Madeleine McCann Cops Poised to Make Arrests in Her Disappearance

Cops seek three burglars who were active in the area.

ByABC News
January 13, 2014, 9:26 AM

LONDON Jan. 13, 2014— -- London police appear poised to make an arrest in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the girl who was 3 when she vanished while on a Portuguese vacation with her family nearly seven years ago.

The arrests of a trio of alleged burglars who had been active in the neighborhood would be the result of Operation Grange, the reopening of the McCann investigation three years ago.

"We can confirm that a second International Letter of Request has been sent to the Portuguese authorities by the Crown Prosecution Services this week... in connection with Operation Grange,'' Scotland Yard told ABC News in a statement. The authorities would not discuss any further details.

The McCann family spokesman refused to comment about the investigation.

"I'm afraid we are saying nothing about any aspect of Operation Grange whilst the police work continues, least of all about any tabloid speculation surrounding it,'' the spokesman told ABC News.

Scotland Yard is reportedly working with Portuguese police to find, detain and question three men believed to be burglars who were operating in the area where Madeleine and her family were on vacation in Portugal.

After pouring over records containing hundreds of cell phone numbers used during the time Maddie vanished, police found a high number of calls were made between these men in the hours after her disappearance.

Last year, Scotland Yard said one of their significant lines of inquiry was the four-fold increase in burglaries in the resort where the McCanns had been staying, peaking in April 2007. Madeleine disappeared in May 2007. Two of the burglaries took place in April in the apartment block where the McCann family was staying. In both of the April burglaries entry was gained via a window.

Madeleine was just days away from her fourth birthday when she vanished from her hotel room bed while her parents dined at a nearby restaurant. Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were immediately named suspects by Portuguese police, but were eventually cleared.

For the past seven years since her disappearance, the McCanns have campaigned to keep her name and picture in the news, most recently making a heartfelt plea to anyone who has any information on her disappearance on Britain's version of America's most wanted late last year. The show featured a re-enactment of the most detailed sequence of events the night she went missing, generating more than 300 phone calls and 170 emails with specific lines of inquiry relating to Maddie's case.

Last July, when Scotland Yard decided to move from a review to an investigation, Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said he believed there is a possibility she is alive.

''There is no clear, definitive proof that Madeleine McCann is dead, so on that basis I still genuinely believe that there is a possibility that she is alive,'' Redwood said.