

"We are investigating the possibility the injured man was shot as he was about the identify the suspect as a child abductor," a police source in Switzerland said.

"Witnesses have said a man matching Von Aesch's description had been seen watching the little girl's home and movements for at least 10 days." Detectives in Portugal are working on the theory Madeleine's abductors could have been spying on the family for several days, observing their daily routine.

Madeleine's parents have admitted they left their children alone every night for a week before their daughter was snatched.

Yesterday the Daily Express told how detectives believe Madeleine's kidnapper was working with an accomplice.

Police have been covertly tailing and videoing the suspect who is believed to match the description of a man seen carrying a child wrapped in a blanket shortly after Madeleine disappeared.

Paedophile suicide in new Madeleine link, 07 August 2007
Paedophile suicide in new Madeleine link The Times

David Brown
August 7, 2007

Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann

A paedophile who was on holiday in the Algarve at the time that Madeleine McCann was taken from her bed has been found dead after abducting a 5-year-old girl.

Urs Hans Von Aesch killed himself in a Swiss forest close to the belongings of Ylenia Lenhard, who is still missing a week after she disappeared.

Portuguese detectives have been told of similarities between the abductions of Madeleine and Ylenia, who look remarkably similar. They have also been informed that Von Aesch, who lived in Spain, was thought to have been close to Praia da Luz when Madeleine disappeared 96 days ago.

The development came as Portuguese police found traces of blood in the bedroom where Madeleine had been sleeping with her 2-year-old brother and sister, Sean and Amelie. Tiny specks of blood were discovered on a wall by a sniffer dog that was taken to Portugal by British police. The blood has been sent for DNA analysis.

Von Aesch, 67, is regarded by Swiss police as the key suspect in the abduction of Ylenia, who disappeared while walking to a swimming pool in the northeast of the country on Tuesday last week. The girl's neatly folded clothing, packed in her backpack, was discovered in a forest 20 miles (32km) from where she was abducted, suggesting that she was left naked. Von Aesch shot and injured a 46-year-old man in the same forest before killing himself on Tuesday last week.

Hans Peter Eugster, a Swiss police spokesman, said: "Because of the similarities in the case and because Von Aesch lived in Spain, we have informed Interpol. They in turn have passed on details of colleagues in Spain and Portugal and they are looking at reports that Von Aesch was on holiday in the Algarve."

Bruno Fehr, the chief of St Gallen state criminal police, said that the search for Ylenia continued yesterday with about 120 officers, dogs and an army helicopter. "We haven't given up hope," Mr Fehr said. "But we have to expect the worst now."

Von Aesch, who had lived with his Spanish wife in the town of Benimantel for ten years, drove a white van similar to one that was seen outside the McCanns' apartment on the Ocean Club resort when she disappeared.

A Portuguese police team led by two British officers has finished a second search of the home and garden of the only official suspect in the case, Robert Murat. Tuck Price, a spokesman for the Murat family, said that the police had not discovered anything of interest while searching the villa, which is 100 yards away from the McCanns' holiday apartment.

Mr Murat, 33, has insisted that he was at home with his mother, Jennifer, on the night that Madeleine went missing. Mrs Murat, 71, said: "He's going to be cleared, he is innocent."

Yesterday police removed a number of vehicles including Mr Murat's car, his mother's camper van and a van belonging to the Ocean Club resort for tests by forensic science experts. Portuguese and British police have also been monitoring a British tourist who was on holiday at the Ocean Club resort when Madeleine disappeared. The man, who has since returned to Britain, is under suspicion because of contraditions in witness statements that he gave to police.

A source close to the Portuguese police investigation said: "Murat was not the only person in the frame. Another man has been under surveillance for a period of time but has no idea that he is being watched."

Until now the strongest evidence provided to police has come from Jane Tanner, a friend who was on holiday with Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, and her partner, Russell O'Brien. Miss Tanner, 36, from Exeter, said she saw a man walking away from the McCann's appartment carrying a girl. Detectives are attempting to discover if this was the same man who was seen carrying a child towards the beach.

Martin Smith, from Ireland, said that the man was not Mr Murat, whom he has known for a number of years. Police have asked an oceanographer to calculate what would have happened to a body thrown in to the sea on the night Madeleine was taken.

Madeleine: Police to show her parents picture of child snatcher suspect who killed himself, 07 August 2007
Madeleine: Police to show her parents picture of child snatcher suspect who killed himself Daily Mail

Last updated at 15:56 07 August 2007

Detectives investigating the possibility that Madeleine was taken by a child snatcher who later killed himself are to show her parents a photograph of the dead suspect.

Urs Von Aesch, 67, shot himself in the head and was the prime suspect in the disappearance of five-year-old Swiss girl Ylenia Lenhard, who went missing last week.

The links between Ylenia and Madeleine are striking - they are only a year apart in age, both are blonde and both are of a similar build and height.

It was reported in the Swiss press that detectives in Portugal are to show his photograph to Kate and Gerry McCann after it emerged Von Aesch was on holiday in the Algarve at the beginning of May, when their daughter was snatched.

Police also believe another man, who was earlier gunned down by Von Aesch, could hold the key to solving the mystery.

Urs Hans Von Aesch, right, shot himself in a Swiss forest. He was the chief suspect over missing Ylenia Lenhard, left

Urs Hans Von Aesch, right, shot himself in a Swiss forest. He was the chief suspect over missing Ylenia Lenhard, left

-----------------------------

Detectives are keeping a vigil by the hospital bed of the shot man, hoping he was about to blow the whistle on the child abductor before he was gunned down.

Through Interpol, Swiss police informed colleagues in Spain and Portugal after learning that Von Aesch lived near Alicante and was also on holiday in the Algarve when Madeleine disappeared.

Officers in St Gallen in central Switzerland close to where Ylenia disappeared, have also re-opened files on five other girls who disappeared in the area before Von Aesch moved to Benimantell on the Spanish coast.

His wife who is still in Spain has been questioned by detectives and they are also checking the movements of his Spanish registered white Renault van.

Hans Peter Eugster, a Swiss police spokesman, said: "Because of the similarities in both cases and because Von Aesch lived in Spain we have informed Interpol.

"They in turn have passed on the details to both colleagues in Spain and Portugal and they are looking into reports that Von Aesch was on holiday in the Algarve.

"In our case he is the prime suspect in the disappearance of Ylenia and his body was found near to where some of her belongings were found."

Ylenia was last seen a week ago after she went to her local swimming pool at Appenzell in north east Switzerland.

Hours later a backpack was found in nearby woods at Oberburen which contained her cycling helmet and her scooter was also recovered close by.

Twenty-four hours later in the same woods police discovered the body of Von Aesch who had died from a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.

DNA testing confirms link between missing Swiss girl and Marina Alta resident - but is there a link to Madeline McCann too?, 07 August 2007
DNA testing confirms link between missing Swiss girl and Marina Alta resident - but is there a link to Madeline McCann too? Typically Spanish

Ylenia Lenhard, the young girl who disappeared in Switzerland last week. Photo - EFE.
Ylenia Lenhard, the young girl who disappeared in Switzerland last week. Photo - EFE.

By m.p - Aug 7, 2007 - 5:55 PM

The body of the 67 year old man was found close to where 5 year old Ylenia Lenhard was last seen in Switzerland last week

The Alicante newspaper, Información, reports this morning that DNA testing has confirmed a link between a young girl who disappeared in Switzerland last Tuesday, and a man who lived in the Marina Alta.

The body of Urls Hans Von Aesch was discovered on 1st August, close to the area where 5 and a half year old Ylenia Lenhard was last seen, near a swimming pool in Appenzell, Switzerland. He had been living in Benimantell in the Marina Alta area of Alicante, Spain since 1990.

The paper reports that his DNA has been detected in analyses of Ylenia's rucksack and other possessions found near the scene of a shootout where Von Aesch is believed to have died. He is the main suspect in her disappearance.

