By: CECÍLIA PIRES
MORE THAN 160 days since the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, the little girl and her parents continue to dominate the front pages of many newspapers in Portugal and the UK, with Gerry and Kate McCann switching from victims to murder suspects and vice versa virtually every day.
This last week has been no exception and new information about the forensic analysis being carried out at the Birmingham Forensic Science Service (FSS) generated mixed information.
A report from the FSS is expected to be received today (Friday) by the Portuguese police. The report is said to have stronger conclusions that will support the Polícia Judiciária’s line of investigation that points to the scenario of the accidental death of Madeleine McCann at the hands of her parents.
To support this theory, the main point that the Portuguese police want to see clarified is whether the hair found in the Renault Scenic, hired by the couple one month after May 3, was from Madeleine, did she lose it before or after her death. The forensic report is also expected to confirm if the hair showed any trace of sleeping drugs.
How Madeleine’s body fluids came to be in the boot of the Scenic, after an inspection by dogs especially brought from England in July, as well as the DNA confirmation of those samples, are both aspects to be confirmed by the tests.
After the document is received, Portuguese authorities have to decide about the next steps in the case, a decision which is now the responsibility of a new leading team following the replacement of the leading coordinator at the beginning of the week.
Gonçalo Amaral was dismissed by the national chief, Alípio Ribeiro, after he made some critical comments about the British police, saying they were being manipulated by the public relations strategy of the McCann camp.
Portimão PJ Office, where the case is being investigated, has a new leader, Paulo Rebelo, who is coming from Lisbon to take over the office, and the investigation, at the beginning of next week.
He is said to be a very discreet and experienced criminal investigator, with a “strong attitude” and “a natural capacity for leading his teams with tact”.
Although he is coming to the Algarve to lead the Portimão PJ headquarters, there are rumours within the police force that Paulo Rebelo could become the Polícia Judiciária’s regional chief.
In the meantime, Paulo Rebelo will have to work with the public prosecutor and the Public Ministry on the most media sensitive case he has ever directed.
If new enquiries are to be put to Gerry and Kate McCann, Paulo Rebelo will have to work in close cooperation with the British police as it is unlikely that UK authorities will extradite the couple for questioning or trial, if the case ends up going to court.
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