25 June 2009
The Sun
Antonella Lazzeri
Test to quiz paedophile facing murder trial

A MURDER suspect due to be quizzed by detectives hunting Madeleine McCann is a convicted paedophile being chased over another abduction. Spanish police want to question the man over the disappearance of a boy of seven.

Little Jeremy Vargas vanished in 2007, just eight weeks before Maddie was snatched from her family's holiday flat in Portugal. He was playing outside his home in the Canary Islands. The new suspect, a middle-aged man, was living in Europe at the time under an assumed name. He is currently on remand in a British prison.

He is due to be tried over the alleged murder of a woman and is said to be facing other allegations linked to child abuse.

He was jailed for eight years in Britain in the 1990s for drugging and raping children aged between 11 and 15. But he went on the run and skipped the country after being released on parole.

And he was a free man when Jeremy and Maddie — aged three at the time — disappeared.

The private detectives hunting Maddie put him on a "hit list" of suspects after learning he was being trailed by the Spanish cops.

A source said: "The fact he is a paedophile wanted for questioning in the Vargas case makes him a 'person of interest' to the Maddie team.

"His background and where he was living at the time Maddie vanished mean he has been identified as one of around seven suspects they feel should be urgently interviewed."

Jeremy's disappearance was dubbed the "Spanish Maddie" by the nation's press.

And the boy's mother Ithaisa Suarez, 24, revealed Spanish cops had contact with Portuguese police probing Maddie's abduction.

She wrote to Maddie's mum Kate, of Rothley, Leics. And the two have stayed in touch.

Kate and husband Gerry have included information about the Jeremy case on their "Find Madeleine" website.

It is believed the Maddie detectives have asked bosses at the jail where the new suspect is being held if they can quiz him.

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