- From: Sunday Herald Sun
- September 16, 2007
POLICE fear they will never find Madeleine McCann's body, according to new reports in Portuguese newspapers that increase the pressure on the missing child's parents.Detectives, who are convinced the four-year-old is dead, are said to believe her remains have been lost and so any prosecution against parents Gerry and Kate McCann would fail.
Investigators think her body was most probably dumped in a bag weighed down with stones and thrown from a British-owned yacht at sea, according to reports in the Portuguese newspaper, Diario de Noticias.
The newspaper said police had investigated the vessel, owned by an English sailor in Lagos, which is near the McCanns' holiday resort.
The report claimed: "The Judicial Police admits Madeleine's body may not exist so as to hide for ever evidence about what happened on that fateful night.
"Within this scenario, one of the most credible possibilities would involve the body having been thrown in a sack of stones from a yacht, namely the yacht of an English sailor who was put under investigation by the authorities around the time official suspect Robert Murat's computers were being analysed."
When police began investigating British expat Mr Murat, they discovered from emails on his computer that he knew the unidentified yacht owner. Since then, police have been probing possible links between Mr Murat, 33, and the McCanns.
Detectives have asked Mr Murat, who lives not far from the McCann's resort in Praia da Luz, if he met the couple during visits to England. His sister lives in Exeter, the home town of the McCanns' friends Dr Russell O'Brien and his wife Jane.
Reports claim investigators are continuing to "observe and analyse" land to the south of the resort where the McCanns stayed, specifically the coast between Praia da Luz and the town of Burgau.
Police have also interviewed a man who appeared in several photographs relating to the McCanns. The bald man was seen in a picture taken by Mrs McCann as Madeleine played with her father and siblings shortly before her disappearance. He is also seen again walking behind Mr Murat after Madeleine's disappearance as police lead sniffer dogs to the resort.
Police confirmed the man had been spoken to, but they refused to elaborate.
The McCanns received a boost yesterday when a police source in Portugal admitted they had "nothing concrete".
A source told a Portuguese newspaper: "There are a lot of indications, but without more elements it's impossible to say what happened in those four hours in the case between 6pm and 10pm on the night Madeleine vanished."
Police are thought to have admitted they feared no judge would allow the case to go to court without the body.
What the Portuguese claim:LEAKS to newspapers in Portugal, apparently from police, claim the McCanns accidentally killed Madeleine with an overdose of sleeping tablets and dumped her body in the sea. They claim bodily fluids and hair found in a car the McCanns hired after her disappearance match Maddy's.
What British experts say:THEY doubt the Portuguese claims. They say the fluids are only a partial match to Madeleine's DNA and the sample was not strong enough to determine the presence of drugs.
What the McCanns say:THE couple called the allegations "ludicrous" and have said they have no suspicions about each other.