Madeleine McCann: A new kidnapping suspect emerges in 2007 case

Madeleine McCann case reopened: Portuguese police have a new suspect in the mysterious disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann. A former employee of the Ocean Club resort is being investigated.

Sang Tan/AP/File
Kate and Gerry McCann in 2012 show a poster depicting an age-progression computer-generated image of their daughter Madeleine at 9 years of age, to mark her birthday and the fifth anniversary of her disappearance during a family vacation in southern Portugal in May 2007. Last week, Portuguese prosecutors reopened the investigation into the disappearance of British girl after finding new leads in the case.

Could the Madeleine McCann case finally be solved?

Or is this just another wild goose chase?

Last week, Portuguese prosecutors suddenly reopened their investigation into the 2007 disappearance of British toddler Madeleine McCann.

British and Portuguese media now report that the leading suspect is Euclides Monteiro, an immigrant who was a restaurant worker at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, which is where nearly 4-year old Madeleine was last seen.  Mr. Monteiro was fired shortly before her disappearance and may have kidnapped the girl as an act of revenge against his former employer, according to the Portuguese daily Correio da Manha.

Another theory is that Monteiro stumbled upon Madeleine when he was robbing her parents' room. Monteiro was a heroin addict, reports the Daily Mirror, and was fired for stealing from the resort.

Portuguese detectives suspect that he may have killed the child after seeing the huge media coverage the crime generated, the Correio da Manha reports.

There is no official word on the case from Portuguese police, who had said upon reopening the investigation that legal constraints prevented them from making public statements.

Monteiro died in a tractor accident in 2009. His widow, Luisa, insists her husband is innocent.

“It is disgusting they are now looking for a dead man as a scapegoat," she told the Daily Mirror. “It’s very easy to blame someone who can’t defend themselves anymore. My husband would never be capable of committing such a crime.”

The British newspaper also quotes Monteiro’s friend Sergio Paulo, who confirmed that his friend's drug habit led him to a life of crime – although he, too, doubted that Monteiro would have kidnapped Madeleine.

 “Toni was a good guy but had some serious drug problems. He would smoke heroin and became a slave to it," said Paulo. “I know he would sometimes break into apartments and rob them. He was taking valuables from rooms at Ocean Club and selling them for drugs.”

Madeleine disappeared from her parents' room at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007 while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant.

Portuguese police closed their investigation in 2008.
British police welcomed the decision last week by Portuguese authorities to reopen the case, according to Reuters.

"But both sides of the investigation are at relatively early stages, with much work remaining to be done," said Mark Rowley, assistant commissioner for Specialist Crime and Operations at London's Metropolitan Police.

"This new momentum is encouraging, but we still have a way to go, and as with all major investigations, not all lines of enquiry that look promising will yield results," said Rowley.

British police said this month they had received hundreds of calls following a new television appeal that suggested Madeleine was snatched in a planned abduction and that they wanted to trace a number of men, including some thought to be either Scandinavian or German.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.