Another 46 year old man thought to have been involved in the shootout is currently in Intensive Care after being shot in the head. The shootout took place on the same day that Ylenia disappeared.

With reports of blood now being found in the McCann's holiday apartment in Portugal coinciding with claims that Urls Hans Von Aesch was on the Algarve at the time that Madeleine disappeared, speculation is now rife as to whether he could have been involved in the McCann case too.

The Portuguese press are reporting this evening that the country's police knew a month ago that Madeleine was dead, and the paper 'Diario de Noticias' says that parents Kate and Gerry are back on the suspects list, according to a police source quoted by the paper.

The paper also claims that there is a new suspect who they describe as bring a British man of African origin.

Details of Swiss abductor passed to Portuguese police, 07 August 2007
Details of Swiss abductor passed to Portuguese police Irish Independent

Tuesday August 07 2007

Swiss police have passed the details of a suspected child abductor to officers investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

The 67-year-old committed suicide last Wednesday and there is DNA evidence linking him to a five-year-old who vanished the day before.

He is reported to have been on holiday in the Algarve when four-year-old Madeleine disappeared in May.

'Dogs find blood' in Madeleine holiday apartment, 07 August 2007
'Dogs find blood' in Madeleine holiday apartment Herald Scotland

WILLIAM TINNING
Tuesday 7 August 2007

Traces of blood have been found by British police in Madeleine McCann's holiday apartment in the Algarve, it was claimed yesterday.

Traces of blood have been found by British police in Madeleine McCann's holiday apartment in the Algarve, it was claimed yesterday.

DNA tests are being carried out to establish whether they came from the missing four-year-old.

A Portuguese newspaper reported that the discovery came after UK detectives were allowed to review the three-month investigation.

The Jornal de Noticias said the blood was discovered on a wall in the McCann's holiday apartment in the Algarve early last week by British sniffer dogs specially trained to find remains of bodies.

Police in the UK and in Portugal have refused to comment on the claims, which came as Madeleine's parents met police after a second search of the home of Robert Murat, the only official suspect.

Police failed to find any new evidence after a fresh two-day search at the villa in Praia de Luz he shares with his elderly mother which is near where Madeleine disappeared on May 3.

Mr Murat, 33, who denies any involvement with the disappearance, was present during most of the search.

Yesterday's developments in Portugal came as it emerged that a paedophile who was on holiday in the Algarve at the time when Madeleine went missing has been found dead after abducting a five-year-old girl.

Swiss police yesterday said DNA tests showed a link between Urs Hans Von Aesch, 67, who was found dead last week, and some belongings of Ylenia Lenhard, who is still missing a week after she disappeared.

Portuguese detectives have been told of similarities between the abductions of Madeleine and Ylenia, who both have blonde hair.

They have also been informed that Von Aesch, who lived in Spain, was thought to have been close to Praia da Luz when Madeleine disappeared.

Von Aesch is regarded by Swiss police as the key suspect in the abduction of Ylenia, who disappeared while walking to a swimming pool in the north-east of Switzerland last Tuesday.

Von Aesch had "direct contact" with Ylenia's backpack, helmet and the scooter, Bruno Fehr, chief of canton St Gallen criminal police, said yesterday.

The girl's clothing items were all neatly folded in her backpack, Mr Fehr said, suggesting she was left naked.

The backpack, was discovered in a forest 20 miles from where she was abducted. Von Aesch shot and injured a 46-year-old man in the same forest before killing himself last Tuesday.

Police have declined to comment on whether there was any link between Madeleine's abduction and Ylenia's disappearance.

In the Algarve, it emerged that up to 12 British and Portuguese police officers scoured Mr Murat's home over the weekend using hi-tech scanning equipment and a British sniffer dog. A green van and a grey hatchback car used by Mr Murat and his mother were handed over to the police yesterday.

It is believed the vehicles were examined in the presence of Mr Murat in a sealed off underground car park close to police headquarters.

Madeleine's parents met detectives yesterday for a routine update on the inquiry.

Portuguese police declined to comment about the results of the re-examination of the villa, citing Portugal's strict secrecy of justice laws. However, a source close to the inquiry told the Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias nothing was found.

Tuck Price, Mr Murat's friend and spokesman, said: "They (the police) haven't officially said anything But we were there, and I think we would have seen and known if they had found anything."

The second search of the villa, named Casa Liliana, began on Saturday when police combed the land surrounding the property, clearing undergrowth and cutting down trees. Police are also investigating a possible sighting of Madeleine at a restaurant in Tongeren, Belgium, on the Dutch border.

Madeleine's mother, Kate, has told a magazine her strong relationship with her husband Gerry, who was born in Glasgow, had helped her through the torment of the past three months.

Swiss paedophile linked to Madeleine McCann disappearance, 08 August 2007
Swiss paedophile linked to Madeleine McCann disappearance ABC (podcast)

This is a transcript from The World Today. The program is broadcast around Australia at 12:10pm on ABC Local Radio.

The World Today - Wednesday, 8 August , 2007 12:30:00

Reporter: Tanya Nolan

ELEANOR HALL: Portuguese police may have a new suspect in the case of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann.

A Swiss paedophile, who is the key suspect in the recent disappearance of a five-year old girl in Switzerland, was believed to have been in Portugal near the resort where Madeleine went missing in May. The new development comes as police conduct tests on blood found in the apartment where the McCann family was staying.

As Tanya Nolan reports.

TANYA NOLAN: As the McCann family finalises preparations to commemorate 100 days since their daughter disappeared, there's more fresh information but still no answers. The Times newspaper in London first reported the possible link between known Swiss paedophile Urs Hans Von Aesch and Madeleine's disappearance.

It was reported that Portuguese police had been informed by their Swiss counterparts that Von Aesch, who lived in Spain, was near the McCann apartment at Praia da Luz, at the time Madeleine went missing.

Swiss officer Hans Eggenberger from St Gallen police said Swiss police didn't make that direct link but weren't ruling out a connection between the two events.

HANS EGGENBERGER (translation): If there are any links between Portugal or Spain which indicate that our man, the 67-year-old, could be linked to another case, than it's up to those authorities to start the necessary investigation. They will evaluate those results with great interest, this is obvious. But we don't know whether any links can be made or whether it will turn out to be nothing. We simply cannot say that at the moment.

TANYA NOLAN: The 67-year-old Von Aesch is the key suspect in another disappearance of a young girl. Five-year-old Ylenia Lenhard went missing while walking to a local pool in her hometown of Appenzell in northeastern Switzerland over a week ago.

Police said DNA testing linked Ylenia to the suspect, who was found dead in a Swiss forest near the girl's belongings last week. In another strange twist, Von Aesch shot a man who was sleeping in the forest, before turning the gun on himself.

Police are hoping the sleeping victim, who is in hospital in intensive care, may be able to shed some light on the disappearance of both girls. The new lead comes as Portuguese police wait for the DNA results of blood found in the apartment where Madeleine was last seen.

BBC reporter Steve Kingston told Radio National that many Portuguese newspapers are reporting that police are moving from the abduction theory to one where Madeleine may have died in the apartment.

STEVE KINGSTON: No one here is actually calling this a murder inquiry at this point, it's still a missing persons case, but I think that's what led to these discoveries of suspected blood last week. I think it was the specialised presence of British sniffer dogs that made the difference.

TANYA NOLAN: Despite the chilling evidence, Kate and Gerry McCann remain optimistic their daughter is alive

GERRY MCCANN: We're not naïve but on numerous occasions the Portugal police have assured us that they were looking for Madeleine alive and not Madeleine being murdered. And I don't know of any information that's changed that. Kate and I strongly believe that Madeleine was alive when she was taken from the apartment. Obviously what we don't know is what happened to her afterwards. Who's taken her and what their motive is and we're desperate to find that out.

KATE MCCANN: As Gerry's just said, even last week when we met with the police they said we are looking for a living child.

TANYA NOLAN: The other line of investigation for police is Von Aesch's vehicle. His white van, which was found near his body, is similar to the one spotted outside the McCann's Portugal apartment.

