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Original Source: STAR: WEDNESDAY 19 SEPTEMBER 2007
19th September 2007
By Jerry Lawton


THE "tormented" priest who detectives think Kate McCann may have confessed to was missing last night.
Father Jose Pacheco, 46, has not been seen since it was revealed police plan to put pressure on him to break his Catholic vow of silence.

Worried members of his flock in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz said they have not seen him at his tiny hillside chapel for four days.

Father Pacheco gave the McCanns spiritual and emotional support in the days after their daughter vanished.
Detectives plan to question him in a bid to force him to reveal if staunch Catholic Kate, 39, confessed to him she had killed Madeleine.

Locals fear their priest may have fled to avoid the dilemma.
Before he disappeared Father Pacheco told a Portuguese newspaper: "I could never stop supporting a family who are living a tragedy."

Last night one regular worshipper said: "He has not been seen for days. It is very worrying. He has appeared troubled.
"He told us he'd talked to police informally but was expecting to be seen again.

"It seems he finds himself tormented - in a very difficult position. Susan Hubbard, wife of Father Pacheco's Anglican colleague Fr Haynes Hubbard, said: "We have not seen him for a few days. We don't know where he has gone."
Father Pacheco met the McCanns the day after Madeleine vanished on May 3.
GP Kate and her heart surgeon husband Gerry, both, 39, asked to see a priest that night as pals, fellow holidaymakers and resort staff launched a desperate hunt for the four-year-old.

But the meeting did not take place until the next day. The couple were so devastated Father Pacheco took
the unusual step of giving them the keys to the chapel so they could pray at any hour.

But since the finger of suspicion was pointed at the McCanns their relationship with the priest changed, according to locals.

They said he had appeared "anguished". A church source said: "He is a marvellous man who has devoted his life to God. But everything that has happened has shaken him."

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