Three-year old Madeline McCann disappeared in 2007 while she was on holiday with her parents in a villa in Portugal, and her fate is still unknown. What happened to Madeline?
A re-energized investigation by the British Metropolitan Police, who entered the case in 2012, has led to three suspects in the internationally prominent case which may soon be arrested, according to British law enforcement authorities. Madeline's parents were partying in a nearby bar while Madeline was left with only her younger twin siblings as protectors when she vanished from the holiday villa apartment.
At the time Portuguese focused on the parents as their main suspects. The McCanns claimed that they and their dinner companions rotated checking on the children in between their ongoing party at the nearby bar. They reportedly were shocked when their child was discovered missing. This is not the time to ask why the parents allowed their helpless child to be left defenseless in a foreign country with no adult supervision.
This is the time to ask where Madeline might be today. British police have sent what is called an "International Letter of Request" to Portuguese officials, evidently leading to the imminenet arrest of three men who are now suspects in the tragic kidnapping.
Scotland Yard dectectives appear to be the heroes in solving this high profile case. After reviewing the original Portuguese investigation files, Scotland Yard identified 40 persons of interest, including three cleaners who are the prime suspects. The triumvirate of cleaners were allegedly breaking into holiday villas in April 0f 2007, a month before Madeline was abducted. The British police also revealed today that the three burglars disturbed a sleeping child during one of their break-ins. The parents of this other child were on the balcony and saw the three men approaching their child. They chased the men away and called police.
Portuguese police knew about the break-ins by the cleaners, but did not follow up on that lead. Instead they focused their investigation on McCann's parents, Kate and Gerry, as their suspects. The police in Portugal reportedly failed to follow up on hundreds of leads in the case.
Representatives of the McCann family said they were frustrated that British police have to receive permission from the Portuguese to operate in that jurisdiction. The tragedy is that the Portuguese have been reluctant to co-operate with British officials in this investigation.
The Portuguese had completely closed their case on the kidnapping until 2013 when they reluctantly reopened it at Scotland Yard's request. They will still have to receive permission fr4om the Portuguese for British law enforcement officers to make arrests or even questions suspects in Portugal.
Several British news sources have said a team of detectives is already en route to Portugal, to make the first arrests.
Rather than to assign blame to the Portuguese for a lackluster investigation or the parents for their child care habits, the focus now should be on finding Madeline. Hopefully, she is alive and well.
Scotland Yard deserves credit for never giving up on this case.
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