Portugal’s attorney-general appeared to pave the way for the search to be shelved by saying cops should feel “no shame” if they fail to find Maddie.
Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro said: “These kinds of crimes are extremely difficult to investigate. There are one million missing children per year throughout the world, and not even 20 per cent are found.”
But Portugal’s top cop Alipio Ribeiro said yesterday it remained “very important” for Kate, 40, and Gerry, 39, to return to The Algarve to help the investigation if asked.
The comments follow claims the McCanns’ arguido – official suspect – status may soon be lifted.
Cops have also started quizzing a list of 60 “witnesses” the McCanns provided recently.
They include friends, tourists and staff at the Mark Warner holiday village in Praia da Luz from where Maddie disappeared on May 3 last year.
The couple feel some may hold clues to the disappearance, while others will counteract claims in Portugal Kate had trouble dealing with her kids.
Their spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, said last night: “Kate and Gerry are very heartened by the attorney-general’s comments. If they are a precursor to them being eliminated from the inquiry then we welcome them.
“If, however, the police are close to closing the case we still want them to keep searching for Madeleine, as our investigators are continuing to do.”
Of the decision to quiz their witnesses, he said: “Kate and Gerry see it as very positive.”
Meanwhile, Mr Ribeiro, head of the Policia Judiciaria – Portugal’s CID – said it was vital for the couple to return if requested.
It is believed he was referring to a reconstruction of the night the four-year-old went missing. Mr Mitchell said Kate and Gerry had “not ruled out returning”.
On Saturday, the first anniversary of Maddie’s disappearance, Kate and Gerry, of Rothley, Leics, went with twins Sean and Amelie, three, to the church where Maddie was baptised – Bishop Eton RC in Liverpool.
- No one Blames the Portuguese Police for failing to Find Madeleine, but they do blame them for *FAILING* to even look for her properly and for *FAILING* to follow up leads.
- If the Portuguese Police want Kate and Gerry McCann to return to Portugal, then they should lift this ridiculous arguido status .
- The PJ should also stop hiding behind these archaic secrecy laws coming out only to fire at the McCann's at well timed moments!
- The Portuguese judge should now also allow Kate and Gerry to see their file and hand over every scrap of information they have on the case, so they can actually return to Portugal, with their investigators, so they will be able to investigate properly the disappearance of their beloved daughter and the PJ should give them every help and assistance they possibly can. It is a bit late in the day, but it is the very least the PJ can do after their monumental cock-ups and blunders in this case!
- If the PJ want the McCann's to return for a reconstruction, it should only be in an advisory capacity, it is callous beyond belief to expect them to physically relive that night with another little girl playing Madeleine.