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Maddie's case might drag on for six months

Paula Martinheira in Diário de Notícias

In January eight months are completed in the investigation of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann the maximum period stated by the Code of Criminal Procedure. So this month is pointed by several lawyers and also by elements of the Judicial Police (PJ) as a "decisive" date . But the prosecutor (MP) can extend the term of the research.

The problem is to know by how many months the process can still continue, taking into account the fact that the Prosecutor does not know what kind of crime was committed.

The expert in criminal procedure and chairman of the district board of Évora's Union of Magistrates of Public Prosecutors (SMMP), Carlos Casimiro, explained to the DN "the outcome of this process depends exclusively on the definition of the type of crime that was committed against Madeleine McCann".
The problem says the magistrate is that, "the PJ maintains two thesis - one is the abduction and the other murder.The extension of the deadline for the investigation depends on the type of crime comitted." In this context,he explained, "even for each type of crime there are several deadlines for an elongation of the research, because there are various types of kidnapping and murder." "In the crime of kidnapping may happen, for example, a simple kidnapping of hours and for the crime of murder there is a wide typology. For each there are specific deadlines."

According to Carlos Casimiro, if the researchers conclude that Maddie was murdered, but if everything is still open on the perpetrators of the crime, the Public Prosecutor can, in January, ask for the extension of the period of the investigation for more three months. After this period, if the crime remains unclear, the Public Prosecutor has the possibility to request a second term,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, alternatively, "the delay of the research in a desperate attempt to seek evidence to be able to deduct the accusation" which in the perspective of that magistrate seems to be the most "predicable".

Carlos Casimiro said, "this is a highly internationally media event and 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, particularly by the British press and it's needed to preserve its reputation and its high professionalism."

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

The new information is now being examined by the detectives of Metodo 3, one by one. Because, according to what was found by the DN, that agency "does not throw away any information, it doesn't matter where it comes from."

Presently, the researchers focus their attention especially in Portugal and Morocco, in the city of Marrakech.

*Thank you Li for the translation

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