The McCanns release their second media statement on the evening of 05 May 2007
The McCann’s second media statement, 05 May 2007
The McCann’s second media statement, read by Gerry McCann BBC News video ‘Moments before making his statement, Dr McCann appeared first alone before returning to the family’s temporary holiday apartment and re-emerging arm in arm with his wife.’ – The Irish Times, 06 May 2007.
Saturday 05 May 2007
Transcript by Nigel Moore
Gerry McCann: “We would like to make another short statement related to Madeleine’s disappearance.
“First of all we would like to thank everyone here in Portugal, the UK and elsewhere for all your support during this extremingly… extremely difficult time for our family.
“We are pleased that the family liaison officers from Leicestershire are now working closely with the Portuguese Police, and in keeping us informed. We have no further information regarding the investigation but appreciate the significant efforts everyone is making on our behalf.
“We would again like to appeal for any information, however small, that may lead to the safe return of Madeleine.
“Finally we would like to thank the media for respecting our privacy especially that of Madeleine’s little brother and sister.”
Videos and reports from earlier in the day…
Police search/McCanns walking with the twins, 05 May 2007
Police Search For Missing British Girl
The parents of a three-year-old feared abducted in Portugal have made an appeal for her safe return. It’s thought that Madeleine McCann may have been snatched from her hotel room at a resort on the Algarve. Sky’s Ian Woods reports.
By Nigel Moore
Ian Woods (voice over): The apartment block remains sealed off; Gerry and Kate McCann and their two younger children have been moved to another part of the resort.
Police dogs were brought in late yesterday and have again been trying to pick up a trail.
Last night the family emerged to make a brief appeal for help from the public. Mrs McCann clutched a child’s toy while her husband spoke.
Gerry McCann: Words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling as the parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine.
We reqret… request that anyone who may have any information related to Madeleine’s disappearance, no matter how trivial, contact the Portuguese police and help us get her back safely.
Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister.
Ian Woods (voice over): The decision to leave the children alone while they ate at a nearby restaurant must haunt them but they felt they were doing everything a parent should.
The door of the apartment can be seen from the place where they were eating. They returned regularly to check the children were still asleep.
But on the opposite side of the apartment is a shuttered window. When Kate McCann returned on one of her regular checks it had been slid open and Madeleine was gone.
She celebrates her fourth birthday later this week. Her parents are now desperately hoping she’ll be home well before that.
Trish Cameron: She’s a… a lovely wee girl; a normal, healthy wee child; full of life; she’s just learnt to swim without her water wings; she’s started her first tennis lessons; she’s a wee dancer; she likes everything; she loves her wee brother and her wee sister and she kills them with kindness – kissing them and helping them out and doing things.
Ian Woods (voice over): Locals and holidaymakers have joined the police in searching the area. Maps and photos of the missing girl have been handied out.
The Algarve is hugely popular with British tourists. Crime is low so the police here have limited resources but many people have volunteered to help.
(to camera): The police are checking out one possible sighting about eight hours after Madeleine disappeared. Just before dawn a motorist said that his car headlights picked out a couple on the road; they had a child with them and, according to him, it looked as if they were trying to avoid being seen.
(voice over): Madeleine’s grandparents have also flown in from England to lend support and defended the decision to leave the children alone in the apartment. Her grandmother said Gerry and Kate were good parents who had been watching the apartment from their table in the restaurant.
The family have been critical of the efforts of the Portuguese authorities but the British Ambassador here says everything possible has been done.
John Buck: I have been in touch with the National Chief of Police during the course of the day and also with the Chief of Police here in the Algarve and they have assured me that everything possible is being done. There is an intensive and extensive, errr… search and investigation underway and that will continue during the night.
Ian Woods (voice over): At the moment this is still a missing person inquiry, rather than an abduction, but it now seems highly unlikely that the little girl wandered out of the apartment alone.
Ian Woods, Sky News, Praia da Luz in the Portuguese Algarve.
Devastated Family: Pictures From Portugal
The family of missing 3 year old Madeleine McCann have been seen with their two other children walking around their resort in Portugal. See the latest pictures here.
By Nigel Moore
[This is essentially a silent piece of video following the McCanns as they emerge from the Ocean Club reception area, with the twins, and head back to their apartment. However, it is possible to make out a few snippets.]
Gerry McCann (to Sean): Hold my hand? (Sean pulls his hand away) Oh, big boy, you’re walking on your own?
[The group, which includes Fiona Payne and her elder child, walk up the alleyway between the Ocean Club complex and the apartment, towards the McCanns’ apartment]
Gerry McCann (to Amelie): Cuddle? Alright.
Gerry McCann (to Sean): Come on, Sean. You walking? You hungry? We’re going to have some lunch.
[It is interesting to note that throughout this clip Kate McCann shows no apparent interest in Cuddle Cat – which is swung from one leg, in carefree fashion, by Amelie – yet appeared inseperable from the soft toy when making appeals to camera.]
The disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the English three-year-old child that was on holidays inLagos, “is a very badly told story”, a source from the Polícia Judiciária in Portimão has confided to DN. The statement reflects the authorities’ doubts concerning the “confused” depositions that were given by the witnesses yesterday, throughout the day.
After one day of searches, the authorities have widened their action into Spain. Despite the contradictions in this case, the scenario of the child’s abduction is gaining strength. The little girl went missing on Thursday night, from the room where she was sleeping with her twin siblings that are one year younger than her, at the Ocean Club tourist resort, in Praia da Luz.
At this edition’s closing time, the searches were ongoing, carried out by approximately fifty elements of the GNR, aided by sniffer dogs that are specialised in the detection and rescue of humans, which were offered the pink blanket that covered the little girl in the bed where she was sleeping. Since 4 p.m., the means had been reinforced by a helicopter from the National Civil Protection Service, the firemen from Lagos and divers from the Maritime Police.
The PJ is considering the possibility of abduction, and the heads of the Directory of Faro and of the Criminal Investigation Department of Portimão are taking part in the investigations. Consternation is the feeling that is generalised among the English community and the Portuguese population that reside in Luz, which have been trying to help the authorities, out of their own initiative, in an attempt to trace the little girl’s whereabouts. The operation included houses, yards, swimming pools, apartments, open fields and the beach (which is located approximately 300 metres from the resort), not only in Luz, but also in the neighbouring areas of Burgau and Lagos.