Police hope that later this week they may have the results of another lead. DNA analysis is being done on a drink bottle and a straw used by a girl resembling Madeleine who was spotted in a Belgium restaurant. With so many false leads in this sad story, the hope is this one is that just one of these may just pay off.

ELEANOR HALL: Tanya Nolan reporting.

Dead expat suspected of five-year-old's kidnap, 11 August 2007
Dead expat suspected of five-year-old's kidnap thinkSPAIN

By: Samantha Kett, thinkSPAINtoday
Saturday, August 11, 2007

An expatriate thought to be behind the kidnapping of a five-year-old girl has been found shot dead. The chief suspect in Ylenia Lenhard's disappearance on July 31, a 67-year-old Swiss national living in the province of Alicante, was discovered with a bullet through his head the following day in the canton of Saint Gallen.

Officers believe his demise was the result of a shoot-out with a 46-year-old man. However, they have not ruled out suicide. Near the woodland where the suspect was shot, officers found various items belonging to the missing child, also Swiss, including a bicycle helmet, a rucksack and a scooter. On Tuesday, Urs Hans Von Aesch's DNA was found on all three items.

Police say everything points to the fact that the girl was kidnapped and possibly murdered.

More than 50 Swiss officers are combing the area.

In the meantime, Guardia Civil officers are searching the property owned by Von Aesch in Benimantell near Guadalest and are said to be questioning his wife.

Ylenia Lenhard, five, disappeared last Tuesday in Appenzell when she returned to a swimming pool to collect a bottle of shampoo she had left there. She has not been seen since.

Investigations began after shots rang out in the woods.

The 46-year-old received a bullet in the chest before fleeing his aggressor, and is currently in intensive care. Police believe he may have been one of the last to see the missing girl, but his health is too poor to allow him to be questioned.

Officers found a Renault van with a Spanish registration number belonging to Von Aesch but searches did not reveal any clues inside. Witnesses say the vehicle was parked near the woods shortly before Ylenia went missing, leading police to believe the kidnapping was premeditated. Guardia Civil sources say the suspect had been living in Benimantell for just a few weeks before his death.

Police are investigating whether Ylenia's kidnapper could have been involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann three months ago. As published in The Times on Tuesday, Portuguese police have detected similarities between the two cases.

They suspect Urs Hans Von Aesch was in Praia da Luz on or around May 3, when three-year-old Madeleine vanished sparking a Europe-wide search for clues leading to her whereabouts. Von Aesch drove a van similar to that which various witnesses claim to have seen near the apartment on the Club Ocean resort where the McCann family were staying.

Yet this appears to contradict claims that the Portuguese police have known for more than a month that Madeleine died in the bedroom on the night of her disappearance. Traces of her blood in the room have aroused suspicions that she suffered a fatal accident or was murdered.

Investigation Continues, 13 August 2007
Investigation Continues Costa Blanca Leader

By Staff Reporter
(Published: 13/08/2007  Edition No.: 173)
 
At the weekend the Guardia Civil and representatives of the Swiss police force continued their minute examination of the Benimantell home of Urs Hans Von Aesch, who is suspected of being involved in the disappearance of the little Swiss girl Ylenia Lenhard, as reported in last weeks 'Leader.'

According to the locals, Mr Von Aesch lived a very closeted life in Benimantell in a home he owned for the last twenty years, hugely different from his style in Switzerland, where he made himself out to be a millionaire.

On Saturday investigators took DNA and other samples from the house as well as removing a computer. The 67 year-old committed suicide after having injured another man who apparently expressed the view that he was behind the kidnapping of Ylenia, who vanished on her way to a swimming pool near where she lived, and it is believed that evidence was discovered linking Mr Von Aesch to the crime.

Hans Eggenberger, the spokesman for the Saint Gallen Police stated that they had discovered a digital camera in the van belonging to Mr Von Aesch and that the memory card is being examined.

The Times newspaper in particular has published stories alleging similarities between the Von Aesch case and that of Madeleine McCann, and the Swiss man was allegedly close to Praia de Luz when she disappeared.

Interpol message noting that the Swiss police had not managed to determine any link with the McCann case and asking if the Portuguese police required Von Aesch's vehicle for further investigation, 17 August 2007
Interpol message noting that the Swiss police had not managed to determine any link with the McCann case and asking if the Portuguese police required Von Aesch's vehicle for further investigation Apenso VII carta rogatoria, pages 64 to 65

 
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 64
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 64

 
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 65
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 65

POLÍCIA JUDICIÁRIA
National Bureau of Interpol


VERY URGENT

IP LISBON, LONDON INFORMATION FOR LYON SG

IP/105/342394/CLA

REF.DE IP LISBON: 1806/07-MIN/TERESA ALMEIDA
REF.DE IP LONDON: 4H-2718014-07/JANE WHITING
REF.DE IP LYON SG: IPSG/OS/CCC/VON AESCH/REQ/ELISABETH WRIGHT

REGARDING: URS HANS VON AESCH, SWISS CITIZEN, BORN ON 11-11-1940 - SUSPECTED OF ATTEMPTED HOMICIDE, CHILD ABDUCTION ETC.

MISSING GIRL YLENIA LENHARD, BORN ON 18-11-2001/SWITZERLAND

AS MENTIONED IN PREVIOUS CORRESPONDENCE, THE INVESTIGATIONS UNDERWAY CONDUCTED BY THE POLICE FROM THE DISTRICT OF ST. GALLEN DID NOT MANAGE TO ESTABLISH ANY LINK TO THE CASE OF THE DISAPPEARANCE OF THE BRITISH GIRL MADELEINE MCCANN.

THE VEHICLE OF THE SUSPECT URS HANS VON AESCH (RENAULT TRAFFIC, NUMBER PLATE A5472CT) IS CURRENTLY BEING HELD IN AN ISOLATION AREA AND EXAMINATIONS BY FORENSICS EXPERTS FROM ST. GALLEN HAVE TAKEN PLACE. DNA TRACES OF THE GIRL YLENIA LENHARD WHO CONTINUES TO BE MISSING WERE FOUND IN THE CAR. WE HOPE THAT SOME OF THE TRACES WILL BE RELEASED AND DISTRIBUTED SHORTLY FOR THE EFFECT OF VERIFICATION.

ST. GALLEN POLICE URGENTLY NEED TO KNOW WHETHER THE AUTHORITIES INVESTIGATING THE CASE OF MADELEINE MCCANN IN PORTUGAL OR THE UK WOULD BE INTERESTED IN OUR REMAINING WITH THE VEHICLE FOR SUBSEQUENT INVESTIGATIONS, HOWEVER IT SHOULD BE MENTIONED THAT DURING THE FIRST URGENT SEARCHES SNIFFER DOGS AND OTHER PERSONS ENTERED THE VEHICLE (USING RUBBER GLOVES).

IN CASE YOUR AUTHORITIES DO NOT NEED THE VEHICLE THE ST. GALLEN POLICE WISH TO DISMANTLE THE VEHICLE COMPLETELY IN ORDER TO FIND ANY SIGNS OF EVIDENCE.

PLEASE INFORM US AS SURGENTLY AS POSSIBLE ABOUT YOUR INTENTIONS WITH REGARD TO THE VEHICLE SO THAT THE ST. GALLEN POLICE CAN PROCEED TO DISMANTLE IT.

WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR COOPERATION


IP BERNE
17-08-2007

MH

Urgent e-mail to DIC Portimão asking the Portuguese police for a decision on the question of whether they wish to examine Von Aesch's vehicle, 03 September 2007
Urgent e-mail to DIC Portimão asking the Portuguese police for a decision on the question of whether they wish to examine Von Aesch's vehicle Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 58

 
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 58
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 58

Ana Filipa Conduto Luz

From: Dic.Portimao
Sent: Tuesday, 4th September 2007 11:52
To: Ana Filipa Conduto Luz
Subject: FW: MADELEINE MCCANN

Importance: High


____________________________________
From: Maria Teresa Nunes Almeida
Sent: Monday, 3rd September 2007 18:27
To: Dic.Portimao
Subject: MADELEINE MCCANN
Importance: High


VERY URGENT-------------------VERY URGENT

To the Coordinator of the Criminal Investigation

Following the message delivered on the 21st August to Chief Inspector Tavares da Almeida, in which the Swiss authorities requested urgent information concerning the interest for the MADELEINE MCCANN investigation in the vehicle used by Urs Hans Von Aesch (Swiss individual suspected of abducting the young girl who has disappeared in Switzerland), we are sending you the translation of a new message from IP BERNE.

