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Police helicopter scans land around missing boy’s home as investigation “centres on family”

New lines of investigation have led police searching for missing Portimão teen Rodrigo Lapa to question his former stepfather who travelled to Brazil on the day the 15-year-old went missing.

National tabloid Correio da Manhã suggests in today’s front page that detectives are “honing in on the family”.

There are a number of questions in the air, as mother Célia originally said there was “no atmosphere” at home, but she has since “explained” that Rodrigo and her former partner “had an argument”.

It was “nothing that would justify what happened”, she told the paper, but on Monday afternoon – hours before she reported Rodrigo missing – her former partner and the father of her six-month-old baby returned to Brazil “because that was his homeland”.

It was a journey booked a month ago, as the couple’s relationship “had finished”, she said.

Police have since spoken with the stepfather, named by CM as Joaquim, and he is reported to be “available to collaborate”.

Further information on Rodrigo’s family relationships has also emerged.

According to CM, the youngster lived with his father until 18 months ago.

The father has “refused to talk” to CM, saying only that he will speak once Rodrigo reappears.

On that score, police confirm they are still no nearer a scenario as to what has happened to the boy.

His disappearance “could be a kidnapping, a murder or he could have gone missing on purpose”, writes CM.

Pupils at Estômbar’s Professor João Cónim school have confirmed that Rodrigo was not at school on the Friday before he disappeared.

“He sent a message to one of our friends to say he was ill,” a fellow-pupil told the paper. “Then on the Monday, he didn’t turn up.”

As a Kamov helicopter was drafted in to scan the land around the family’s Malheiro home and overfly the areas he is thought to have passed on his way towards Estômbar, CM reports that two people “guarantee” that they have seen Rodrigo since last Monday.

One claims to have seen him getting into a white car in Odiáxere and another says he saw the teen “asking for money in Sines”.

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