Praia da Luz. Man they are trying to find was responsible for driving tourists to and from Faro airport. He resigned from the resort, worked at a bar and is supposedly unemployed now.
by José Manuel Oliveira
The Judiciary Police(PJ) was searching for, in Praia da Luz, near Lagos, the former minibus driver* of the Ocean Club tourist resort. It was from this location that Madeleine McCann, then aged 3, disappeared, from the bedroom where she was sleeping with her twin siblings, on the night of 3 of May of 2007 while their parents dined with friends at a restaurant approximately 50 meters away.
“Three individuals where here, a few days ago, who identified themselves as belonging to the Judiciary Police and they wanted to know where a man who worked at the Ocean Club at the time when Maddie disappeared resided. At the time, he used to transport tourists from Faro airport to the apartments of the resort in Praia da Luz, where tourists would be lodged. Then at the end of the holidays, he took the clients to the airport so they could return to their respective countries. It was habitual for him to be always using his mobile phone”, an inhabitant of Praia da Luz, working at an hotel unit told the DN.
The man, who is single and may be 40 years old now, worked subsequently at a bar in that area, he is considered as “humble and very polite”, sources guaranteed to DN. At the moment he is supposedly unemployed.
This renewed presence of members of the Judiciary Police in Praia da Luz came just days after four British investigators from the Scotland Yard were gathered, on Tuesday morning, in Faro, with the head of the PJ directorate of Faro, Mota Carmo, and with the coordinator of the Criminal Investigation Department (CID) of Portimão, Ana Paula Rito. As DN told at the time, on the table was a request for assistance to the Portuguese police aimed at carrying out several steps that were specified under the letters rogatory that were sent to the Attorney General's Office, which have arrived to the PJ two weeks ago.
The English police want the Portuguese authorities to question three individuals whom they consider that they may be involved in the disappearance of the English child. The lead being followed has as a goal the identification of those people, who have made several phone calls on the night that Madeleine McCann disappeared, precisely in the area adjacent to the Ocean Club, where the family was holidaying. The English investigators suspect that some of those three men may be involved in burglaries in that area of Praia da Luz.
“Case tends to be forgotten”
In Praia da Luz, located near Lagos, no one seems to believe that Madeleine McCann can be found. And the few inhabitants that, sometimes, still talk about the disappearance of English child in 2007, only do so when news appear in the media - like this week, with the presence of members of Scotland Yard in the Algarve to hold meetings with representatives of the Judiciary Police - or when they come across with journalists in that tourist area in the municipality of Lagos. “This case no longer stirs people and tends to be forgotten”, observed the president of the Parish Council of Luz, Victor Mata.
in Diário de Notícias (paper edition), February 3, 2014
*See official files: B. Silva - Ocean Club minibus driver statements to the PJ
J. Silva - Ocean Club minibus driver statements to the PJ
Broadcast by TVI, February 3, 2014
Marisa Rodrigues (Voice over) - The man was assigned as a driver, in order to assure the transport of tourists between Faro airport and the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, in May of 2007. He drove a minibus and spoke often on his mobile phone. Under the scope of the English investigation he was considered as a “person of interest”. The English detectives requested for the Judiciary Police to locate him, the PJ inspectors went to Praia da Luz to search for him. They understood that he no longer worked for the Ocean Club, that he is unemployed and nothing relevant was found.
The PJ work on the field, in Praia da Luz, took place several months ago and was one of the investigative steps in the first letter rogatory that arrived in Portugal during the last summer, it is part of the English process and has nothing to do with the PJ investigation under the purview of the Public Ministry of Portimão. It also has nothing to do with the regular meeting that once again brought, last Tuesday to Faro, four Scotland Yard detectives. Meeting which was held in order to clarify doubts relative to the first letter rogatory and to make a rundown of the judicial cooperation between the police authorities of the two countries.
As to the second letter rogatory, no investigative step has been requested to take place and nothing was scheduled yet, specially because the document that was submitted to the Attorney General's Office on the 23rd of January has not yet reached the hands of the Judiciary Police. Among the investigative steps requested in the second letter rogatory are the questionings of the three men who worked in the tourist resort at the time of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, that would have made a high number of phone calls to each other. Home searches were also requested as well as analyses of their bank accounts.
UK media reports:
Traveller site at Meia Praia investigated by police, according to reports
Detectives also believed to be looking into another site 30 miles away
Police have identified three burglars as prime suspects in disappearance
(...) According to The Sun, officers are now also understood to be investigating the area of Meia Praia along with another site 30 miles away.
A Briton who has a holiday home near where the McCann family stayed in Praia da Luz told the paper officers from Scotland Yard had asked him about Meia Praia.
He said: 'They wanted to know everything that I knew about the people living there.'
According to the paper, Meia Praia is a ramshackle camp notorious for violence and drug smuggling.
in Daily Mail (online), February 3, 2014