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Original Source: EXPRESS: TUESDAY AUGUST 28 2007
Tuesday August 28,2007
By Martin Evans and Padraic Flanagan in Praia da Luz 

THE search for Madeleine McCann was dealt a devastating blow last night after it was revealed that DNA tests needed to unlock the case will not be ready for weeks.

Officers have been on standby, ready to arrest a
suspect as soon as the results are confirmed.

But the crucial evidence is still not ready. DNA samples were taken earlier this month from the bedroom where the four-year-old girl disappeared. The discovery of the samples led to what detectives described as a “decisive stage” in the investigation.

Senior officers were so confident of the find that they told
Kate and Gerry McCann to abandon plans to leave Por­tugal as a breakthrough was imminent.

But delays have frustrated any hope of solving the
117-day mystery. An expert at the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham, where the tests are being carried out, said they were taking longer than usual because of the nature of
the evidence.

The investigation may be lengthy, but it will be thorough and accurate.
Forensic Science Service expert

“A simple investigation to identify a DNA sample taken from a known individual takes 24 hours,” he said.

“The analysis of multiple samples obtained from several crime scenes where the individuals involved are unknown is much more complex and can take several weeks. The analysis in this case is ongoing, but Britain leads the way in forensic science and DNA analysis. The investigation may be lengthy, but it will be thorough and accurate.”

Portuguese police source said last night: “Our officers are excited by the evidence and believe it could help us reach a conclusion.

“These delays are very frustrating because the investigation was moving fast and now it has be­come slow. Hopefully, as soon as the results are back we can go.”

While detectives have been reluctant to reveal exactly what they discovered, it is believed that along with two tiny specks of
blood found in the McCanns’ apartment there were six other samples of key evidence.

The breakthrough was made when a team of
British detectives with highly trained sniffer dogs re-examined locations in Praia da Luz. Among these were the McCanns’ apartment at the Ocean Club and vehicles belonging to them, their friends and Robert Murat, the only official suspect in the case.

It is believed an area on the
coast was also closely examined.

The news comes amid claims that the lack of progress in the case and intense media pressure could be undermining the McCanns’ solid relationship. This is seen as one of the reasons they are contemplating a return to their £600,000 home in Rothley, Leicestershire.

Initially they said they would remain in
Praia da Luz
for as long as it took to solve the mystery. But now they have admitted it is time to think about going back.

The couple have recently had to endure bitter attacks in the Portuguese media.
Friends say the couple fear this could cause one of them to crack.

The McCanns, both 39, have had to face a variety of slurs, including one that they even killed Madeleine accidentally.

There has also been concern that Kate has not been taking an active role in the Find Madeleine publicity campaign.
While Gerry has kept a high-profile, Kate has tried to avoid publicity.

Last weekend Gerry was in Edinburgh to speak at the International Television Festi­val, while his wife stayed in Praia da Luz with their two-year-old twins,
Sean and Amelie.

In the past they have dismissed suggestions that their relationship has suffered since their daughter vanished, claim­ing that it has given them an even stronger bond. But those close to them fear that they have come under new pressure since police revealed they believe Madeleine died in the apartment.

A family friend said: “They’ve always had a rock-solid relationship but they have been really badly hurt by the mud-slinging.

“The police have said they are not suspects but the attitude towards them has altered.”

Meanwhile, it has emerged that the Find Madeleine campaign has been scaled down on advice from Downing Street.
At the weekend Gerry, an NHS cardiologist, admitted he had started to think about returning to work and said it was time to ease back on the campaign.

A source close to the family claimed they had spoken to
Gordon Brown on a number of occasions and had been advised that it was time to take a step back.

The source said: “Dealing with the media is obviously something Kate and Gerry are not used to so they have had to learn as they have gone along.

“They are happy to take advice from those with more experience in these matters.

“After all, the only thing that matters to them is finding their little girl.”


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