In accordance with this we would be grateful for an urgent response to the offer of the availability of the vehicle mentioned above.

With compliments
Teresa Almeida

[Attached docs: BERNA.jpg & BERNA 02.jpg]

--------------------

Attached docs Apenso VII carta rogatoria, pages 59 to 60

 
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 59
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 59

 
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 60
Apenso VII carta rogatoria, page 60

POLÍCIA JUDICIÁRIA
National Bureau of Interpol

VERY URGENT

IP LISBON

INFORMATION TO IP LONDON - IP LYON SG

OUR REFERENCE: IP/105/342394/CLA

REF. DE IP LISBON: P.2835/07-MIN
REF. DE IP LONDON: 411-2718014-07
REF. DE IP LYON SG: IPSG/OS/CCC/HAB

SUBJECT: URS HANS VON AESCH BORN ON 11/11/1940, SWISS CITIZEN, SUSPECTED OF ATTEMPTED MURDER, CHILD ABDUCTION ETC, MISSING GIRL, YLENIA LENHARD BORN ON 18711/2001 IN SWITZERLAND.

WITH REGARD TO OUR URGENT REQUEST DATED 17/8/2007 CONCERNING THE OFFER MADE BY THE ST. GALLEN POLICE FORCE OF THE AVAILABILITY OF THE VEHICLE OF URS HANS VON AESCH TO THE INVESTIGATING AUTHORITIES IN PORTUGAL WORKING ON THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MADELEINE MCCANN, AS MENTIONED PREVIOUSLY. THERE IS NO APPARENT CONNECTION BETWEEN THE CASE OF MADELEINE AND THE DISAPPEARANCE OF YLENIA LENHARD IN SWITZERLAND BUT THIS HYPOTHESIS CANNOT BE COMPLETELY DISREGARDED.

THE VEHICLE BELONGING TO THE SUSPECT URS HANS VON AESCH (RENAULT TRAFFIC, NUMBER PLATE A5472CT) IS CURRENTLY IN A GUARDED AREA, HAVING BEEN THE SUBJECT OF FORENSIC LABORATORY TESTS, BUT THE AUTHORITIES ARE WAITING FOR YOUR DECISION BEFORE DISMANTLING THE VEHICLE.

FOR YOUR INFORMATION:
ON 21/08/2007 IP LONDON RESPONDED WITH THE FOLLOWING:
"FOLLOWING YOUR MESSAGE OF 17/08/2007 REGARDING THE VEHICLE BELONGING TO THE INDIVIDUAL MENTIONED ABOVE, WE CHECKED THAT IT WAS SENT TO INTERPOL LISBON. WE INFORM HOWEVER, THAT WE ALSO SENT AN INVESTIGATIVE TEAM TO PORTUGAL BY MEANS OF THE LINK CREATED BY THE POLICE FORCE OF THE UK WITH THE AIM (WE HOPE) OF GUARANTEEING A REPLY TO YOUR OFFER."

WE WOULD BE GRATEFUL IF IT COULD BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION THAT WE URGENTLY REQUIRE YOUR DECISION BEFORE 5/9/2007 GIVEN THAT A MEETING INTO THE INVESTIGATION IS PLANNED FOR 6/9/2007.

WE WOULD THANK YOU FOR INFORMING US, AS SOON AS POSSIBLE, ABOUT YOUR INTENTIONS.

WITH THANKS,

IP BERNE
3/9/2007

MC

'My husband is not a paedophile', claims Ylenia suspect's widow, 06 September 2007
'My husband is not a paedophile', claims Ylenia suspect's widow thinkSPAIN

Searching for clues

By: Samantha Kett, thinkSPAINtoday
Thursday, September 6, 2007

A suspected paedophile who killed himself after allegedly kidnapping a five-year-old girl is 'innocent', claims his widow. Vreni Von Aesch, whose husband Urs Hans is thought to be behind the disappearance of Ylenia Lenhard in Switzerland, has finally spoken out. She says 'lots of lies' have been published in the media and that her husband is 'not a paedophile'. Her husband was polite, friendly, sociable and big-hearted, Vreni reveals.

However, she has hinted that he may have been suicidal. Vreni explains her husband had 'changed considerably' in the last three or four years and often said he did not want to live, particularly when he was ill or in pain. Urs Hans was 'afraid of getting old', often ill and suffered persistent headaches.

His wife heard the news of his death via her sister in Switzerland, who telephoned to say Urs had said goodbye to her. At the same time Vreni received a text message from Urs on their landline, but in German which, when read out by the automated voice service in Spanish, made no sense, she continues.

Resident in Benimantell, near Guadalest, for more than seven years, Vreni explains her husband had returned to Switzerland for the summer because he found the Spanish heat, crowds of tourists and traffic jams unbearable. Vreni reveals that her husband was staying with her mother and sister at their house in Zétzwil.

She travelled to Switzerland on August 5, four days after her husband's death and was horrified to see that the news on Swiss televisión had linked his demise with the disappearance of little Ylenia.

The grieving widow also reveals that her husband was carrying a gun because he often went rabbit-hunting.

According to Vreni, her husband did not know the missing child and "nobody who knows my husband believes he did it.

"All the villagers are very kind, they are all worried, including the mayor."

Concerning recent theories that Urs Hans may have been involved in the disappearance of British three-year-old, Madeleine McCann, Vreni categorically denies that her husband was in Praia da Luz, southern Portugal, on the day of the child's disappearance from the family's holiday apartment.

Body of missing girl believed to have been found, 15 September 2007
Body of missing girl believed to have been found Swiss Info

The place where the body of the girl was found (Keystone)
The place where the body of the girl was found (Keystone)

September 15, 2007 - 5:59 PM

Police in the eastern city of St Gallen say they are nearly certain to have found the body of Ylenia, the five-year-old girl who went missing on July 31.

At a news conference on Saturday, a police spokesman said they were able to make the identification because of the general appearance of the body and jewellery found on it.

The corpse of the girl, who was believed to have been abducted, was uncovered by a private individual in a wood between the villages of Oberbüren and Niederwil.

The police said the buried body had been apparently dug up by wild animals.

The results of the autopsy are expected to be known by next Tuesday.

On the day Ylenia disappeared from a swimming pool in Appenzell, the suspected kidnapper shot at and wounded another man in the chest before turning the gun on himself.

The shooting incident occurred in the same wood where the child's body was found. Passersby stumbled upon the corpse of the 67-year-old Swiss in a nearby forest the next day, where the backpack and bike helmet the girl was carrying when she disappeared were also uncovered.

Police believe the man abducted the girl in a white van with Spanish licence plates. An analysis of DNA taken from the vehicle indicated that it had been used to transport Ylenia.

The man was a resident of eastern Switzerland before resettling with his wife in Spain in 1990.

Immediately following Ylenia's disappearance, Swiss police said investigations were also being carried out in Spain and Portugal, raising speculation of a possible link between her case and that of missing British girl Madeleine McCann.

McCann was last seen in the Algarve holiday region in Portugal at the beginning of May.

Missing children

Missing children and child murders are rare in Switzerland and the case of Ylenia has made the front page of national newspapers and magazines.

Editors became aware of the story's human-interest value following the media saturation in Britain over the McCann case.

And earlier this week, 100 Swiss personalities signed an open letter to the government demanding a faster system to track down abducted children.

