As the search for British toddler Madeleine McCann enters its sixth night, police in Portugal have defended their handling of the case, saying they have followed up hundreds of leads. Local newspapers report detectives are investigating British paedophiles with links to the Algarve. The three-year-old from the English Midlands disappeared from a holiday apartment on Thursday night. Her parents were having dinner in a nearby restaurant.
Local police chief Olegario Sousa said: “Over 350 pieces of information, from different sources relating to suspicious incidents have been investigated. The police are using all necessary means and resources to find out what happened.”
Police said they have searched 500 apartments in and around the hotel where Madeleine disappeared near Praia da Luz. They are scouring an area 40 kilometres around the hotel.
Footballer Cristiano Ronaldo, a big star in Portugal, has made a personal appeal for help, in an attempt to boost the search. “I think we are all sad at what has happened. Please, if anybody has any kind of information, please tell us,” Ronaldo said.
As Portuguese newspapers speculate the girl may have been kidnapped by paedophiles or an international adoption ring, parents Gerry and Kate McCann can do nothing but wait and hope the police find their daughter.