New Video, Old Suspect in McCann Case

With Portuguese officials still tight-lipped on the case of British toddler Madeleine McCann's disappearance in May, word is emerging of a video that showed Maddie dining out just hours before she vanished, while a suspect is denying a published report that police told him they had eliminated him from suspicion.

Robert Murat, 33, the first person to be declared a suspect in the toddler's disappearance, told ABC News Saturday that he believes he's still under suspicion.

"The reports are completely incorrect," Murat said in a telephone interview from his home in Praia da Luz. "I have not been cleared because I have not been officially informed by police."

Madeleine's Last Images?

The renewed media focus on Murat came shortly after ABC News and other media outlets learned a beachside restaurant's closed-circuit camera allegedly photographed Madeleine McCann and her siblings dining just hours before the girl, who now would be 4, went missing.

The images of the McCanns and their friends at the Paraiso restaurant around 5:30 p.m. on May 3, which were said to be turned over to police, would be the last known images of Madeleine before her disappearance.

Eyewitnesses and the video -- as described to ABC News by Paraiso's owner Miguel Reyes -- appeared to refute another published Portuguese report in which an anonymous source claimed a group of friends did not see the McCanns at the restaurant. Kate and Gerry McCann, Maddie's parents, who also have been declared suspects by Portuguese authorities, have claimed they were at the restaurant early on the evening their daughter went missing.

"I was not here that night," Reyes told ABC News, "but I reviewed the footage from that night myself and both the McCanns were here with their friends, and so were their children."

Saturday's edition of 24horas, a local Portuguese daily, reported that a friend on holiday with the McCanns who asked not to be identified said none of the seven friends traveling with the McCanns saw Madeleine during the entire afternoon of May 3.

"The children in the group had dinner at Paraiso, but the McCanns were not there," the source allegedly told the paper, adding that they only saw Kate and Gerry again for dinner in the Tapas restaurant at about 8:30 p.m. that night.

"The group went [to Paraiso] many times," the source added, according to the article. "But I am certain that on the day of May 3, Kate and Gerry were not there."

However, 24horas' source stressed that he or she did not believe the McCanns were at all involved in the disappearance of their daughter.

The report that Murat was cleared appeared in the Portuguese weekly "Sol." The paper reported investigators working on the case told Murat they are convinced he had nothing to do with Madeleine's disappearance, but that he would need to remain an official suspect until the end of the investigation as a formality -- because to retract Murat's "arguido" status would mean excluding evidence gathered during his investigation that may prove relevant in hunting down additional suspects.

Portuguese police became suspicious of Murat, a British expat who lives with his mother in a house barely 100 meters from the apartment from which Madeleine disappeared, after he showed an unusual interest in the case, hanging around the crime scene and offering his services as translator to police.

Permission to Speak Denied

  • 1
  • |
  • 2
Join the Discussion
blog comments powered by Disqus
You Might Also Like...