It called for an "abduction alert" to be issued as soon as a child is reported missing. The signatories include champion skater Stéphane Lambiel, former ski champion Pirmin Zurbriggen and Alinghi-billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli.

Ylenia case

Ylenia from Appenzell in northeastern Switzerland was last seen at a swimming pool on July 31, according to police, who have declined to release her surname in keeping with Swiss privacy laws.

That evening police found her backpack, cycling helmet and scooter beside a path in woods about 30 kilometres from the swimming pool.

On August 1, in the same forest, police found the body of a man who they said had shot himself in the head with a pistol.

A day earlier he had shot and injured a 46-year-old man allegedly taking a nap. The younger man fled and was taken to hospital. He has since been discharged.

Police said the dead man was a Swiss native who had lived in Spain with his wife since 1990. His van, also found in the forest, had Spanish number plates and had been seen near a swimming pool in Ylenia's hometown on Tuesday morning.

Body of kidnap girl is found, 19 September 2007
Body of kidnap girl is found Daily Star

Daily Star, 19 September 2007

By Ian Sparks
19 September 2007

THE body of a missing five-year-old girl whose abduction was linked to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann has been discovered in a forest in Switzerland.

Ylenia Llenard was snatched from a public swimming pool in the Swiss town of Appenzell on July 31.

After she vanished, Ylenia's photo was shown to Kate and Gerry McCann as police across Europe probed links between the two cases.

Her suspected abductor was 67-year-old Swiss man Urs Von Aesch, whose dead body was found on the day she disappeared.

It was discovered close to where Ylenia's body has just been found.

Police believe the child's body had been dug up by wild animals.

Von Aesch is thought to have shot a man who challenged him in the woods shortly after he buried the girl, then turned the gun on himself.

Police later discovered he had been on holiday close to the McCanns in the Algarve when Madeleine disappeared at the beginning of May.

Swiss police said at the time they were probing the possibility that he had abducted Madeleine and driven her to Switzerland.

A Swiss police spokesman said: "Von Aesch had been on holiday in the Algarve when Madeleine McCann disappeared.

"We could obviously not ignore the possibility that he had abducted her too." He added that all the relevant information would be passed on to detectives in Portugal.

The woodland shrine for Ylenia................................................

The woodland shrine outside the Swiss town of Oberburon where five-year-old Ylenia Lenhard was abducted and killed by Urs Hans Von Aesch just months after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

The woodland shrine outside the Swiss town of Oberburon where five-year-old Ylenia Lenhard was abducted and killed by Urs Hans Von Aesch just months after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

A year after Ylenia murder, no alarm system yet, 31 July 2008
A year after Ylenia murder, no alarm system yet Swiss Info

Ylenia's funeral service took place 11 days after her body was found (Keystone)
Ylenia's funeral service took place 11 days after her body was found (Keystone)

July 31, 2008 - 08:57

The case of a five-year-old girl abducted and murdered in Switzerland a year ago led to much soul searching about what could have be done to save her.

Under discussion is a mobile phone photo alarm system but this is unlikely to come into force before 2010. Other proposals to sound the alarm bells have also been put forward.

Ylenia, from Appenzell in eastern Switzerland, was reported missing on July 31, 2007, prompting a massive police search. Her body was found in mid-September.

Her abductor, a 67-year-old Swiss man, committed suicide. Police later said that the suspect, who is thought to have planned his crime in advance, had poisoned Ylenia using a solvent.

Speaking to the Schweizer Illustrierte magazine, Ylenia's mother, Charlotte Lenhard, said that her daughter was always in her thoughts.

"When I hear children playing outside who used to play with Ylenia, it's almost more than I can bear," she said.

The Ylenia case shocked Switzerland as child abductions and murders are still rare in the country. Politicians were swift to come up with a response.

The phone photo system, which was approved by parliament last December, would involve sending a picture of the missing child to phones – via MMS or Multimedia Messaging Service – with a description and a number to call.

A similar system using text messaging is already used in Canada, the United States and France.

Assessment

The countrywide MMS scheme would be coordinated by the Swiss cantons, which are responsible for such matters under the Swiss federal system.

The proposal is therefore currently under review by a working group of the Conference of Cantonal Justice and Police Directors.

Stefan Leutert, a scientific collaborator at the organisation, told swissinfo many aspects of the system – a first for Switzerland - still needed to be discussed.

"An important question that must be clarified is who would activate a Switzerland-wide alarm with MMS. When you activate it you have to be sure that the child has really been abducted and that he or she hasn't gone to play with a friend rather than coming straight home from school," said Leutert.

"So there are not just technical questions which have to be considered but also practical procedures," he explained, adding that frequent false alarms would harm the system's effectiveness.

A final report will be issued by 2009, with the system – if approved by the conference - likely to be introduced in 2010. A text message scheme including a link to the internet, containing all the information about the child, is also being assessed.

Additional measure

Leutert said that any alarm system, to which people would have to sign up, would be in addition to current measures. Until now police have used the media to transmit case information, he said.

A photo alert is also no guarantee that a child would be found. "In the Ylenia case nobody saw her again after her disappearance," said Leutert.

Calls for an alert are not new. The Fredi foundation, a private body which helps in the search for missing children, has been long campaigning for more action.

Earlier this month it handed in a petition of 32,500 signatures to the authorities calling for an immediate alarm system – a petition which was started before the Ylenia case.

"We would like to see this abduction alert in place as fast as possible, but above all we'd like a real and effective collaboration between the cantonal police and the population," the foundation's operational director Diane Burgy told swissinfo.

People are willing to help, she said. Ylenia's body was eventually found by a civilian.

"We also find it lamentable that we currently don't use the internet to flag up when a child has gone missing," she added.

Crucial hours

Burgy says that it is the first few hours that are crucial after a child goes missing. Surrounding areas and countries also need to be alerted straightaway, she said.

The authorities are reported to have waited six days before informing neighbouring cantons and ten days before alerting Austria during the Ylenia case.

Ylenia's mother told Schweizer Illustrierte that she was disappointed that immediate action had not been taken over an alarm. Burgy is also of the opinion that more must be done.

"People say that most children who disappear run away," she said. "It's also true that we've had few criminal disappearances in Switzerland but does this justify that we don't do anything? We have to prepare ourselves for the future."

swissinfo, Isobel Leybold-Johnson

Ylenia case

Ylenia from Appenzell in eastern Switzerland was last seen at a swimming pool on July 31, say police, who did not initially release her surname in keeping with Swiss privacy laws.

That evening police found her backpack, cycle helmet and scooter beside a path in woods around 30 kilometres away.

On August 1, in the same forest, police found the body of a 67-year-old Swiss man who had shot himself. A day earlier he had shot and injured a 46-year-old man, who fled the scene.

Ylenia's corpse was discovered on September 15. It was later revealed that she had been poisoned. Officials said her body did not reveal any signs of a sexual attack, but that this did not exclude the possibility that the abduction motive was sexual.

Earlier this week it was announced that the case was officially closed.

The Ylenia Foundation has been set up by Charlotte Lenhard in memory of her daughter. Donated money will go to needy children.

Missing children alerts

In the US, the Amber Alert is a voluntary partnership between law-enforcement agencies, broadcasters and transportation agencies to activate an urgent bulletin in the most serious child-abduction cases. It is named after a nine-year-old girl who was kidnapped and murdered in 1996.

England and Wales and Canada have adopted similar schemes, based on the US example.

French authorities can flash up electronic missing child information on motorway signboards within 30 minutes of a confirmed case of abduction under its alarm plan.

Ministers decided against a Europe-wide alert system earlier this year – a move which had the backing of Kate and Gerry McCann, parents of the missing British girl Madeleine.

It was decided that countries would concentrate on installing their own schemes and cross-border cooperation.