The disappearance of little Madeleine, who is to become four years old next week, has reportedly taken place between 9 and 10 p.m. on Thursday. Her parents, Gerard and Katie McCann, him a cardiologist and her an expert in internal medicine, both approximately 35 years old, residing in Leicester, in England, left the three children sleeping alone in the apartment while they dined at the “Tapas” restaurant, which belongs to the resort. According to what they told the GNR, every half hour one of them went to check the room in order to assure that all was well.
It was during one of those visits that they noticed the little girl was missing. They started out by searching for her within the resort, having asked for support from the group of friends that had travelled with them, and from the employees at the resort. At 11.50 p.m., the couple alerted the GNR in Lagos, which arrived on location 20 minutes later, having immediately launched the investigation, at the same time as the PSP, the PJ, the Foreigners and Borders Service, and Faro Airport were alerted.
The parents, who were taken to the PJ in Portimão at around mid-morning, refused to speak to the journalists, but advanced the idea that the apartment had been broken into, to the British media. Nevertheless, the resort’s administration and the GNR assert that “there were no signs of a break-in whatsoever”.
Diário de Notícias: “This is a very badly told story”, 05 May 2007
Parents’ anguish as toddler is ‘abducted’ at night from holiday resort in Portugal, 05 May 2007
Parents’ anguish as toddler is ‘abducted’ at night from holiday resort in Portugal Independent
By Ian Herbert
Saturday, 5 May 2007
A search was under way last night for a British toddler who is feared abducted after disappearing from an apartment at a holiday resort in south-west Portugal while her parents dined 200 yards away. Madeleine McCann, who will be four next week, went missing from the Mark Warner Ocean Summer Club complex in Praia da Luz on Thursday night,prompting a hunt involving dozens of holidaymakers.
Her parents, Gerald and Kate McCann, who left for a nearby tapas restaurant at 8pm, had looked in every half hour on their daughter and her two-year-old twin brother and sister, Sean and Amelie, who at 9.30pm were all asleep Madeleine in a single bed and the twins in cots on either side. But when Ms McCann, a GP, checked at 9.45pm, Madeleine known to her family as “Maddy” had gone.
Mr McCann, a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester, told his sister, Trish Cameron, that his wife had found the front door to their ground-floor apartment open and that the louvred shutters had been “jemmied” open. “[Gerry rang last night and told me] ‘Madeleine’s been abducted, she’s been abducted’,” Ms Cameron said. “Nothing had been touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports. They think someone must have come in the window and gone out the door with her.”
Although forensic officers fingerprinted the window sill of the ground floor apartmentand sealed off its private patio, a spokesman for Mark Warner said there had been no evidence of a forced entry. However, the shutters had been slid up and the bedroom window opened after the McCanns had left.
John Hill, the resort manager, said all apartments in the five-storey complex had “quite sophisticated shutters”.
Madeleine, an energetic three-year-old who enjoys swimming and tennis lessons and is due to start school in September, was wearing white pyjamas when she disappeared.
“The fear is she has been abducted,” a police source said. ” There has been absolutely no sign of her.”
The child’s distraught parents spent yesterday at police headquarters in nearby Faro. They issued a statement saying they believed Madeleine was alive. “This is a particularly difficult time for the family and we are all comforting each other.
“We have received lots of support from friends, family and the public and the family are very grateful for that support. At this time all the family’s focus is in assisting the UK and, in particular, the Portuguese authorities in securing Madeleine’s safe return.”
Mrs McCann and her Scottish husband, who are both 38, live in Rothley, Leicestershire, and are said to be protective of their children. The holiday to Portugal, with a group of eight couples from Leicester’s medical fraternity, was the first of its kind they had taken. All the couples in the McCanns’ group took children, and Madeleine was the eldest.
News of Madeleine’s disappearance quickly spread across Praia da Luz on Thursday night and about 70 holidaymakers abandoned their evening plans to scour the beaches, swimming pools and empty buildings for her and take vehicles in roads leading into the surrounding hills.
The McCanns scoured the lanes above the resort, shouting for her in the dark. Police notified border police, Spanish police and airports and deployed sniffer dogs. But with each hour that passes, hopes that Madeleine merely wandered off are fading.
There were conflicting reports yesterday of how effective the Portuguese police operation has been. A family friend, Jill Renwick, told GMTV that police activity ground to a halt at 3am. But Mr Hill said this was not true, and that police had been searching with dogs overnight and continued to search today.
He said: “The police have their dogs in and have been conducting sweeps of the beach and rocky areas very close to the village. There is a criminal investigator here in charge of the situation and about 20 officers.”
The McCanns were due to return to Britain with their children today to prepare for Madeleine’s fourth birthday. Instead, her maternal grandparents,Brian and Susan Healy, left Liverpool to join them in Portugal and offer support.
Tapas for two … then parents’ nightmare began, 05 May 2007
Tapas for two … then parents’ nightmare began Guardian
Police hunt three-year-old believed abducted from holiday apartment
Sandra Laville, Martin Wainwright, Dale Fuchs in Faro
The Guardian, Saturday May 5, 2007
The telephone rang at around 11pm at Trish Cameron’s home near Glasgow. She picked it up to hear the voice of her younger brother. “He was distraught, breaking his heart,” Mrs Cameron said. “He said: ‘Madeleine’s been abducted, she’s been abducted.'”
Hundreds of miles away in Portugal’s western Algarve Gerald McCann, whose job as a heart surgeon demands a calm, steady nerve, had lost any semblance of control and was crying down the telephone to his older sister. Just an hour earlier he and his wife Kate had returned to their ground floor apartment in the Ocean Club holiday resort to find that three-year-old Madeleine, the little girl they had left asleep in her white pyjamas, had disappeared.
Their two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie, lay undisturbed in their cots beside the bed, making the absence of the child they call Maddy all the more haunting. Nothing appeared to have been stolen from the room, but the shutters seemed to have been forced, the window was open and the main door unlocked, according to the family.
It was Mrs McCann who walked in first. Minutes later she ran out screaming, according to her sister in law. In the confusion and melee that followed, the police were called and other holidaymakers woken to carry out a search for the three-year-old, amid hopes that she was merely sleepwalking.
But by the time Mr McCann picked up the phone to his sister in Dumbarton the thread of hope that Maddy had simply climbed out of the window and wandered off had been eclipsed by the growing certainty that she had been snatched while he and his wife ate tapas just 100 yards away within the holiday complex.
The luxury resort in Praia de la Luz, where Moorish-style villas sit amid sub-tropical gardens overlooking a beach of white sand, was transformed into a crime scene yesterday.
