UK & World News
Madeleine McCann: Portugal Cops May Open Case
Portuguese police are to request that the Madeleine McCann investigation be reopened, according to local media.
Police in Oporto have been reviewing the case and have identified a number of issues they wish to clarify, an unnamed police source was quoted as saying.
The team is said to have had no involvement in the original Portuguese police investigation which ended in 2008 and was heavily criticised in the British media.
Carrie-Marie Bratley, who works for the Portugal News in Lagoa, in the Algarve, said the officers "were chosen for their emotional and physical distance from this case in the hope that maybe they could go over it with a fine-tooth comb and come up with something, which it seems they may have done".
Reopening the case would allow them "to talk to people who are maybe of interest that were possibly overlooked during the original investigation", she said.
She told Sky News: "There are people who are extremely supportive of the McCanns, there are people who are extremely sympathetic ... and they are very much interested in this case.
"As you have those people who for whatever reason may have become slightly desensitised, whether that is because they fear for the reputation of the region that they live in, whether it's just because they're frustrated that there's been no concrete outcomes, no answers to this.
"It very much remains a mystery," she added.
The move to re-examine the case in the country where Madeleine went missing - which the Metropolitan Police have always said they would welcome - comes after a fresh appeal for information was aired in the UK, Holland and Germany.
Scotland Yard received more than 2,400 phone calls from across Europe following the broadcast of a reconstruction of events leading up to the three-year-old's disappearance in 2007.
A spokesman for the McCanns reportedly said the change of heart may be partly due to publicity surrounding the case after the fresh appeal - and the recent discovery of an allegedly abducted blonde girl, known as Maria, who was found living with a Roma family in Greece.
"Kate and Gerry don't want to get their hopes up too much. But if the Portuguese do resume their investigation it would be a significant development and an important step forward," the Daily Mirror reported the spokesman as saying.
Sky's Tom Parmenter said: "From what we understand the decision by the Portuguese is one for them to make alone, and their decision to reconsider opening the investigation is something that has come through their work rather than necessarily the work carried out by officers based here.
"It will be seen as quite a significant development all these years on."
British police say their review of the case suggests it was a premeditated abduction, with their focus turning towards a man seen carrying a child at about the same time Madeleine was found to be missing from the family's holiday apartment.
Detectives have released two e-fit images of a man they want to speak to in connection with the case based on the accounts of two witnesses.
Both described seeing him in Praia da Luz on the evening of May 3, as Madeleine's parents dined at a nearby tapas restaurant with friends.
Four other e-fits based on witness accounts of men seen in the area, some of whom may have been working as "charity collectors" who may or may not be genuine, were also released.
An appeal is due to air on Irish television later this month.