Was Maddie snatched by monster who killed this little lookalike? That's the dramatic new lead uncovered by British detectives so why are the Portuguese refusing to investigate?, 24 May 2013
Was Maddie snatched by monster who killed this little lookalike? That's the dramatic new lead uncovered by British detectives so why are the Portuguese refusing to investigate? Daily Mail
  • Scotland Yard detectives have a list of 30 potential suspects
  • One of them is peadophile and child murderer Urs Hans von Aesch who killed himself in woodland
  • Von Aesch murdered five-year-old only five months after Maddie disappeared
  • But Portuguese police STILL dragging heels over investigation
By PAUL BRACCHI and STEPHEN WRIGHT
PUBLISHED: 23:46, 24 May 2013 | UPDATED: 13:14, 25 May 2013

Have you seen me? asks the little girl in the poster. The youngster is Madeleine McCann; not the Madeleine we all remember, but Madeleine as she might look today as a ten-year-old.

Her once-blonde hair is darker, the button nose has gone, along with those babyish chubby cheeks, and while the distinctive black 'flash' in her right eye — where her pupil runs into the iris — is still visible, it is not nearly so distinctive.

Behind this latest digitally created picture of Madeleine, now being circulated on the Continent, is renewed hope: that one day Madeleine's parents will find out what happened to her, and so end perhaps the most enduring and haunting mystery of modern times.

Linked? Five year old Ylenia Lenhard (left) from Appenzell in Switzerland who was killed by Swiss man Urs Hans Von Aesch just months after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (right)

Linked? Five year old Ylenia Lenhard (left) from Appenzell in Switzerland who was killed by Swiss man Urs Hans Von Aesch just months after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann (right)



That hope, if truth be told, had been all but extinguished, such were the shortcomings of the original Portuguese police investigation into Madeleine's disappearance on the Algarve a few days short of her fourth birthday in May 2007.

Only now, with the intervention of an elite team of detectives from Scotland Yard which has been carrying out a review of the case on David Cameron's orders, has evidence been properly accessed and analysed. It may be six years late, but at least this basic groundwork is finally being tackled.

The 30-strong squad working on the inquiry — codenamed Operation Grange — has identified 20 potential suspects, among them several Britons, as the Mail reported last week.

But who are they?

One of the 20, the Mail has learned, was a notorious paedophile who kidnapped and murdered a five-year-old girl in his native Switzerland less than three months after Madeleine vanished from the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz.

Secrets: Could child-killer Urs Hans Von Aesch, the Swiss man, who lived in Spain, have played a part in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann?

Urs Hans von Aesch, 67, shot himself dead after poisoning and sexually abusing Ylenia Lenhard.

Like Madeleine, Ylenia was blonde and blue-eyed. At the time Madeleine vanished, von Aesch was living in Spain, but he had visited the Algarve in the past and was known to have friends there.

Interpol twice contacted the Portuguese authorities about von Aesch, but information supplied by the Swiss about possible links with Madeleine was not followed up because senior officers in the Policia Judiciaria — the Portuguese CID — were wrongly convinced that Madeleine's parents were implicated in their daughter's disappearance.

The 'very urgent' messages from Interpol are there, in black and white, printed in publicly available documents in Portugal.

Unlike the Policia Judiciaria, however, detectives from Operation Grange did rigorously pursue this line of inquiry. Last year, they flew to Switzerland to probe von Aesch's movements. He is still believed to be a 'person of interest'.

Two other convicted child abusers — including one believed to be from Britain — who were on the Algarve at the relevant time, are also understood to be on the Scotland Yard 'list', together with a number of hotel workers and lorry drivers.

Detectives are now 'actively' examining mobile phone traffic in the Praia da Luz area on the day Madeleine was last seen.

Although the Policia Judiciaria had this information at the time of Madeleine's disappearance, they did not find out who the phones were registered to, even though 'cell-site' analysis is now a crucial investigative tool and the catalyst for solving countless crimes.

Had standard police procedures been followed back in 2007, it is conceivable that you would not be reading this article now, for the mystery of Madeleine’s disappearance may have been solved.

Nevertheless, Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are said to be encouraged both by the progress of Operation Grange, and recent events in the U.S., where three women who had been missing for a decade were found alive and well in Cleveland, Ohio.

Hope: Kate and Gerry McCann have never given up hunting for their daughter

Hope: Kate and Gerry McCann have never given up hunting for their daughter



Kate and Gerry, both doctors,  still refer to Madeleine in the present tense.

'She lives in the village of Rothley in Leicester with her mummy and daddy and little brother and sister, Sean and Amelie,' is how they introduce her on the 'Find Madeleine' website.

'Madeleine is a very happy little girl with an outgoing personality' ... like most girls her age, she likes dolls and dresses (and anything pink and sparkly).'

Madeleine was wearing pink pyjamas, with an Eeyore motif, on the night she was taken from apartment 5a on the ground floor of the Waterside Gardens at the Ocean Club complex.

Her parents were at a tapas bar with friends a few hundred yards away, taking it in turns to return to the flat every 30 minutes to check on the children.

It was Kate who made the final, fateful check at around 10pm. She found the twins were asleep inside but Madeleine's bed was empty, a moment Kate would later relive in her book, Madeleine.

'My heart lurched,' she wrote, 'as I saw now that, behind them, the window was wide open and the shutters on  the outside raised all the way up.  Nausea, terror, disbelief, fear, icy fear. Dear God, no! Please, No!'

Experts will tell you that what happens in the immediate aftermath of a child going missing — the so-called golden hour — is critical. Yet Portuguese police took four days to even issue a description of Madeleine.

Time to act: The Ocean Club in Praia da Luz where Maddie disappeared. Portuguese police refuse to reopen the case

Time to act: The Ocean Club in Praia da Luz where Maddie disappeared. Portuguese police refuse to reopen the case



They failed to 'lock down' the resort or set up road blocks because they assumed she had just wandered off. The apartment itself was not taped off until 10am the following morning, by which time dozens of people had traipsed through the 'crime scene'.

Ash from policemen's cigarettes would later be found among contaminated forensic samples from the flat. Not all the staff and guests at the Ocean Club were traced and interviewed. Those who were interviewed were not always properly eliminated.

And a photofit picture of an early 'suspect' consisted of nothing more than the sketch of a face with hair parted on one side but with no actual eyes, nose or mouth.

The catalogue of mistakes and official complacency is almost endless and culminated in a shameful shadow of suspicion over Kate and Gerry McCann, who were treated as suspects themselves until their 'arguido' (suspect) status was removed in 2008, the same year as the inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance was formally suspended.

There were, declared the Portuguese police, simply no more leads to pursue.

Within months of Operation Grange being set up in 2011 — after Mr Cameron received a direct appeal for help from the McCanns — dozens of fresh leads had been identified.

The only British involvement in the case before this was that of Leicestershire police, the McCanns' local force, who were responsible for collating all the investigation work carried out on behalf of their Portuguese counterparts, such as interviewing British witnesses.

Gerry McCann and Kate McCann hold their twins Sean and Amelie at the Ocean Club Resort in 2007

Gerry McCann and Kate McCann hold their twins Sean and Amelie at the Ocean Club Resort in 2007

----------------------

All this evidence was later made available to officers from Operation Grange, drawn from the Met's highly skilled Homicide and Serious Crime Command.

Two detectives first visited Praia du Luz in October 2011 and spoke 'informally' to staff at the Ocean Club. Colleagues are understood to have returned there up to ten times over the past two years.

Of particular interest were the numerous holiday flats, some of which were sub-let at the time the McCanns were staying at the resort. They have spoken to residents on the phone in recent months as well as emailing them questions.

'When I spoke to the police they were asking about other crimes happening in the area at the time of Madeleine's disappearance,' said expat Christie Jones, who works for her family's villa management company.

Two private detectives employed by the McCanns, Dave Edgar and Arthur Cowley, have also been interviewed.

'They [detectives from Operation Grange] came to see me late last year about specific people who were of interest to them,' said Mr Cowley, a retired detective sergeant, who lives in Holywell, North Wales.

One of those people, of course — according to a source close to Operation Grange — is the aforementioned Urs Hans von Aesch.