Portuguese police used a sniffer dog to check around the complex. The five storey block where the McCanns were staying was sealed off and forensic experts were dusting the shutters and windows of their two bedroomed apartment for fingerprints. Those holidaymakers who were not taking part in the continuing search for any sign of the child were handing out photographs of her in the hope that someone either within the resort or outside in the small village of Praia de la Luz would have spotted her.
“She is an absolutely beautiful wee blonde girl with blue green eyes,” said Mrs Cameron. “Her one distinguishing features is that one of her pupils runs down into the iris of her eye, her right eye.”
The Foreign Office said a liaison officer from the Serious and Organised Crime Unit was in touch with the Portuguese chief of police. Two officials from the British Consulate in nearby Portimao were with the family to help them as they dealt with the police, a spokesman said.
The couple were being interviewed yesterday afternoon by Portuguese detectives, who took them through their movements on Thursday night in detail.
Mrs McCann, a GP in Leicester and her husband, who works in the world renowned cardiac unit of Glenfield Hospital, in the city, flew out to the Algarve with eight friends last Saturday for the week-long break.
Maddy, their eldest child, was going to be four next week and was due to start school in September. Family friend Jill Renwick said it was the first time they had been away somewhere with the children and that they had chosen the resort with care. “This is the first time they have done this. They are very, very anxious parents and very careful and they chose [the resort] because it is family-friendly,” she said.
Throughout the week the family enjoyed the facilities in the resort, which boasts four swimming pools, the beach and childcare from 7.30pm to 11.30pm for those parents who want it.
On Thursday night the McCanns went out after 8pm, having put their three children into their pyjamas and seen them fall asleep in their bedroom in the apartment. “They weren’t out for long, and they could see the apartment from the restaurant” said Brian Healy, Madeleine’s maternal grandfather.
Mrs Cameron said the couple checked on the children every half hour; the last check was made after 9pm by Mr McCann. Some time between then and around 10pm when his wife walked into the room to find Madeleine missing, the family believes an intruder broke in and snatched the girl.
Mrs Cameron said: “Nothing had been touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports. They think someone must have come in the window and gone out the door with her.”
Paul Moyes, 47, from Cheshire and his wife Susan, who own a holiday apartment in the same block as the McCanns, said they were woken at 11.30pm by a knock on the door and asked to join in a search for a missing girl.
“We went down to the beach with scores of other people to look for her,” said Mr Moyes. “The police arrived at around midnight and by that stage we were already out looking. There were uniformed police, plain clothes and even off duty local officers who joined in.
“The search went on all night, people were using torches, and in the morning police sniffer dogs arrived.”
By 4.30am exhausted holidaymakers began drifting away, having found no sign of Madeleine. Back home in Dumbarton, Mrs Cameron spoke to her brother again at 10am yesterday.
“It was frustrating for him then because between 5am and 7am the police seemed to do nothing, they were standing about,” she said.
But the manager of the resort, John Hill, said everything was being done to try to trace Madeleine. “It was a very emotional and very frantic night and everyone did a fantastic job of getting involved and trying to search the area,” he said.
Throughout yesterday the search continued for Madeleine. Mrs McCann’s parents, Brian and Sandra, flew out in the afternoon from Liverpool to join their daughter and son-in-law, who met as young doctors in Glasgow and married nine years ago in Liverpool. Mrs Cameron also packed a bag to fly out to help her younger brother.
At the McCanns’ family home in the village of Rothley, Leicestershire, neighbours and friends were praying that Madeleine would be found alive and well. “We are absolutely devastated,” said Penny Noble. “They are a really nice family and good neighbours. They are delightful. We see them take their bikes up and down and going for walks. Madeleine is a very happy-go-lucky little girl”.
Another neighbour, Tracey Horsefield, said that the family “idolised” Maddy and the twins. She said: “They were really protective of the children. I’m just praying that she’s not been abducted. Let’s hope that for some reason she just wandered off.”
At the cardiac unit in Glenfield Hospital, staff were at work yesterday with one eye on the phone – hoping to receive the call which would tell them their colleague’s child had been found safe and well.
Doug Skehan, a consultant cardiologist who works with Mr McCann, said: “The mood in the hospital is one of great concern and we hope that Kate and Gerry will have their daughter back very soon.”
Grandfather: evidence that three-year old was snatched, 05 May 2007
Grandfather: evidence that three-year old was snatched Guardian
Sandra Laville and Dale Fuchs in Faro
The Guardian, Saturday May 5 2007
The grandfather of a three-year-old snatched from her parents’ holiday apartment in the Algarve said yesterday that there was clear evidence she had been abducted.
Police helicopters flew over Praia de la Luz yesterday as the hunt intensified for Madeleine McCann, who went missing from her bedroom in the apartment on Thursday night.
Teams of officers used sniffer dogs to scour the resort, in the south-west of Portugal, where Gerald McCann, a cardiac surgeon, and his wife Kate, had taken their three young children – Madeleine and her younger brother and sister, who are twins – for a week-long holiday.
Mark Warner, the holiday firm which runs the luxury resort, claimed last night there was no sign of a break in at the ground floor apartment overlooking the sea. But Brian Healy, Madeleine’s maternal grandfather, told the Guardian his son-in-law had phoned him shortly after returning to the apartment from a nearby restaurant to find Madeleine had disappeared.
“Gerry told me when they went back the shutters to the room were broken, they were jemmied up and she was gone,” said Mr Healy. “She’d been taken from the chalet. The door was open.”
Mr Healy flew to Portugal yesterday to lend support to his daughter Kate, 39, who is a Leicester GP, and son-in-law Gerry, 38, a consultant cardiologist at the city’s Glenfield Hospital. He denied suggestions that the couple had simply left their three children alone while they ate in a restaurant.
“It is not right to say that they just left them,” said Mr Healy. “They could see the chalet from where they were sitting in the restaurant, they were a hundred yards away. They went back every half hour to check on the children. When they returned at the end of their meal she was gone. My daughter can hardly speak. She is distraught, she is crying and in shock.”
Search goes on for girl feared snatched on holiday, 05 May 2007
A LIVERPOOL mother and her husband were last night still searching for their three-year-old daughter who it is feared was snatched from a holiday resort in Portugal.
Madeleine McCann disappeared from a rented apartment on Thursday evening as her parents dined at a tapas restaurant nearby.
Kate McCann, 38, a GP originally from Allerton, and father Gerry, a consultant heart specialist from Glasgow, fear she has been snatched from the Ocean Club resort.
The couple last night made a heartfelt plea, urging her abductors to return her to her family.
