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Maddie's case can drag on for six months

In January, the investigation of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann will reach the maximum period of eight months defined in the Penal Procedure Code. So this month is pointed by several lawyers and also by some elements of the Judicial Police (PJ) as a "decisive" date . But the Ministerio Publico (MP) can extend the period of the inquiry.

The problem is to know by how many months should the process continue, taking into account the fact that this body does not know what kind of crime has been committed.

The expert in penal procedure and also president of the Union of Magistrates of Public Prosecutors (SMMP) for the of the district of Évora, Carlos Casimiro, explained to the DN that "the outcome of this process depends exclusively on the definition of the type of crime that has been committed against Madeleine McCann".

The magistrate says that "the PJ is maintaining two theories - one is the abduction and the other is the homicide crime.The extension of the deadlines as defined for the investigation depends on the type of the crime". In this contest,he explained that "also for each type of crime, there are several deadlines for the extension of the inquiry, because there are also different types of abduction and homicide crime". "A crime of abduction might be, for example, a few hours kidnapping and for a homicide crime there is a wide typology. For each one there is a specific deadline".

According to Carlos Casimiro, if the detectives conclude that Maddie has effectively been murdered and if everything is still performed publicly relatively to the perpetrators of the crime, in January the MP can request the extension of the period of the investigation for more three months. At the end of this period, if the the same incertitude is maintained, the MP has the possibility to request a second delay which can only be for more three months. After that, there are only two possibilities: the closing of the investigation for lack of evidence or as the magistrate thinks to be more "foreseeable" that there will be a "delay of the inquiry in the desperate attempt to seek evidence to sustain an accusation".

Carlos Casimiro said, "we are in presence of a highly internationally mediatic case and it is the image of the country that is at stake". Moreover, he stressed, "the Judicial Police has been, since the beginning of this process, perfectly slandered, essentially by the British press and this is why its reputation and its high professionalism should be preserved".

After the disclosure on the 23rd of the video made by the McCanns during the first Christmas since the child disappeared showing images of the girl excited and opening the presents of last year, the agency of Spanish private eyes, Método 3, which works for the couple in the investigation of her disappearance, has already received 347 calls with alleged information about her whereabouts.

The new information is now being examined by the detectives of Método 3, one by one. And according to the DN, that agency "does not throw away any information whatever it it comes from."

Presently, the detectives focus their attention especially in Portugal and Morocco, in the city of Marrakesh.

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