His exact whereabouts when Madeleine was abducted on May 3, 2007 are unclear. He was living near Alicante in Spain with his wife, but border records show that, driving a white van, von Aesch re-entered Switzerland on July 10.

Still out there? Senior Met Police officers believe Madeleine (pictured left, and in an artist's impression of how she may look aged nine, right) may still be alive and said the Cleveland kidnappings show there could still be hope

Still out there? Senior Met Police officers believe Madeleine (pictured left, and in an artist's impression of how she may look aged nine, right) may still be alive and said the Cleveland kidnappings show there could still be hope

---------------------

Less than a month later, he used this vehicle to abduct Ylenia as she left her local swimming pool in Appenzell. The day after she vanished, von Aesch was discovered in woodland with self-inflicted gunshot wounds to the head.

Ylenia's bicycle helmet, rucksack and a scooter were found nearby. All of the items contained von Aesch's DNA. Shortly afterwards, the remains of Ylenia were found in a shallow grave in nearby Oberbueren, a 20-minute drive from the spot where she was abducted.

At von Aesch's home in Spain, police seized diaries — in English — revealing his dark sexual fantasies about children and computer discs containing evidence that he had frequently visited child sex websites and forums on the internet.

Swiss police officers were immediately struck by the physical similarities between Ylenia and Madeleine, who had both gone missing within weeks of each other. They alerted Interpol which, in turn, contacted the Portuguese authorities about its suspicions on August 17.

When it did not get a response, it contacted them again on September 3. Again, there was no response, we were informed by sources in Interpol.

We now know why.

Just four days later, on September 7, Kate and Gerry McCann were named as arguidos in the Portuguese investigation. On September 11, police submitted a summary of their case against them to prosecutors.

In his report, Chief Inspector Tavares da Almeida concluded — without a shred of hard evidence — that Madeleine had died in the flat, her parents had hid the body, then faked an abduction and got their friends to lie to the police.

'Kate McCann and Gerald McCann are involved in the concealment of the cadaver of their daughter Madeleine McCann,' he wrote.

Could a police officer have made a more catastrophic misjudgement?

Meanwhile, Ylenia Lenhard's heartbroken mother Charlotte believes her daughter was not von Aesch's only victim.

'I am convinced that my little girl was not the only one,' she told the Mail. 'I simply cannot believe that a man, at the age of 67, suddenly chooses to become a killer. It was in him all the time and I am certain he has struck before.'

Indeed, after von Aesch's death, Swiss police re-opened inquiries into the disappearance of five girls who disappeared from the area in the Eighties, before he moved  to Spain.

These include five-year-old Sarah Oberson, whose neat features and bobbed-hair are also reminiscent of Madeleine McCann, and who went missing in September 1985 when cycling to her grandmother's house 50 meters away; doe-eyed seven-year-old Loredana Mancini, who vanished in April 1983 and was found dead in September of the same year: and eight-year-old Rebecca Bieri, who disappeared in March 1982 and was found dead five months later.

The police were unable to prove links between von Aesch and the missing girls.

Under Portuguese law, a case can be reopened only if there is  new evidence.

Yet the senior Scotland Yard detective who oversaw the two-year-review of the evidence before he retired says it is 'perfectly probable' that information that could identify the suspect responsible for Madeleine McCann's disappearance was already in the  Portuguese files.

'Of course, there is a possibility she is still alive,' said former Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell. 'But the key is to investigate the case and, dead or alive, we should be able to try to discern what happened.'

It is the very least Kate and Gerry McCann, indeed any parent of a missing child, deserves.

Additional reporting: Neil Sears in Praia du Luz

Madeleine McCann: Monster who killed lookalike is linked by police, 26 May 2013
Madeleine McCann: Monster who killed lookalike is linked by police Daily Mirror

By Justin Penrose | 26 May 2013 00:01

Urs Hans von Aesch shot himself dead after poisoning and ­abusing Ylenia Lenhard, who resembled Maddie.

Missing Maddie, murdered Ylenua and evil von Aesch

A paedophile who murdered a girl is among 20 people ­detectives believe might have snatched ­Madeleine McCann.

Urs Hans von Aesch, who had links to the Algarve in Portugal where Madeleine vanished, shot himself dead after poisoning and ­abusing Ylenia Lenhard, who resembled the British victim.

He killed the blonde, blue-eyed five-year-old in his native Switzerland two months after Madeleine disappeared.

Interpol detectives twice ­contacted Portuguese authorities about 67-year-old von Aesch, but cops did not act as they wrongly believed Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, had killed her.

Officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Grange, who are investigating Madeleine's disappearance, say von Aesch is one of 20 "persons of interest".

Two other child abusers - including a Briton - who were on the Algarve at the time are also understood to be on the list together with hotel workers and lorry drivers.

Detectives are examining phone traffic in the Praia da Luz area on the day Madeleine vanished there.

Von Aesch's whereabouts when she was abducted on May 3, 2007, are unknown but police know he was living in Spain with his wife.

Border records show von Aesch re-entered Switzerland on July 10 in a white van. He used the vehicle to abduct Ylenia.

Her mother Charlotte believes he had other victims. She said: "I am convinced that my little girl was not the only one."

Maddie suspects named by police, 28 May 2013
Maddie suspects named by police Daily Star

THREE paedophiles thought to have been in Portugal when Madeleine McCann vanished are on a list of suspects drawn up by British police.

By Jerry Lawton / Published 28th May 2013

Madeleine McCann disappeared in May 2007 from her holiday apartment in Praia da Luz

One is thought to have killed a girl in his native Switzerland two months after Madeleine disappeared.

Urs Hans von Aesch, 67, suspected of poisoning and abusing Ylenia Lenhard, five, who resembled Maddie, shot himself dead in 2007.

Interpol twice contacted Portuguese police about him but they did not act.

Officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Grange, who have spent two years reviewing the police probe, say von Aesch is one of a number of "persons of interest" who should be investigated.

They have established he had been living in Spain with his wife. Border records show he re-entered Switzerland on July 10, 2007, in a white van which he used to abduct Ylenia.

Her mother Charlotte said: "I am convinced that my little girl was not the only one."

Two known child abusers who were in the Algarve at the time have not been eliminated from inquiries. One of them is a Brit, Raymond Hewlett, 64, who was living just an hour’s drive from where Madeleine vanished.

He died in 2010. The second, who is not British, has not been named.

Detectives are examining phone traffic in the resort of Praia da Luz on May 3, 2007, when three-year-old Madeleine disappeared.

Det Chief Supt Hamish Campbell, head of Scotland Yard's Homicide and Serious Crime Command, revealed the UK team's inquiries had unearthed "a lot of people who could be explored further if only to be eliminated".

----------------------

[Note: The headline to this piece was originally: 'Maddie police name paedos']

Maddie list killer 'clear', 02 June 2013
Maddie list killer 'clear' The People

Patrick Hill
Jun 2, 2013

A KILLER paedo on the list of Madeleine McCann abduction suspects has been ruled out by cops, his widow has claimed.

Swiss Urs Hans von Aesch is one of 20 new names listed by officers from Scotland Yard's Operation Grange.

They focused on him because he was living nearby in Spain when the three year old vanished in Portugal in May 2007.

But widow Vreni von Aesch said: "It's been proved that he was nothing to do with Madeleine."

Von Aesch shot himself, aged 67, after murdering five-year-old Ylenia Lenhard in Switzerland.

It happened two months after Madeleine was snatched from a Praia da Luz flat as parents Kate, 45, and Gerry, 44, dined out.

Brief references to Von Aesch following Scotland Yard's announcement of 04 July 2013
Twelve Brits among 38 suspects in Missing Madeleine investigation Daily Star

By Jerry Lawton
5th July 2013

- Extract -

Swiss Urs Hans Von Aesch, 67, who lived in Spain, had previously been named as one of many suspects, though not under the current Scotland Yard investigation.

He killed himself in woodland in Switzerland after he had abducted and killed five-year-old Ylenia Lenhard, just three months after Maddie went missing.