She was last seen sleeping soundly by her father at around 9pm on Thursday night at the resort, run by holiday firm Mark Warner, in the seaside village of Praia Da Luz in the south-western Algarve.
But at 10pm when her mother Kate went to check on her, she found the shutter slid up, the bedroom window open and her daughter gone.
Mr McGann last night read out a brief statement, with his wife at his side, pleading with the abductors to release the three-year-old back to her family.
His voice cracking with emotion, he said: “We cannot describe the anguish and despair we are feeling as parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine.
“We request that anyone with any information relating to Madeleine’s disappearance, no matter how trivial, contact the Portuguese police and help us get her back safely.”
He then directly addressed anyone who might be holding his daughter, saying: “Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother and sister.”
He also asked that the family’s privacy be respected so that they can do as much as possible to help the police investigation into their daughter’s disappearance.
“Everyone can understand how distressing the current situation is. We ask that our privacy is respected to allow us to continue assisting the police in their investigation,” he said. The McCanns, who now live in Leicester, were holidaying with Madeleine and twins Sean and Amelie, two.
Last night, the toddler’s anxious grandparents spoke of their distress before catching a flight from Manchester Airport to Faro to join their daughter in Portugal.
Grandparents Brian and Susan, of Wembley Road, Mossley Hill, decided to fly to Portugal to support their daughter and help with the search for Madeleine after becoming increasingly frustrated with the lack of news in the UK.
Speaking at the door of the family home, before setting off, Madeleine’s grandfather Brian Healy said: “It’s a very distressing time.”
Madeleine’s aunt, Trish Cameron, who lives in Dumbarton near Glasgow, described how her brother, Gerry, had called her “breaking his heart”.
She said his wife had gone to check on the children and “came out screaming”.
“The door was lying open, the window in the bedroom and the shutters had been jemmied open.
“Nothing had been touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports.
“They think someone must have come in the window and then gone out the door with her.”
She revealed the couple were on holiday with other doctors from the medical fraternity in Leicester.
Pat Perkins added: “Kate and Gerry often visited Liverpool with the children. They are such good parents.”
The manager at the Mark Warner resort, John Hill, said around 60 staff and guests at the complex had searched until 4.30am yesterday.
A HUGE hunt was going on last night for three-year-old Maddy McCann, feared snatched from her holiday flat.
Maddy is believed to have been taken as she slept in the complex on Portugal’s Algarve as her doctor parents ate at a bar 120ft away. Her scent was picked up by a police sniffer dog. But it petered out after 400 yards.
Yesterday, 24 hours after the young child vanished in quiet Praia da Luz, anguished parents Gerry and Kate, both 38, of Rothley, Leics, begged for her return.
A friend said: “Kate rang us totally hysterical, saying Maddy was abducted. They’re devastated.”
The appalling news that three-year-old Maddy McCann was feared kidnapped from her holiday flat came in a distraught phone call early yesterday from her dad.
Heart specialist Gerry McCann rang his sister Trish in Scotland after Maddy vanished from her cot placed between two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.
Trish revealed yesterday: “He was breaking his heart, saying ‘Madeleine’s been abducted, she’s been abducted’.”
Gerry and wife Kate, both 38, had been checking their three children in the family’s ground-floor flat every 30 minutes as they dined with friends 120ft away.
Trish said: “When Kate checked, she came out screaming. Maddy had gone. The door was open and the window in the bedroom and shutters were jemmied open. Nothing had been touched and no valuables taken.
“They think someone must have come in the window and gone out the door with her.”
Close family friend Gill Renwick, of Liverpool, who also spoke to GP Kate yesterday, said: “Poor Kate and Gerry don’t know where to turn.
“Madeleine has obviously been taken. She couldn’t have gone out on her own and the shutters were forced.”
Maddy went missing at the Mark Warner Ocean club resort in the coastal village of Praia da Luz on Portugal’s Algarve. A trail of her scent picked up by police dogs at the flat was followed to a supermarket just 400 yards away where it disappeared.
A 24-hour search by police, hundreds of villagers and British holidaymakers failed to find any trace of the child.
Last night Gerry and Kate, of Rothley, Leics, issued a statement saying they were hopeful Maddy would be found safe and well. It read: “This is a particularly difficult time for the family and we are all comforting each other. We have received lots of support from friends, family and the public and are very grateful.
“All the family’s focus is in assisting the authorities in securing Madeleine’s return.”
A woman friend of the McCanns – one of their holiday party of nine adults and eight children – said: “We went for dinner at 8.45pm in a restaurant near the apartments as we’ve done every night.
“A parent from each family went back to check on the children every half hour.
“Someone checked at 9.15. But when Kate went later Madeleine had gone.
“The window shutters, which had been closed since we arrived on Saturday, were open along with the window. They can be opened from the outside.
“The window opens on to a car park. The door to the room was shut. It looks as if someone has come through the window and possibly left through the door.”
Close family friend Jon Corner, of Liverpool, told how tearful Kate sobbed down the phone early yesterday: “Someone has taken my little girl.”
Jon, godparent to the McCanns’ twins, said: “She was in an absolutely hysterical state – very, very distressed. She blurted out Madeleine had been abducted.
“Kate said the shutters of the room were smashed. Madeleine was missing It looks as though someone had gone straight past the twins to get to her. Kate was incredibly upset. I’ve spoken to her since, and she’s still completely devastated.
“She’s also very upset that the police don’t seem to be doing more to find Madeleine. She thinks there’s too little happening.”
Mr Corner described the McCanns as a “superb mother and father”. He said: “They are a very loving family.”
The McCanns’ apartment is set in a self-contained complex which boasts villas and apartments together with supermarkets, restaurants, cafes, boutiques and bars.
Mark Warner management denied there were signs of forced entry at the flat claiming instead that roller shutters had been slid up and the bedroom window opened.
The firm added that police were keeping an open mind over whether Maddy had managed to leave the apartment on her own.
The McCanns were said to have chosen the complex as a “family-friendly resort.”
But they declined to take advantage of a baby-sitting service which would have left their children supervised while they dined.
Resort manager John Hill said around 60 staff and guests had searched until 4.30am yesterday as police contacted border authorities, neighbouring Spanish officers and airports.
Mr Hill said: “It was a very emotional and very frantic night and everyone did a fantastic job of getting involved and trying to search the area.
“There are a criminal investigator and around 20 officers here but unfortunately there’s still no information. If I was in the McCanns’ situation, I’d be frustrated as hell. If there were 100 police here I’d want more.”
