On the way home! Police locate kidnapped Maria Alice in Belgium

A young Tavira mother’s two years of heartache finally came to an end just before midnight last night (Sunday).
A phone call from the PJ informed Carla Evangelista that her nine-year-old daughter had at last been found – 726 days after her father, Maritime policeman Paulo Guiomar, disappeared with the little girl on holiday.
Smiling and visibly delighted, Carla told SIC TV at lunchtime that the child had been found “hidden away” – she thinks in an attic – with her paternal grandmother.
As the Resident reported on Friday, Maria Alice’s father was taken into police custody last Thursday after having been tracked down to the house of relatives in Lisbon. But despite a reported 11-hours of questioning, he refused to divulge his daughter’s whereabouts.
As the SIC report elaborated, PJ police in the meantime contacted the police in Belgium, as they knew of family connections there.
And thus the desperate story that has dragged on through so many months has finally an ending in sight.
Whether Maria Alice has been in Belgium all along; whether she has been at school; what language she has been speaking – all these questions will be answered in due course.
For now, all Carla Evangelista knows is that the daughter she last saw aged seven is in good health and in the care of an institution in Belgium, while all the legalities are dealt with.
She still does not know whether she will be flying out to Maria Alice, or whether police will be returning to Portugal with her.
She simply knows the nightmare of “not knowing” is at last well and truly over.
Maria Alice disappeared at around the same time that the Algarve was the focus of another high-profile parental abduction – that of Gisela (Ellie) Silva by her father Filipe Silva.
And although Ellie has now been returned to the custody of her mother Candice in Northern Ireland and is enjoying a happy family life, the trial of Filipe Silva for her kidnapping has yet to come to court.
Ellie’s step-father Philip Gannon told the Resident that the family suspect it is being deliberately held up by an instructional judge in Faro.
“We will continue to badger the authorities,” he told us. “But it certainly looks as though Silva is not in the least bit worried about going to trial.”
Paulo Guiomar, however, remains in police custody. It is understood he will face a number of charges, including kidnapping, disobeying orders from Faro’s Family and Minors Court and abandoning his post at Tavira’s Maritime Police department without notice.