---------------------------

Madeleine McCann: No proof she is dead, say detectives Daily Mirror

By Tom Pettifor | 5 Jul 2013 08:23

- Extract -

Yard detectives have also flown to Switzerland to probe the movements of one of the country's most notorious child snatchers, Urs Hans von Aesch.

The 67-year-old killed himself after he kidnapped and murdered a five-year-old girl, Ylenia Lenhard, less than three months after Madeleine was abducted.

---------------------------

Madeleine McCann: British police denied access to vital DNA clues Daily Mirror

By Matthew Drake | 7 Jul 2013 00:01

- Extract -

Yard detectives have also flown to Switzerland to probe the movements of killer Urs Hans von Aesch, who committed suicide after abusing five-year-old Ylenia Lenhard shortly after Madeleine disappeared. She bore a striking resemblance to blonde Madeleine.

Von Aesche, who had been living in Spain, was initially ignored by police in the Algarve who were working on the false theory that Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry played a part in her disappearance.

British police investigate the possibility of a connection between the Ylenia and Madeleine cases, 07 July 2013
British police investigate the possibility of a connection between the Ylenia and Madeleine cases NZZ am Sonntag

Investigators from Scotland Yard in St. Gallen

Sunday, 7 July, 10:48 am

Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007 from a holiday resort in southern Portugal
Madeleine McCann disappeared in 2007 from a holiday resort in southern Portugal

Scotland Yard check a lead in Switzerland in the Madeleine McCann case. Was the man who killed Ylenia Lenhard, in eastern Switzerland, also responsible for the disappearance of the four-year British girl?

Francesco Benini

"Investigators from Scotland Yard were in St. Gallen last September, in order to learn about Urs Hans Von Aesch," says Hanspeter Krüsi, spokesman for the St. Gallen District Police. Urs Hans Von Aesch is the man who, on 31 July 2007, abducted five year-old Ylenia Lenhard in Appenzell and murdered her in a wooded area near Oberbüren in the district of St. Gallen. On the same day Von Aesch committed suicide by shooting himself in the head in a remote forest three kilometres from the scene of the crime.

Worldwide attention

British police are investigating the Madeleine McCann case. The girl from Rothley, in the central English county of Leicestershire, has been missing since 3 May 2007. Then four years old, she disappeared from accommodation in a holiday resort in the Algarve, while her parents ate at a restaurant in the grounds, with friends, at night. The case made ​​headlines around the world; the Portuguese police halted the investigation in 2008. They suspected the parents of being responsible for the disappearance of their daughter, but could not prove the thesis. Following the intervention of the British Prime Minister David Cameron, in 2011, Scotland Yard formed a special team to solve the Madeleine case. Now the authorities have given the first information about 'Operation Grange': A review of the Portuguese investigation has identified 38 people "of interest". The witnesses and suspects from several European countries are to be heard in the near future. Urs Hans Von Aesch cannot be questioned, but he was a "person of interest" for Scotland Yard. This follows from the fact that British investigators travelled to St. Gallen to obtain information about him. A spokesman for Scotland Yard, when questioned on whether the Swiss man is among the suspects, would make no comment.

The white van

Already in 2007, the St. Gallen District Police had spread information on the Ylenia case to the International Criminal Police Organization, Interpol. The information should have helped the Portuguese investigators in examining the question of whether Von Aesch could be responsible for the disappearance of little Madeleine. The presumption is that they apparently did not substantiate it.

In the days before 3 May 2007, in the holiday resort in the Algarve, a white van was seen. Von Aesch abducted Ylenia about three months later in a white Renault van. The 67-year-old Swiss man lived with his wife in Benimantell in the Spanish province of Alicante. He had stayed in the Algarve several times, reported newspapers in 2007, and some papers even alleged that Von Aesch had been in southern Portugal in early May, at the time of Madeleine's disappearance.

In Switzerland, in 2007, the police authorities reactivated a ​​special commission. This was to ascertain whether children who had been missing since the 1980s, or at that time had been found dead, could have been killed by Aesch. The Commission came to the conclusion that no connection could be made between Von Aesch and the fate of those children.

Similarly, it seems a long way from the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine. "Based on the previous findings that can be made between the cases of Ylenia Lenhard and Madeleine McCann there is no connection," says Hanspeter Krüsi of the St. Gallen District Police. The British authorities did not need to ask for legal assistance to gain access to the information of the eastern Swiss investigators. The Federal Office of Police referred them directly to the District Police Department; a European convention made ​​this possible.

Scotland Yard were in St. Gallen to investigate the Maddie case, 07 July 2013
Scotland Yard were in St. Gallen to investigate the Maddie case 24 hours (Swiss news site)

Updated 07.07.2013 11h21

The British police wanted to check if there was a link between the abduction and subsequent murder of the small child Ylenia in the district, in 2007, and the disappearance of Maddie in Portugal.

The small child Madeleine, age 4, disappeared in May 2007 from her parents apartment in the south of Portugal
Madeleine, age 4, disappeared in May 2007 from her parents apartment in the south of Portugal

Scotland Yard, who are undertaking a review of the Madeleine McCann case, have been conducting investigations in St. Gallen. The British police wanted to check if there was a link between the abduction and subsequent murder of the small child Ylenia in the district, in 2007, and the disappearance of Maddie in Portugal.

The St. Gallen police confirmed the information on Sunday, in "NZZ am Sonntag" [newspaper: "NZZ on Sunday"]. But their searches have ultimately produced nothing: no link could be established between the two cases, and this is what was communicated to the British, according to Hanspeter Krüsi, spokesman for the police.

Disappeared in July 2007

Ylenia, aged 5, was abducted from Appenzell in July 2007 before being killed in a forest near Oberbüren in the district of St. Gallen. The murderer, a Swiss pensioner living in Spain, committed suicide on the same day with a bullet in the head.

Meanwhile, the small child Madeleine, aged 4, had disappeared in May 2007 from an apartment in Praia da Luz in southern Portugal, where the McCann family were holidaying. Her parents are convinced she was abducted.

The Portuguese authorities closed the investigation in 2008. But in 2011 Scotland Yard resumed the search. British police announced last week that they were working on "serious new leads." Investigators are interested in 38 people living in several European countries.

Portuguese cops block new Brit probe for Madeleine McCann, 08 July 2013
Portuguese cops block new Brit probe for Madeleine McCann Daily Star

A NEW police hunt for Madeleine McCann has has been snubbed by the Portuguese.

By Jerry Lawton / Published 8th July 2013

The snub is one of three blows to the Scotland Yard inquiry to search for more evidence about the child's disappearance

The country's Attorney General has warned that UK detectives had no right to question, arrest or interview anyone there.

Joana Marques Vidal's spokesman said Brit police could only monitor the work of Portuguese officers acting on their behalf.

Pedro do Carmo, deputy national director of Portugal's detective unit, said its officers would assist the Brit inquiry but would only carry out their duties to the strict letter of the law.

The snub is one of three blows to the Scotland Yard inquiry.

It was also revealed the UK Government plans to stop co-operating with Europe's cross-border policing body Europol.

Thirdly, it was reported yesterday that Portuguese authorities had denied Brit police access to forensic evidence. It was gathered from the holiday apartment in Praia da Luz from where Madeleine disappeared in 2007.

Scotland Yard officers believe samples from clothing, windows, bed linen and furniture could still hold DNA traces.

But it was claimed Crown Prosecution Service lawyers are being forced to submit a formal request for the evidence which will delay the investigation.

Det Chief Insp Andy Redwood, leading the operation, said: "We, and the Portuguese authorities, remain committed to finding out what happened to Madeleine and everything we do is utterly focused on her best interests."

Yesterday a Swiss newspaper reported police in St Gallen had told Brit detectives they could find no link between paedophile killer Urs Hans von Aesch, 67, and Madeleine's disappearance.

Two months after Madeleine vanished he shot himself dead after he had abused and poisoned to death five-year-old Ylenia Lenhard.

With thanks to Nigel at McCann Files

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