British police investigating the disappearance of 3-year-old girl Madeleine McCann have come up with new electronic composite sketches of a man who may have been seen carrying Madeleine away from the Portuguese resort where she went missing in May 2007.
In a public appeal on Monday, Metropolitan Police released the following sketches and urged anyone who might have noticed the man or was around the Praia de Luz resort around the time of Madeleine’s May 2007 disappearance to come forward:
Metropolitan Police did not specifically say what in their investigation led to the new suspect.
“A new understanding of events on the evening Madeleine disappeared has resulted in a renewed focus on a sighting of a man carrying a child toward the ocean/center of town at about 10 p.m.,” the police force said in the appeal, published Monday.
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Madeleine disappeared while her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, had dinner with friends at the resort. The sketches depict a man seen by Jane Tanner, a friend of the McCanns, who was observed carrying a child around 9:15 p.m. May 3.
Authorities released another set of electronic composite sketches based on “numerous sightings of unidentified males with blonde or fair hair seen near the scene on or around the 3rd [of] May 2007,” Metropolitan police said. The sketches, which are expected to be shown on BBC1's Crimewatch Monday night, might not be of the same person.
The investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance, which has captured the hearts of everyone around England and beyond, also uncovered a rash of burglaries at the resort a month before Madeleine went missing, including two in the section of the resort where her family was staying.
Authorities are also interested in four separate sightings of charity collectors at Praia de Luz between 3:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. the day Madeleine went missing. One sketch is of a man who approached a property near the McCanns’ apartment at 4 p.m., hours before she disappeared. A second sketch depicts a collector seen at the apartment the McCanns were staying at in Praia de Luz days before the 3-year-old British girl’s disappearance. The man was described as being Portuguese, between 40 and 45 years old, with short dark hair slightly graying at the sides. He was carrying an ID card with his photo on it, which showed him with a goatee. He was also carrying a clipboard or pad and a receipt book, according to police.
The investigation wants to find these suspects or persons of interest and is asking the men or anyone who knows them to come forward. Anybody who was in the resort area but has not spoken with police yet was urged to do so. Authorities are also interested in speaking with anyone who was a victim of a crime at Praia de Luz or were approached by a charity collector at the property.
The photos will also be shown Monday on BBC1’s Crimewatch.
"The timeline we have now established has given new significance to sightings and movements of people in and around Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine's disappearance,” said Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood. "Our work to date has significantly changed the timeline and the accepted version of events that has been in the public domain to date. It has allowed us to work with Crimewatch to build the most detailed reconstruction yet, and highlight very specific appeal points.”
He added, “I hope that when the public sees our investigative strands drawn together within the overall context of that appeal, it will bring in new information that moves our investigation forward."