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Toddler missing in Algarve

Original Source: Sun: 04 May 2007
Published: 04 May 2007
A THREE-YEAR-OLD British girl has gone missing while on holiday in the Algarve, Portugal.

Portuguese police are investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann who went missing last night in the seaside village of Praia da Luz in south-west Portugal where the girl was staying.

The parents of the three-year-old were “distraught” when they discovered she had disappeared from their rented apartment while they dined nearby.

Sniffer dogs were brought in by detectives today to comb the area.

A Foreign Office spokesman said that he understood the girl’s parents had gone to have dinner once their children were asleep last night, but returned to check on them only to find the girl had gone missing.

He said: “They reported it straight away,” adding that consular assistance was being offered.

And a family friend was reported to have said the parents were certain that the girl had been abducted - but this was unconfirmed.

She said: “They were just watching the hotel room and going back every half-hour and the shutters had been broken open and they had gone into the room and taken Madeleine.

“They went out about eight, went back in at nine, they were fine, went back in at 10 and she was gone.”

She added: “This is the first time they have done this. They are very, very anxious parents and very careful and they chose Mark Warner because it is a family-friendly resort.”

She said the couple, from Leicester, also had twins.

Today the manager at the Mark Warner resort, John Hill, confirmed the missing girl as Madeleine McCann and her parents as Gerry and Katie.

He said around 60 staff and guests at the purpose-built complex had searched until 4.30am while police notified border police, Spanish police and airports.

“It was a very emotional and very frantic night and everyone did a fantastic job of getting involved and trying to search the area,” he said.

“As you can imagine, Madeleine’s parents are distraught and not doing very well at all.”

He said there was no physical evidence that the girl had been abducted from the family’s rented apartment while they ate at the tapas restaurant 200 yards away.

“It’s still questionable as to whether it’s an abduction,” he said.

“We are hoping that Madeleine is found as soon as possible and safe and well.

"Everybody here is just wishing that she is found as soon as possible."


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