Thursday, May 17, 2007


Madeleine police: We still lack evidence.
May 17, 2007

David Brown and Steve Bird in Praia da Luz and Sam Knight.

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Two weeks after the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in the Algarve, Portuguese police admitted this evening that they still do not have enough evidence to make an arrest.

At a news conference in Portimao, the provincial town close to the village of Praia da Luz, where Madeleine was last seen on the night of May 3, Olegario Sousa, the detective leading the investigation, said the latest man interviewed by police was not regarded as a suspect.

"To this moment we do not have enough evidence to arrest anybody," said Mr Sousa, the day after a Russian website designer was questioned by police because of his alleged links to Robert Murat, the British father identified as the only suspect in the case so far.

Mr Sousa said that several items had been seized from the home of Sergei Malinka, 22, who is believed to have had several telephone conversations with Mr Murat around the time of Madeleine's disappearance two weeks ago. But he conceded that Mr Malinka remained a witness in the case. He also dismissed reports in the Portuguese press today that police were investigating a sighting of a girl similar to Madeleine in a red car in southern Lisbon. Mr Sousa said the focus of the inquiry remained in the Algarve.

Earlier today, Mr Malinka said he had been ruined by his involvement in the investigation even though the computer equipment seized from his home was returned today after police found no incriminating evidence.

Mr Malinka, who lives with his parents just 500 yards from Madeleine’s holiday apartment, said: “My telephone number was on Mr Murat’s mobile phone.

"Everybody on his telephone has been spoken to. But I can’t comment on telephone calls. I’ve invested seven years of my life in this country trying to succeed and suddenly in one hour it’s all fallen apart.” Mr Malinka he was “completely” innocent and had no criminal record in any country.


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