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
As news reports were called into question, Portuguese officials remained largely mum on McCann's disappearance.
Requests by Pedro Anjos Frias, the judge assigned to the case, to the Council of Superior Magistrates (CSM) in Lisbon for permission to speak publicly about the case were denied this week. An official CSM statement said the "caso Madeleine" was "still in the investigative stages" and that "any eventual information or clarification during the judicial proceedings would be given by the Council itself -- which for the time being it did not deem it necessary."
However, in what the McCann's supporters hailed as a major victory in their struggle to prove their innocence, Portuguese prosecutors announced Wednesday that they did not have enough evidence to warrant any further questioning of the McCanns, now back home in Britain, over the disappearance of their daughter.
Luis Bilro Verão, a senior prosecutor assigned to the case, said: "No new evidence justifying new interrogations have been obtained following the interrogations carried out the 7th of September."
He went on to say that he was satisfied with the McCanns' existing bail conditions -- namely that the couple were required to submit their current address to Portuguese officials and to inform them of any change of residence. However, he noted Wednesday's statement left the door open in case any fresh evidence came to light, adding that inquiries into the case were ongoing and that officials would not exclude any line of investigation.
Reaction from the McCann's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell, was swift.
"On the face of it, it does appear encouraging," he told reporters. "It is a step in the right direction."
The McCanns were named suspects in early September after tests on DNA samples found in their rental car pointed to possible involvement in Madeleine's disappearance, but they have always maintained their innocence.
Police Have Video
Reyes says he was surprised that no one ever asked him for the video from the night of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, and he told ABC News he handed over personally to police about three days after the toddler went missing.
"When I realized the family had been here that night, I watched the video, and took it to the police who were conducting investigations near the Ocean Club here in Luz," he said.
"I did not even have time to make a copy," he said. "They have the only original."
Employees at Paraiso also claimed the McCanns' were at the restaurant as they claim on the night of May 3.
"They were definitely here," said João, a waiter at Paraiso. "I saw them with Madeleine and the twins."
George, another waiter there, also confirmed the McCann family was there the night of Maddie's disappearance.
"When I saw the reports of a missing girl the next day, I remembered her; the parents, their friends and the children got here around 5 pm," he told ABC News. "They stayed about an hour but only the children had dinner, while the adults had a beer, but not a whole lot to drink."
Before the alleged existence of the Paraiso video, the last known photo of Maddie was taken by her mother at the Ocean Club's pool, indicating that the four-year old was alive and accounted for until 2:30 p.m. that day.
Another eight months lie ahead for Portuguese authorities to decide whether or not to charge the McCanns. In the meantime, it's going to be a long road ahead, said Carlos Anjos, president of the Union of Criminal Investigators.
"Unless we find Maddie's body," Anjos told reporters, "we don't know if the investigation will even be able to prove that a homicide ever took place."