The British Embassy said it had been informed about Maddy’s disappearance.
Portuguese police said: “It’s a sensitive case. It involves a child and we cannot give more information for now.”
Officers sealed off the five-storey holiday block with crime scene tape and fingerprinted the shutters and window sill outside Maddy’s room. A patio to the rear of the block, believed to be attached to the family’s two-bedroom apartment, was also sealed off.
By late afternoon the hunt for Maddy had intensified with helicopter crews, firemen and maritime search teams involved.
A special criminal investigation team from the Policia Judiciria was travelling down from Lisbon.
Sky News weather presenter Jo Wheeler said local police had been giving out maps and telling people where to look. She said: “It’s very well organised.”
Wheeler said Maddy could not have wandered on her own back to the beach.
She said: “She’d have to have taken a long and tortuous journey, crossed several roads and walked three quarters of a mile.”
Back in the UK police stood guard outside the McCanns’ five-bedroom home in a quiet cul-de-sac. Neighbour Tracey Horsfield, 32, a nurse, said: “They’re delightful people – a normal, caring family. They idolise their children. They’d never let them out of their sight.” Another neighbour Penny Noble said: “We’re absolutely devastated. They’re a really nice family. We see them going for walks. Madeleine is a happy-go-lucky little girl.”
Last night Kate’s father, Brian Healy, of Mossley Hill, Liverpool, was preparing to fly out to Portugal. He said: “We’re worried sick. It’s a very distressing time.”
Gerry McCann is said to be one of Europe’s top heart specialists and a consultant cardiologist at Glenfield Hospital in Leicester. The hospital is a centre of excellence for heart surgery in the UK.
Doug Skehan, also a consultant cardiologist at the hospital, said: “He is a popular, hard-working colleague for whom we have great affection.
“The mood here is one of great concern and we hope that Kate and Gerry will have their daughter back very soon.”
Parents checked sleeping child every half-hour – but still she was abducted, 05 May 2007
Parents checked sleeping child every half-hour – but still she was abducted The Times
David Brown in the Algarve and Rajeev Syal May 5, 2007
A desperate search for a three-year-old British girl continued last night after she disappeared from an upmarket beach resort in Portugal while her parents dined near by.
Despite their half-hourly checks on her as she slept, Madeleine McCann went missing from her parents’ rented holiday apartment in the Algarve on Thursday night as they ate tapas only 50 yards away.
Relatives claimed that she had been abducted from the Ocean Club resort, run by the holiday company Mark Warner, in the seaside village of Praia da Luz.
Her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, both 38-year-old doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, were being comforted last night by friends and consular officials.
Madeleine, known as Maddy, vanished after being left to sleep between her brother and sister, two-year-old twins.
Mr McCann and his wife, who was clutching Madeleine’s pink teddy bear to her chest, made a public appeal last night for the return of their daughter.
Mr McCann said: “Words cannot describe the anguish and concern we are feeling at the loss of our daughter Madeleine. We now request that if you have any information about Madeleine’s disappearance, no matter how trivial, contact the Portuguese police so we can have her back. Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come back to mummy, daddy and her brother and sister.”
The family have moved to another apartment 150 yards from the one from where their daughter is said to have been taken.
The McCanns went to Portugal last Saturday with a group of eight couples, friends said. Mr McCann, a cardiologist, and his wife, a GP, went out for a meal at a tapas bar within the complex at 8.30pm on Thursday, leaving Madeleine sleeping between Sean and Amelie, the twins. The couple checked on their children every half an hour and ensured that the doors were locked, it was said.
The resort offered a crãche service but the McCanns chose to leave the children sleeping at the apartment, taking turns to check on them. Between their checks at 9.30pm and 10pm, the apartment was broken into through a window and Madeleine was taken, according to her aunt. Trish Cameron, Mr McCann’s sister, from Dumbarton, near Glasgow, said it appeared that someone had been spying on Madeleine and had targeted her for abduction.
“The front door was open, the window had been tampered with, the shutters had been jemmied open and Madeleine was missing,” she said. “Nothing had been touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports. They think someone must have come in the window and gone out the door with her.”
Police were called at 10.20pm as Madeleine’s parents became increasingly anxious. Soon, fellow guests were notified. About 60 staff and holidaymakers searched until 4.30am, while police notified border police, Spanish police and airports.
Three police vans and three police cars were at the scene as officers searched the family’s apartment. Others searched the beach 200 yards away.
Specialists fingerprinted the windowsill of the apartment. Sniffer dogs were brought in by Portuguese detectives and unconfirmed reports indicated that Madeleine’s scent had been picked up.
The resort caters for 1,000 holidaymakers and is set in lush subtropical gardens. It is made up of self-catering villas and apartment blocks and has several bars and restaurants.
John Hill, the manager at Ocean Club, said that reports that the flat had been broken into had yet to be confirmed.
But Jill Renwick, a family friend, told GMTV that the McCanns were certain that Madeleine had been abducted.
“They were just watching the hotel room and going back every half-hour and the shutters had been broken open and they had gone into the room and taken Madeleine,” she said. “They went out about 8, went back in at 9, they were fine, went back in at 10 and she was gone.”
Ms Renwick said that it was the McCanns’ first holiday of this sort. “They are very, very anxious parents and very careful, and they chose Mark Warner because it is a family-friendly resort.”
A spokesman for Mark Warner, which has run the resort for two years, said that looking after the McCanns was their priority. “If necessary, the company will fly other family members out to the Ocean Club. We are all hoping that she is asleep under a bush somewhere and we will find her soon,” he said.
Guests are being asked if they saw anyone acting suspiciously in the area, he said, adding that Mark Warner had never had cases of missing or abducted children before.
He said that Mark Warner offered a baby-sitting service. “Those facilities were available but, for whatever reason, they were not being used,” he said. Another spokeswoman for Mark Warner said that in the Algarve, unlike most of their resorts, the company did not supply a “room listening” service, where nannies regularly listen at the door of sleeping children.
John Stephen Buck, the British Ambassador to Portugal, travelled to the Algarve yesterday, as did Craig Mayhew, Mark Warner UK operations director, and a counsellor. The McCanns remain at the police station in Portimão, helping police to piece together what has happened.
A Foreign and Commonwealth Office spokesman said that the Serious Organised Crime Agency was liaising with British and Portuguese police. He added that two officials from the British Consulate in Portimão were with the family.
