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Madeleine McCann: detectives signal new focus on Portuguese resort

HOMEPAGE NEWS REPORTS INDEX NEWS MAY 2009
INVESTIGATION PHOTOS INTERNATIONAL MISSING CHILDREN DAY CUTTING EDGE PHOTOS
Original Source: TELEGRAPH: SATURDAY 03 MAY 2009
By John Bingham
Last Updated: 4:38PM BST 03 May 2009
 
The focus of the search for Madeleine McCann has shifted back to the resort where she went missing two years ago after details of a second possible sighting of her with her abductor emerged

Arthur Cowley and Dave Edgar have reviewed 30,000 files released by the Portuguese authorities and think they uncovered vital new evidence Photo: (PA: Channel 4 Television)
 
Two retired British police detectives hired by Kate and Gerry McCann signalled that they would concentrate efforts on the close-knit community of Praia da Luz in Portugal, believing that the "answer" lies within nine miles of the town.

The renewed effort came as the McCann family marked the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance during a family holiday on the Algarve on May 3 2007.

The couple and their four-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie, spent the day privately while prayers were said at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic church in Rothley, Leics, which they attend regularly.

Dave Edgar, a retired Cheshire and RUC detective, and Arthur Cowley, who spent 30 years with police forces in the north west of England, are reviewing 30,000 files released by the Portuguese authorities after the investigation was shelved last year.

They have uncovered a statement from a family who said that they saw a man carrying a small blonde child near the McCanns' apartment on the night of May 3.

It corroborates the account of Jane Tanner, one of the couple's friends, who also said that she saw what she is now convinced was Madeleine being carried away by her abductor.

She gave a description to the Portuguese police at the time but they were initially reluctant to make it public because of judicial secrecy laws and only did so after the threat of legal action.

In the weeks after Madeleine's disappearance her parents travelled as far as Morocco in hope of information on what happened to her.

But the detectives now believe the answer is much closer to where she went missing.

Mr Edgar said: "There's someone local who has the answer to this, and not much wider than 10, 15km (six to nine miles) away from Praia da Luz.

"So you don't start an investigation in Morocco or Spain or France or even Lisbon.

"This offence happened in Praia de Luz. It's a very self-contained resort, and that's where we've started and that's where I think the answer is."

A televised reconstruction of the events of May 3 is to be screened in a Channel 4 Cutting Edge documentary on Thursday.

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