Father of missing eight-year-old daughter arrested

The Portuguese father who abducted his eight-year-old daughter and defied a court ruling to return the child to her Irish mother has been located after a search of six months and arrested last Friday. But during interrogation, he refused to reveal her whereabouts.

Filipe Silva, a contractor working in Vilamoura, was detained in Lisbonafter a concentrated police investigation supported by an internet appealon Facebookwhich attracted10,000 people offering sympathy and support.

The internet search campaign was instigated by the Irish mother of the girl, Candice Kelly, who claims that the child’s father is “mentally unstable”.

Filipe Silva had ignored a court order in July to return Ellie Silva to her mother and the Polícia Judiciária subsequently made an order forbidding him to leave the country. Information on the abduction was disseminated to the EU authorities under the Schengen Exchange of Information agreement.

Filipe Silva had made a further voluntary appearance in court (Tribunal de Familia e Menores de Faro) in September when he was ordered to hand over Ellie Silva to her mother. He promised to fetch the girl but then disappeared with her.

Ellie had been staying on holiday with Filipe Silva at an apartment in Vilamoura owned by a member of his family before she and her father went missing.

Filipe Silva now faces a court hearing on the alleged charge of kidnapping his daughter.

Meanwhile, the authorities were this week still trying to determine the whereabouts of eight-year-old Ellie.