TO SEARCH SHRINE
in Portugal believe
McCann may be buried at one of the holiest sites of the
Officers were last night
planning to launch a search
at Fatima in central Portugal.
Devout Kate and Gerry
McCann made a pilgrimage there three weeks after their
daughter vanished from their holiday apartment in the
Algarve resort of Praia da Luz.
Just four days later they
rented a car which police
believe the couple used to return to the shrine
and dispose of Madeleine’s body.
in Fatima is said to be one of a series to be carried out
over the next few days. It comes as it was claimed yesterday
that Kate could be charged with her daughter’s murder.
In just five weeks the
McCanns clocked up 1,709 miles in the car and police
want to question them about every journey they made. The
couple claim they ran up the mileage making
frequent return trips from
the resort to Faro Airport 55 miles away.
They were picking up and
dropping off family and friends who stayed with them as they
mounted their campaign to find Madeleine,
who vanished on May 3.
But a police
source told the Daily Express yesterday that officers were
not satisfied with the explanation the McCanns gave them.
They now believe the
couple made the 500-mile return trip to Fatima to dispose of
their daughter’s body.
It is one of the few
places in Portugal outside the Algarve that the McCanns are
known to have visited in the days after Madeleine
Officers want to examine a
pasture called the Cova da Iria near the village of
Aljustrel a mile from Fatima – where the Virgin Mary is said
to have appeared to three children in 1917.
died as a result of an accident and her body
was hidden before being moved in the McCanns’ hire car.
They are convinced Gerry
and Kate McCann’s devotion to their faith played a key role
in how they supposedly disposed of the body.
The McCanns’ visit to
Fatima on May 23 was the first of a series of organised
trips to raise awareness for their campaign to find their
By the time they signed a
rental agreement on a Renault with Budget Rentacar at Faro
Airport on May 27, Fatima was one of the few places in
Portugal they had been to. Detectives are said to be “very
concerned” about the high mileage of the hire car and
believe the couple may have travelled a long distance to
dispose of Madeleine’s body.
A source close to the
investigation said: “We are looking for a final resting
place for the little girl.
“We now believe the
movements of the car in the days after it was hired are the
key to solving the mystery.
“Everywhere they have been
will be thoroughly examined. They did not know Portugal
well. The only familiar places will be the ones they
“They have said the only
places they drove to were around the resort and to and from
the airport but that does not account for the mileage they
did in the car.”
fluids with an 88 per cent DNA match to Madeleine
were found in the spare tyre well under the carpet in the
boot of the Renault along with clumps of the youngster’s
interviews the McCanns were shown a video of a sniffer dog
“going crazy’’ when it approached their hire car.
had previously been working on the theory that Madeleine’s
was dumped in the sea near the beach in Praia da Luz.
The British dogs brought
in by South Yorkshire Police
allegedly detected a trail of death from the family’s Ocean
Club apartment down to the sea front.
Experts in tidal movements
were called in to try to establish scientifically where a
may have been washed up. Another theory was that Madeleine’s
was placed in a sack and weighed down with rocks.