Portuguese put top cop in charge of the search

Portuguese put top cop in charge of the search
9 October 2007
Evening Herald

ONE of Portugal's most senior detectives today took charge of the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.

Paulo Rebelo, a senior criminal investigation co-ordinator at national police headquarters in Lisbon, will now lead the inquiry.

Mr Rebelo was expected to move to southern Portugal, where Madeleine vanished 159 days ago on May 3, a Portuguese police spokeswoman said.

The detective, who will start work later this week, has investigated several high-profile cases including claims of a child sex ring at a state-run children's home.

Portuguese police chiefs will want the new leader to bring fresh momentum and stability to the troubled and controversial inquiry.

Goncalo Amaral (above) was removed from the investigation last week after criticising British police in a newspaper interview.

The officer claimed detectives were being misled by the girl's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, who are suspects in the case.

Mr Amaral, who headed the regional Policia Judiciaria in Portimao, also accused the McCanns of releasing new information each day in a bid to confuse the inquiry.

After the move, another senior officer, Chief Inspector Tavares Almeida, asked for an extended leave of absence.

Goncalo Amaral was taken off the case following his claim that Kate and Gerry McCann had been calling the shots by identifying lines of enquiry for Leicestershire officers.

The detective, who heads the regional Policia Judiciaria in Portimao, was also said to have engaged in three hour boozy lunches at the height of the investigation into Maddie's disappearance.


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