DETECTIVES from Operation Grange are asking for the public’s help to identify a man they are keen to trace in connection with their investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
Released for the first time today are two e-fit images believed to be of the same man, which will feature in the BBC1’s Crimewatch appeal running at 21:00hrs tonight (UK time). These e-fits have been drawn up based on statements and descriptions from two different witnesses who saw this man in the Praia da Luz town area. The sightings are from the evening of Thursday, 3 May 2007, the night that Madeleine went missing.
Work by detectives has given them a far greater understanding of the times when the abduction could have taken place. This in turn has made the statements from the two witnesses far more significant. One of the main priorities for the investigation is being able to identify the man who is being described.
Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, the senior investigating officer, said: “Today I am asking the public for their help. Whilst this man may or may not be the key to unlocking this investigation, tracing and speaking to him is of vital importance to us. We have witnesses placing him in the resort area around the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.
“This is far from our only line of inquiry and there will be e-fits released of other sightings as well, who we are equally keen to trace. These people were seen on the day of Madeleine’s disappearance and the days leading up to it.
“Where we have been able to make massive steps forward is by drawing together all the material gathered to date, and reviewing it as a whole.
“We continue to put Madeleine at the heart of our investigation and I would urge people to watch Crimewatch tonight and if you can help identify this man or have any information about our new appeal points please contact us.
“Praia da Luz is a popular holiday destination for many nationalities so our requests for help need to be repeated in many different countries. I will be travelling to Holland, Germany and Ireland to seek the support of the public there.
“If you were in and around the Praia da Luz resort on Thursday, 3 May 2007, but you have not yet spoken to police, and you think you may have information, please pass it on.
“I would also like to ask for the help of the local community in Praia da Luz. Portugal is a key country for us to trace any outstanding witnesses and our appeals will be repeated there.
“We still have a lot of material to investigate and much work to do. Your information could be the vital piece we need to finally answer what happened to Madeleine.”
The witnesses have described the man in the e-fit as being white, aged between 20-40 years old, with short brown hair, of medium build, medium height and clean shaven.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the incident room on 0800 096 1011, if you are UK based. If based outside the UK please call +4420 7158 0126, or email [email protected]