Resorts are popular because of childcare facilities, 05 May 2007
Resorts are popular because of childcare facilities The Times
Will Pavia May 5, 2007
Mark Warner resorts attract families with young children because of the company’s range of childcare facilities.
Ocean Club at Praia da Luz boasts six childcare clubs, catering for children from four months to 13 years old.
The baby club, for those aged from four to 11 months, has one nanny for every two babies and costs £260 a week extra. Qualified nannies also care for the younger children in creches.
One former Mark Warner nanny, Jo Cook, from Melton Mowbray, said: “We would work six days a week, starting at half-eight and finishing at six”. Now 27, Mrs Cook joined the company at 19 and worked seasons in Greece, Turkey, Switzerland and France.
Twice a week they would work later, until 7.30, supervising children at “high tea”, and twice a week they would be on evening duty, supervising a creche or on the “room listening” service that is provided in some resorts.
Parents arriving for dinner gave their children’s names, their room number, and their table number in the restaurant. A group of nannies would circulate, listening at each child’s bedroom.
At the sound of crying, a child’s distress would be reported to parents. This service was not provided at Mark Warner’s resort in the Algarve, however.
Mrs Cook told The Times: “A lot of the nannies were excellent, but occasionally I would see one fall asleep while supervising children, and I have seen a nanny lose a child.
“We nannies were all there earning a pittance — £75 a week for those on their first season — trying to travel the world without having to pay for it.
“It felt very safe, but if someone is really out to break into the resort it’s quite a frightening prospect.”
‘Maddy was abducted and we have a suspect in mind’, 05 May 2007
‘Maddy was abducted and we have a suspect in mind’ Daily Mail
By Michael Seamark
Last updated at 20:19 05 May 2007
Portugese police believe three-year-old Madeleine McCann has been abducted and have a suspect in mind, a police chief said today. The toddler vanished from her bed at a holiday resort when her parents were in a restaurant only 40 yards away.
Guilhermino Encarnacao, director of the judicial police in the Faro region, said they were hopeful she is still alive and believe she is still in Portugal.
But he refused to reveal any more details for fear of endangering Madeleine’s life.
The three-year-old’s great uncle, Brian Kennedy said the family “fear the worst but we are hoping for the best.”
British Ambassador John Buck was with Madeleine’s family this afternoon. He confirmed that three family liaison officers from Leicestershire Police had now arrived and were with the family.
Kate and her husband Gerry, a consultant cardiologist, have told family and friends they suspect their daughter was snatched while her two-year-old twin brother and sister were sound asleep in cots on either side of her.
Madeleine, who was born by IVF treatment, disappeared from the family’s ground-floor holiday apartment at the ‘family friendly’ Mark Warner holiday complex in the Praia da Luz resort as her parents ate at a tapas restaurant close by.
The child’s aunt, Trish Cameron, yesterday described the frantic telephone call she received after the couple discovered their daughter was missing around ten o’clock on Thursday night.
“It was my young brother Gerry distraught on the phone, breaking his heart. He said: ‘Madeleine’s been abducted, she’s been abducted’.
“They kept going back to check the kids every half hour. The restaurant was only 40 yards away. He went back at nine o’clock to check the children. They were all sound asleep, windows shut, shutters shut.”
Kate then went over to the two-bedroom ground-floor apartment and ‘came out screaming’, said Mrs Cameron. ‘The door was lying open, the window in the bedroom and the shutters had been jemmied open.
“Nothing had been touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports. They think someone must have come in the window and gone out the door with her.”
Portuguese police yesterday sealed off the three-storey block and forensic specialists fingerprinted the ground floor window of the McCanns’ apartment. All airports, ports and border posts have been alerted.
But despite a massive search throughout the night by police, sniffer dogs and dozens of holidaymakers, there has been no sign of Madeleine, wearing white pyjamas when her parents put her to bed with twins Amelie and Sean in the bougainvillea-clad apartment.
Intriguingly, a Briton who runs a company in the Algarve has told police he spotted a couple carrying a young child early yesterday.
George Burke, from Liverpool, was driving home from nearby Lagos around 6am when he caught the two people in his car headlights. “I couldn’t see them clearly because it was dark and windy. They scurried down a side road and out of sight.”
Last night, as police helicopters and launches scoured the sea, beach and village, Madeleine’s family issued a statement which read: “This is a particularly difficult time for the family and we are all comforting each other. At this time all the family’s focus is in assisting the UK and in particular the Portuguese authorities in securing Madeleine’s safe return.”
Mr McCann, a consultant cardiologist at Leicester’s Glenfield Hospital, and his wife Kate, a GP, had chosen the up-market resort because it was family-friendly.
A friend of the couple, Jill Renwick, said: “This is the first time they have done this. They are very, very anxious parents and very careful.”
She said Madeleine – known as Maddy – was ‘gorgeous, active and chatty and intelligent, not shy. She is four next week and starts school this year.’
The McCanns, who have been married eight years and recently moved into a £600,000 detached house in Rothley, a suburb of Leicester, were on holiday with a group of fellow doctors and other young children, paying around £1,600 for a week.
In the evenings, Mark Warner offers a drop-in creche service enabling customers to leave young children with staff while they enjoy a relaxing dinner.
Customers may also pay for individual baby-sitters but the McCanns, both 38, chose not to use either service, instead taking it in turns regularly to check their three young children themselves from the restaurant on the other side of a swimming pool from their apartment.
After Mrs McCann raised the alarm, Mark Warner said it immediately launched a search of all areas within the complex and the peaceful, 1,000-population fishing village.
Resort manager John Hill said: “As well as staff, we had guests helping, also the majority of the Praia da Luz village.
“Police were informed at the same time as the alarm was raised. They arrived about 10.45pm and after statements were taken from the family police decided to escalate the situation.”
Paul Moyes, 47, from Cheshire, and his wife Susan own a holiday apartment in the same black as the McCanns. He said: “There was a knock on the door at about 11.30 from a hotel guest telling us a girl was missing and asking us to help in the search.
“There were uniformed police, plain clothes and even off-duty local officers. The search went on all night, people were using torches.
“We searched the beach and the hotel grounds with scores of people. Quite a few of us own holiday homes here so it’s a close-knit community and something like this is terribly shocking.” Michael Hannar, from Pontefract, Yorkshire, owns a ground floor apartment close to the McCanns.
He said: “I don’t believe a three-year-old child would have been strong enough to open the window or shutter.
“Mine are difficult to open, especially if the window is fully closed. The shutter is also difficult to open.”
Family friend Mrs Renwick said the McCanns – who met while training at the Western Infirmary at Glasgow – felt let down by police.
