Madeleine McCann: Police investigating 'new suspect' after fresh clue emerges in Portugal
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Madeleine McCann: Police investigating 'new suspect' after fresh clue emerges in Portugal

POLICE investigating the notorious disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal have identified a new kidnap suspect, according to local reports.

Three-year-old Maddie vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz on the Algarve coast exactly 12 years ago on May 3, 2007.

Lisbon-based newspaper Correio da Manhã now claims judicial police have been given extra resources to look into a "new clue" and "new suspect" in the infamous case.

According to the paper, Polícia Judiciária (PJ) in Porto do not consider Madeleine's parents Gerry and Kate McCann to be involved in the fresh lead but rather a suspect who they are keeping "an absolute secret".

PJ detetives reportedly have "many doubts" that Madeleine is still alive and believe they are "closer to knowing what happened" to the toddler, while prosecutors turned down a request for further information from the tabloid due to "active lines of investigation".

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12 long years

The controversial Portuguese investigation into Maddie's disappearance was re-opened in October 2013 when convicted burglar Euclides Monteiro was linked to the inquiry.

Monteiro worked at the Ocean Club Resort in Praia da Luz from which Maddie vanished, but died in a tractor accident in 2009 before he could be questioned.

Scotland Yard launched its own investigation into the disappearance, Operation Grange, after the much-maligned probe in Portugal came to a standstill - with a cost of over £12 million to UK taxpayers so far.

Mr and Mrs McCann, who live in Rothley, Leicestershire, have always pledged never to give up the search for their missing daughter.

In a statement released today to mark the 12th anniversary of their daughter's disappearance, Mr and Mrs McCann vowed to carry on looking for Madeleine "for as long as it takes".

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Maddie vanished from this Praia da Luz holiday apartment on the evening of May 3, 2007 (Images: File)

The couple will attend a church service near their home in Rothley, Leicestershire this afternoon to mark the sad anniversary.

They said: "As much as we’d like to fast forward the first couple of weeks of May, there’s no getting around it. The months and years roll by too quickly.

"Madeleine will be sixteen this month. It’s impossible to put into words just how that makes us feel.

"There is comfort and reassurance though in knowing that the investigation continues and many people around the world remain vigilant."

Metropolitan Police chief Cressida Dick confirmed yesterday that the force had applied for extra funds from the Home Office to continue Operation Grange.

"We have active lines of inquiries and I think the public would expect us to see those through," she said.

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"A very small team continues to work on this case with Portuguese colleagues and we have put in an application to the Home Office for further funding."