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POLICE SEARCH LAKE FOR BODY

HOMEPAGE NEWS REPORTS INDEX SEARCHING PHOTOS NEWS OCTOBER 2007
Original Source: EXPRESS: 01 - 02 - 03 - 04 - WEDNESDAY 15 OCTOBER 2007
By David Pilditch and Martin Evans in Praia Da Luz
With thanks to Margaret for copying text from Screenshots
 

Barragem de Bravua reservoir lake

 

Daily Express: Wednesday 15th October 2007

By David Pilditch and Martin Evans in Praia Da Luz

Police divers were last night preparing to trawl a reservoir in the hunt for Madeleine McCann.

Detectives believe her body may have been weighed down with rocks and dumped in the Barragem de Bravua lake nine miles from Praia De Luz.

The search is one of a series to be carried out in the next few days, a Portuguese newspaper claimed yesterday.

The operations will centre on an area within a 10-mile radius of the Ocean Club apartment from where Madeleine disappeared on May 3, aged three.

Under the orders of Paulo Rebelo, who now heads the investigation, search teams will also comb a three-mile stretch of beaches and rugged coastline between Praia da Luz and Burgau.

And mobile phone trackers will be bought in to pinpoint the movements of Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry, and their friends in the days after she vanished.

They will concentrate on the places visited by the McCanns after the couple hired a silver Renault Scenic in which Madeleine's DNA was allegedly found.  The technicians use satellite technology to trace the exact location of every call, down to a few feet.

The results of vital DNA tests carried out in Britain will finally be handed to investigators today, it was claimed yesterday.

Experts at the Forensic Science Service laboratory in Britain have spent more than two months analysing evidence collected by detectives in the Algarve.

Police there believe the DNA findings will provide them with enough evidence to bring charges against the McCanns.

It has been alleged that they believe Kate accidentally killed Madeleine 165 days ago with an overdose of sedatives administered to help her sleep then later dispose of her body.

Today a forensic expert is expected to reveal that a bloody footprint was discovered in the McCanns apartment, outside Madeleines bedroom, matching a mark on their hire car.

But tests have proved inconclusive, indicating that the blood was only a "moderate" match for Madeleine's.

The print was believed to be from an adults size five or six shoe, and matched a mark on the rear bumper of the Renault hired by the couple 25 days after their daughter's disappearance.

Portuguese police believe the mark on the vehicle, which had no trace of blood on it, could be consistent with someone loading something heavy into the boot.

Friends of the McCanns said the footprint claim "sounds like an Agatha Christie novel".

A source close to the investigation said the blood in the footprint was only a few specs, and added: "It cannot be said the blood belongs to Madeleine.  This latest evidence is flimsy and doesn't take the inquiry any further forward".

The McCanns official spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "We cannot comment on yet another unsubstantiated report and certainly would not comment on anything that goes to the heart of the inquiry".

Mr.Rebelo, who is Portugal's second most senior policeman, has bought in 10 officers who are effectively starting the inquiry from scratch.  He is reviewing every aspect of the investigation.

All the weekend his team began examining files containing more than 4,000 pages of evidence.

Yesterday it was reported that all lines of inquiry would be re-opened, including the possibility that Madeleine was snatched from the family's apartment.  But police sources have revealed Mr.Rebelo will continue to treat Madeleines parents as the chief suspects.

The reservoir at the centre of the latest search, reported in the Diario de Noticias newspaper yesterday, is in scrubland close to the town of Odiaxere - where a hunt for Madeleine was carreid out in June.

The search followed a tip-off to a Dutch newspaper that her body was hidden in undergrowth and buried under a pile of rocks.  Police found nothing.

In the days after Madeleine disappeared a team of 60 officers from the Civil Guard and sniffer dogs also searched the area near the reservoir.  They were joined by firemen and volunteers but no underwater team was deployed.

Last night friends of part-time GP Kate zand consultant cardiologist Gerry, both 39, said the couple welcomed new searches and were encouraged by any efforts to find their missing daughter.

The couple, now home in Rothley, Leics with their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie, categorically deny being involved in Madeleine's disappearance and insist they will continue to believe she is alive until they are shown evidence to the contrary.

A family friend said: "Any widening of the search area is encouraging and we would welcome that".

On police searching areas where the McCanns and their friends used their mobile phones, the friend said: "That implies they believe the phone calls are covering up something guilty.

"All l can say is that the police don't need to focus on the friends or family because they have nothing to do with this.

"Having said that, anything that helps to eliminate Kate and Gerry from the inquiry is good".

The couple have been bouyed by the appointment of new chief investigator Mr.Rebelo, 45.

Yesterday it was reported his team includes two murder experts and a specialist in investigating cases of sexual abuse.

It was reported searches will take in a cemetery byt he church in Praia da Luz where the couple often prayed alone after they were given their own keys to the building.

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