“I spoke to them this morning and they said the police had done nothing overnight and they felt as if they’d been left on their own.”
Resort manager Mr Hill said: “We’re in a sleepy fishing village and manpower for the police, I agree, was low at the time. After the CID were involved more police were called.”
In Leicester, neighbours spoke of the loving, protective parents.
Tracey Horsefield, a 32-year-old nurse, said: “They never let those children out on their own. I have never seen Madeleine without her parents.”
Mr McCann’s mother Eileen, 67, from Glasgow, said the couple had been desperate to have children and eventually underwent IVF treatment.
“Madeleine made their lives complete when she came along. The three children were very close and I don’t know how they will cope – how any of them will.”
Madeleine’s uncle Michael Healy said: “There has been some negative spin put on this, with people criticising them for leaving the kids.
“But it’s nonsense, they were close by and eating within sight of where the children were and checking on them. No one was rip-roaring drunk.”
From DANIEL BOFFEY and PETER ALLEN in Praia da Luz
Last updated at 21:51 05 May 2007
Police investigating the abduction of three-year-old Madeleine McCann believe they know who snatched her, and are convinced she is still alive.
They are working on the theory she is being held near to the Algarve resort from where she was taken.
At a dramatic news conference, the officer leading the inquiry declared: “We have a prime suspect. There is a portrait sketch of the suspect, but I am not going to reveal it because it may put the girl’s life in danger. We believe she is still alive.”
The announcement gave Madeleine’s anguished parents Kate and Gerry renewed hope.
It came as a colleague of her mother, a doctor, approached The Mail on Sunday offering a £100,000 reward.
“You never, in your wildest imagination, could ever think something as awful as this could happen,” said the fellow GP, who asked not to be named.
“The reason I want to put up this reward is simply in the hope they get that little girl back.”
The toddler vanished from her bed at the Ocean Club holiday resort in Praia da Luz three days ago while her parents dined in a restaurant 40 yards away.
The couple told relatives they fear they were being watched in the hours before the kidnapping.
Guilhermino Encarnacao, director of the judicial police in the Faro region, hinted there may be a sexual motive. “Kidnapping is not just for money but can be for sexual abuse,” he said.
But his belief Madeleine is still alive and his disclosure that he has witnesses brought a delighted response from the girl’s family.
Her aunt, Philomena McCann, said: “It’s more than hope, it’s a distinct feeling of elation.
“But it’s important to keep your emotions in check because the last couple of days have been like a rollercoaster. It’s great to have some hope but we need something to happen. We want her back.”
Madeleine, who will be four on Saturday, was taken from her bed in the ground-floor apartment she was sharing with her parents between 9.30pm and 10pm on Thursday night.
Her parents had been checking every half hour on the toddler and her younger twin brother and sister, Sean and Amelia, who were sleeping in cots next to her.
When Mrs McCann checked on the children, she found the apartment door wide open, the window shutters jemmied wide and her daughter’s bed empty.
She ran screaming from the apartment, sparking a huge search involving 150 police, firefighters and Portuguese civil guard, along with villagers and guests at the Mark Warner Holiday complex, many of them British.
Philomena McCann said: “We have no evidence she was stolen to order but you get this gut feeling why one child should be taken and the others left.
“We think they were being watched and this was premeditated. Gerry is worried that may have happened.
“Some people may ask why they left the children alone in the apartment but it was locked and they had a full view of the front door and they were checking every half hour.”
Around a dozen sniffer dogs joined the search and it is believed they followed Madeleine’s scent to a supermarket 50 yards away.
However the trail is believed to have gone cold from that point. CCTV cameras in the supermarket did not pick up any images of the girl or her abductors.
The 44-year-old married father who offered the reward is a partner in the same Leicestershire surgery as Madeleine’s mother, but amassed a multi-million-pound fortune buying and selling property.
Yesterday he broke down in tears as he described a recent visit to Dublin when his own three-year-old niece went missing for 20 minutes.
“The feeling was utter devastation and fear but thank God we found her,’ he said. “It is unimaginable to understand what Kate and Gerry are going through right now.
“I am not a close friend of Kate’s, and I haven’t spoken to her since this happened. Money isn’t an issue to me, it is the hope they get Madeleine back.”
Kate and Gerry, a cardiologist, were yesterday spotted walking in silence through the complex.
Mrs McCann was still gripping tightly on Madeleine’s favourite teddy bear, as she has since her daughter was taken.
The resort’s open layout meant her abductor would have easily been able to watch Madeleine and her parents.
One holiday rep said: “Young children are everywhere, and can easily be seen from the roads outside. There are fences, but anyone can be observed very easily. Security has never been a huge issue, however, as we have not had any great problems before.”
Police have sealed off the three-storey block and checked the McCanns’ apartment for fingerprints.
All airports, ports and border posts have been alerted. However, the helicopters initially used in the search were quiet yesterday, and locals said there had not yet been a house-to-house search.
Mr Encarnacao angrily denied reports in the Portuguese Press that the police had initially treated statements given by Madeleine’s parents with some scepticism.
He said police responded within 15 minutes and added: “I have 150 men looking for the girl. At first it was just a missing girl case. Now I can assure you it was a kidnapping. We have evidence of this.
“Yes, we believe she is still alive and still in Portugal. We do have witnesses. They have given evidence but I can’t reveal much more.”
The McCanns, who have been married eight years and recently moved into a £600,000 detached house in Rothley, Leicestershire, were on holiday with a group of colleagues and their families, paying around £1,600 for a week.
In the evenings, Mark Warner offers a creche and individual baby-sitters, but the McCanns, both 38, chose not to use either.
Last Updated: 12:34AM BST 07/05/2007 (Main body of article written 05/05/2007)
Portuguese police have identified a suspect over the kidnapping of British toddler Madeleine McCann, who was snatched from a holiday appartment on Thursday night.
At a press conference today, Guilhermino Encarnacao, director of the judicial police in the Faro region, said he has an artist’s impression of the suspect and remains hopeful that the little girl is still alive.
However, he refused to disclose any more information for fear of endangering Madeleine’s life.
Gerald and Kate McCann, who were dining just 200 yards away when the kidnapping occurred, yesterday appeared before the media to make a desperate appeal for their daughter’s safe return.
Mr McCann’s voice cracked with emotion as he said: “Words cannot describe the desperation and despair we are feeling as parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine.
“We request that anyone who has any information relating to her disappearance, however trivial, come forward and help us get her back safely.
