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Footballers Plead For Return Of Madeleine

Original Source: WEDNESDAY 09 MAY 2007
1:23pm UK, Wednesday May 09, 2007
Football stars Cristiano Ronaldo and John Terry have made appeals for the return of missing British toddler Madeleine McCann.
Maddie has been missing since Thursday

Cristiano Ronaldo

Manchester United and Portugal star Ronaldo said anyone with information about the three-year-old's disappearance should come forward.

Visit Sky News Online's special section for all the latest on the search for Maddie.

"I was very upset to hear of the abduction of Madeleine McCann," he told MUTV, the TV channel of Manchester United.

"I appeal to anyone with information to come forward.

"Please come forward."

Chelsea captain Terry, flanked by his Portuguese team-mate Paulo Ferreira, said Madeleine's family were going through a terrifying ordeal.

"We were devastated to hear that young Maddie was abducted," he said.

"Our thoughts and feelings go out to her parents, her family and we are urging anyone out there with any information at all, please, please, please come forward.

"It's terrifying thing for her family to go through. She's only young so please, please, please come forward."

Portuguese police say they have interviewed more 100 people, 500 apartments have been searched and 350 pieces of information are being looked at.

But a press conference descended into chaos as the man leading the inquiry accused the media of hampering the investigation.

Chief inspector Oligeario Sousa rounded on reporters as they asked for more information.

Portuguese law prevents police from releasing information about the case while they search for a suspect.

Mr Sousa said earlier reports that a man had been spotted with a child matching Madeleine's description in Nelas, in the north of the country, were false.

Local detectives have been criticised over the handling of the case since the three-year-old went missing from a holiday complex in Portugal last Thursday.

A senior child protection expert earliertold Sky News that British police must be drafted in urgently to help investigate the abduction.

Two child abduction experts have arrived in Portugal from the UK to help in the inquiry, Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt said.

British detectives are reported to be probing British paedophiles with links to the Algarve.

Former detective Mark Williams-Thomas, now a leading child protection expert, said the British police are among the world leaders in this kind of inquiry.

"The British police have gained a real insight and expertise into this kind of crime. They would handle it differently, " he said.

"Any inquiry should focus on three elements: access, opportunity and motive. It's about establishing how rather than why.

"A house-to-house search is the first thing to do, then a media appeal asking for information and sightings, giving a description and timeline."

Away from the centre of the resort, half-built or derelict buildings lie dotted around scrubland where sniffer dog teams have concentrated their searches.

"The fact that teams are now searching these areas for a second time suggests the police either have direct intelligence or it's to deflect criticism should anything turn up at a later stage."

Anyone with information can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111. If you are calling from Portugal call +44 800555 111.


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