by Alfredo Teixeira
The Judiciary Police (PJ) reopened the investigation concerning the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and they warrant that this time the parents of the girl who disappeared in Praia da Luz, Algarve, days before her fourth birthday, on May 3, 2007, are not suspects. To the DN the Portuguese police disclosed that there are “new evidence” about what has happened to the child while she slept together with her two twin siblings, in the apartment at the tourist resort. They do not disclose the existence of suspects and only reveal that internally, in the coming days, a team will be created to resume the investigation.
When, last week, on the 17th, the PJ hierarchy met with the Scotland Yard assistant commissioner Mark Rowley and DCI Andy Redwood, who heads the approximately 37 agents working in the British investigation, the decision to request the reopening of the investigation to the Public Ministry (MP) was communicated.
The Portuguese police denies any pressure from the English, stressing that they did not cooperate directly with the Scotland Yard investigation. However, information gathered by the English police, mainly related to the past of some people that were referenced in the case files, would have complemented the analysis by the investigation team in Portugal.
“There were elements gathered that have to do with events before the disappearance of the child and others after. Relating them with those contained in the process already archived have raised a more than reasonable doubt about what happened to the child,” said a source close to the investigation to the DN, adding that a in meeting with Gerry and Kate McCann, and the lawyers of the couple, the PJ asked “absolute silence” about the investigation.
At the headquarters of the London Metropolitan Police who have been working on the case for over a year [sic, for over two years], Scotland Yard said to have found new relevant information, based on the forty thousand documents and clues collected by the police forces from Portugal, UK and eight different companies of private detective and just a few days ago they showed e-fits of a suspect.
A source of the PJ that hasn't, however, worked for this process, does not set aside the divulgation of images of the same kind if appropriate. It acknowledges, however, the important of the work done by the Regional Section of Criminal Investigation and Prevention of the PJ from Porto, led by the coordinator Helena Monteiro. Notwithstanding the formal archival of the investigation, that team was on the field since March last year, searching for leads to follow and in order to fill any eventual gaps in the initial investigations.
That reanalysis task has “helped identify new evidence, which by imposing further investigation, meet the requirements set by article 279º no 1 of the Code of Criminal Procedure for the reopening of the investigation.” said the PJ in a statement. “Similarly to what happens in all the cases of missing children, notwithstanding the formal archival of the investigation concerning her disappearance, and as was always publicly stated, the Judiciary Police continued to be attentive to any and all information likely to enable the understanding of the whereabouts of the minor Madeleine McCann, the circumstances in which her disappearance occurred and the identity of its author(s),” the PJ clarified.
Also yesterday, a note from the Attorney General's Office (PGR) said that the Public Ministry (MP) decided to reopen the investigation. It was on July 21, 2008 that the PGR announced the archival of the process concerning the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and removed the status of arguidos from the parents of the English minor and Robert Murat, with the proviso that they could reopen the process at any time if “new elements of evidence” surfaced, evidence which they now claim to exist as the result of the identification of witnesses who were never heard.
Experience in missing people cases
With the investigation archived since July 2008, it was the National Direction of the PJ who, in March 2011 [sic, 2012], assigned to a team of investigators from the North Directorship the task to re-analyse the whole wide range of information in the process, with the objective of identifying information whose further understanding could be revealed useful and possible. Leading the group of four inspectors was the coordinator Helena Monteiro, with experience in missing people cases, namely the young lady from Lamego, Carina Ferreira, whose body was found after a month of searches at the bottom of a ravine near a motorway. Helena Monteiro has worked, among other areas of investigation, in the fight against violent criminality.
Diário de Notícias, October 25, 2013, paper edition
Oporto PJ goes through Madeleine McCann case with a fine toothed comb March 2012
Loose ends of the case only cleared up with the process reopened March 2012
Virtual reconstitution tests witnesses’ version March 2012
Maddie Case: Vanishing Revisited March 2012