STOP PRESS: As work wound down for the weekend, news services reported that Lisbon judges have finally given Metropolitan Police the go-ahead they need to interview “eight people of interest” – including three convicted drug dealers.The Met’s theory, say newspapers, is that “Madeleine was snatched by a panicked gang who accidentally woke her in the family’s apartment and took her with them”.
Mobile phone analysis is reported to have been key in the elaboration of this theory.
The interviews are believed to be pending the conclusion of current excavation work on the ground in Praia da Luz.
Meantime, it is understood that scraps of clothing have been removed by detectives for DNA analysis.
As Metropolitan police are reported to be extending their on-site investigations in and around Praia da Luz – and the Portuguese press is full of reports on how they have “got it all wrong” – a military helicopter has been “extremely busy” flying in and out of a nearby airfield. Locals who have been watching the flights are beginning to wonder.
“Is there something we are not being told?” one queried.
In Praia da Luz, police searches thus far appear to have yielded no more than a few animal bones, a sock and a local children’s ‘hidden away’ play hole – but with British police on a tight rein from local authorities who have warned them not to talk about the investigation to the press, it could be that certain developments are underway.
What is certain is that a military helicopter has been flying in and out of Lagos airfield since dawn on Thursday morning.
“It’s like musical helicopters down here,” our source reported, suggesting that “if any material is found, I suppose it would be fast-tracked to wherever the labs are”.
Meantime, Portuguese press has been scathing of the high-profile police search that is using georadar, sniffer dogs and upwards of 30 uniformed officers.
Former PJ chief inspector and current TV commentator Carlos Anjos has suggested that the land being searched so minutely by the Met “has been gone over before by everyone. This work makes no sense at all,” he said on television earlier in the week.
Also damning is the former detective who led investigations when Madeleine first went missing.
Talking to reporters, Gonçalo Amaral said the theory that Madeleine may have been murdered and then buried nearby by someone who broke into the apartment with robbery in mind is simply “not believable”.
This is, nonetheless, the theory that newspapers report British detectives are running with.
Whether or not this theory is a blind – along with reports of animal bones and the odd sock – is another question entirely.