Exactly 12 years after the little girl disappeared without a trace during a family vacation, investigators in Portugal may have identified a new person of interest in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
According to the Telegraph, media in outlets in Portugal are reporting that the Policia Judiciari has been given additional resources to “pursue a new line of inquiry,” as described by the Telegraph — and that line of inquiry involves a potential new suspect.
And The Sun reports that a new documentary about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann puts forth a theory that the 3-year-old girl may have been taken by a suspect believed to be a serial child predator.
Maddie was on vacation at a resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007, when she vanished from her bed while her parents were having dinner a short distance away, on the same resort property. There have never been any arrests in the disappearance or any confirmed sightings of the little girl. Her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, were at one time considered persons of interest by police in Portugal, but have long maintained they have no idea what happened to their daughter and have vocally advocated for a continued investigation in the 12 years since Maddie went missing.
It is not certain if the man described in the documentary, who is reportedly believed to be responsible for 28 attacks within a 40-mile radius of Praia da Luz around the time Maddie disappeared, is the same person of interest referenced in the Portuguese media reports.
“One startling element is the sheer number of cases in which there’s evidence that a sexual predator had been active in the area of Praia da Luz, within 40 miles of where Madeleine McCann disappeared,” author and investigator Anthony Summers reportedly said in the documentary.
“One case that we came across, the parents of the children had been asleep in their bedroom with the door closed and their two daughters, an 11-year-old and a seven-year-old had been asleep in the next door room … He’d come in and laid down on the bed of the younger child. From what the little girl told her parents afterwards the man had come into the room wearing a sort of medical mask.
“The child had said: ‘Is that you daddy?’ (He replied) saying ‘yes’, but sounding like a foreigner.”
According to The Sun report, the suspected pedophile speaks English — meaning that he would have been able to communicate with Maddie, who is British. An unnamed insider told the news outlet that the man is believed to have targeted multiple British families.
A spokesperson for Policia Judiciaria declined to comment to the Telegraph about reports of a possible new suspect, as did a spokesperson for the Scotland Yard.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner confirmed to the news outlet that investigators were still pursuing “active lines of inquiry.”