“Please, if you are holding Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy and daddy, her brother and sister.”
Mr McCann and his wife, clutching a pink teddy bear, then asked for their privacy to be respected before returning inside.
On the night of Madeleine’s disappearance Mrs McCann, 39, a GP, made regular half-hourly checks on her children in their room. But when she returned to the ground floor apartment at 10pm, the door was open, the window had been forced and Madeleine was gone.
The other children, two-year-old twins Amelie and Shaun, were still asleep in their cots. Mrs McCann broke down screaming. An immediate search was launched, but the abductor is believed to have escaped through the complex’s main entrance.
Last night the family were still hoping that Madeleine, who like her siblings was conceived through IVF, would be found safe and well. But they began to fear the worst.
Trish Cameron, Mr McCann’s sister, said she received a telephone call from her 39-year-old brother, a consultant cardiologist, who was “hysterical and crying his eyes out”.
She said: “They had put the kids to bed at 7pm and checked on them every half an hour as they had dinner nearby with the rest of the party. Gerry said the window was open, the shutters broken and the door, which had been locked, hanging open.
“Kate came screaming back to the group crying, ‘They’ve taken her, they’ve taken her’. Gerry was crying and roaring like a bull.
“Obviously someone has been watching them, watching the children, seeing where they stayed and seeing they were left alone. It just doesn’t bear thinking about.
“They can’t have children naturally so, being IVF babies, they were extra special.”
She added: “Gerry and Kate are excellent parents and very protective of their children. In hindsight, yes, they wish they hadn’t left them alone, but it’s hard when you’re on holiday.
“The complex was quite open and it looked like anyone could wander in or out.”
She said Madeleine had blonde hair and blue eyes, with a distinguishing feature of her right pupil “running down into the iris of her eye”. The toddler was wearing white pyjamas when she went missing.
Madeleine’s great uncle today described how much the little girl, a keen fan of Dr Who, was looking forward to her holiday.
“Madeleine is a lovely little girl, an intelligent, bright child,” he added
Jon Corner, a close friend of Mrs McCann and godparent of the twins, said she telephoned him in the middle of the night distraught.
He said: “She just blurted out that Madeleine had been abducted. She told me, ‘They have broken the shutter on the window and taken my little girl.’
“They had left the apartment locked while they were having their meal, but when they went back the last time they saw the damage.
“First they saw one of the window shutters had been forced, and then they saw the door was open and the bed was empty – and Madeleine was gone.
“Obviously Kate was incredibly upset when she phoned. I have spoken to her since, and she is still completely devastated – as we all are for them.
The McCanns, from Rothley, Leics, travelled out last Saturday with a group of friends, all of whom have young children, for a week-long stay at the Mark Warner Ocean Summer Club in Praia da Luz, on the Algarve, renting a two-bedroom apartment with private patio.
The couple, who are Roman Catholics and regular churchgoers, were enjoying dinner at a nearby tapas restaurant with the four other couples. The adults regularly checked on the children.
Around 70 staff and holidaymakers joined the search around the complex and on the nearby beach.
John Hill, the complex manager, said: “It was a very emotional and very frantic night and everyone did a fantastic job of getting involved and trying to search the area.
“As you can imagine, Madeleine’s parents are distraught and not doing very well at all.” He said the company offered baby sitting services but “for whatever reason, they were not being used”. He added the locks on the apartment doors were “quite sophisticated.”
Members of the McCann family have flown out to Portugal to help with the search.
Mr and Mrs McCann met when they were medical students in Scotland and became close while travelling in New Zealand. They were married nine years ago in Mrs McCann’s home town of Liverpool.
They lived in Glasgow for a while and as Mr McCann’s career took off they moved to Queniborough, Leics, in 2000, when he began working at the Glenfield hospital in Leicester, a leading heart specialist centre.
Mr McCann, one of five siblings, was placed on secondment to Holland for two years, where the twins were conceived.
They returned to the Midlands in 2004 and moved into their current five-bedroom detached home last summer.
Mrs McCann works one and a half days a week at a surgery in Melton Mowbray, Leics, and spends the rest of the time looking after the children.
Tracey Horsfield, 32, a neighbour, said: “They are delightful people, a normal, very caring family. They are extremely protective of the children and would never let them be alone.
“They idolised them and this is the last thing you would have thought would have happened to them.”
The couple would have paid around £1,500 for their week-long stay in an area popular with British holidaymakers.
Ocean Club, near Lagos, boasts that visitors will enjoy “privacy in numerous villa-style accommodations dotted throughout an independently-working village”.
The company’s brochures also claim the atmosphere is so relaxed and exclusive that “you’re as likely to pass a local as another tourist”.
Portuguese police: Madeleine was kidnapped, 05 May 2007
Portuguese police: Madeleine was kidnapped The Times
DAVID BROWN IN PRAIA DA LUZ May 5, 2007
Detectives in Portugal hunting for the British girl Madeleine McCann, who disappeared from her bed on Thursday night, today said they believed she had been kidnapped.
The three-year-old disappeared from the Ocean Club Resort run by the holiday firm Mark Warner in the seaside village of Praia Da Luz while her parents were at a restaurant 50 yards away. Hundreds of tourists and Portuguese residents yesterday searched the village and nearby beaches for signs of the girl.
The Portuguese police said they believe she had been kidnapped and was still alive in the Algarve area.
Guilhermino Emcarnacao, head of the Policia Judicari, said: “At first this was treated as a missing person but now there are several elements that point to a kidnapping.
“Under Portuguese law, a kidnapping can be when someone is held for ransom or when a person is held for sexual abuse.
“We have a portrait of the suspect but we do not want to give too many details as it could put the girl’s life at risk.”
All airports in Portugal and Spain have been placed on alert to look out for any passengers matching Madeleine’s description. Portuguese border police are also checking cars leaving the country.
Mr Emcarnacao said: “I would say to whoever has Madeleine, there is still time to give her back. He can call anonymously to the police and say the girl is at a place where we can find her. He can remain anonymous.”
It emerged today that Madeleine’s parents Gerry and Kate, both 38-year-old doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, waited for more than an hour and 20 minutes before calling police after discovering that their daughter was missing from the apartment.
Madeleine, who answers to the name of Maddy, and will be four years old on May 12, was wearing pink Winnie the Pooh pyjamas when she was taken from the bed where she was sleeping with her twin two-year-old siblings, Amelie and Sean.
Police today brought in a helicopter to search surrounding countryside, and officers on horseback scoured the largely uninhabited area outside the village.