British police will return to Portugal to question more people
The searches to find evidence that might lead to the whereabouts of Madeleine McCann ended on Wednesday without success in the area of Praia da Luz, Lagos. The English police are expected to return home as early as Thursday.
A Judiciary Police source said the searches requested by the English police had ended around 17.00pm. The source explained that the work was completed after over a week of searches in areas where Scotland Yard admitted that items or other evidence could be found that would help clarify the disappearance of the girl, seven years ago.
The operation, which included excavations, started on the 2nd of June, in the lookout of Praia da Luz. This Wednesday they focused their searches on the fields in the outskirts of Praia da Luz. According to the same source, the English detectives will return to Portugal, at a date not yet scheduled, to question eight people, who the English police believe they can help solve the case.
Seven years after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, Portuguese and British authorities have searched the grounds adjacent to the tourist resort where the McCann family was holidaying.
in Público with Lusa News agency press release, June 11, 2014
Operation Grange update
Operation Grange officers working alongside experts in their field from around the UK, the Policia Judicial and the Guarda Nacional Republicana today, Wednesday 11 June completed an eight day period of work searching specific areas of land in Praia da Luz.
At this time no evidence relating to Madeleine McCann has been identified. However it has given us an essential understanding of the activity on and people that have used this piece of land.
This was the first phase of this major investigation which has been agreed with the Portuguese following the four International Letters of Request submitted to date. More activity has been agreed and we expect that to commence shortly. In addition further requests are being compiled and will be submitted in due course.
The decision to search the “horse shoe” shaped piece of waste ground to the west of Praia da Luz and other sites was as a specific result of the UK’s investigation work to date.
The total area of land searched and surveyed was of approximately 60,000 sq metres and included all utilities, drainage channels and derelict buildings. 41 ground anomalies were identified initially by both aerial survey and ground analysis which were then investigated fully. These included three outside of the original area.
This deployment which was the largest ever undertaken by UK police overseas in a case of this type, highlighted the effective nature of the assistance given by the Portuguese authorities, for which the investigation team and family are very grateful.
The media’s understanding and co-operation following Assistant Commissioner Rowley’s pre deployment briefing has also been noted and appreciated.
There is still a substantial amount of work yet to be completed in the coming weeks and months, which again should be viewed as no more than normal operational activity in a case of this size and complexity. This recent work is part of ensuring that all lines of enquiry are progressed in a systematic manner and covers just the one hypothesis that she was killed and buried locally. This is the same as would be done in the UK for a murder or high risk missing person enquiry. The scientific support staff involved were there to provide the highest level of assurance that this area was searched to the highest possible standards.
in Metropolitan Police press statement, June 11, 2014 @ 17:50pm
«Clarence Mitchell, the McCann family spokesman, said last night: “In the light of what Scotland Yard has said, Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry continue to have full confidence in the operation.
“In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, they continue to believe that Madeleine is still alive and out there waiting to be found.”» in Daily Express, paper edition, 12 Jun 2014, Anil Dawar in Praia da Luz