Missing girl's parents return to England

A British couple named as suspects in the disappearance of their 4-year-old daughter returned to England Sunday, days after being grilled by Portuguese police about new forensic evidence authorities believe ties them to the case.

Missing girl's parents return to England
A British couple named as suspects in the disappearance of their 4-year-old daughter returned to England Sunday, days after being grilled by Portuguese police about new forensic evidence authorities believe ties them to the case.

Kate and Gerry McCann flew from Faro in southern Portugal with their 2-year-old twins. On the airport tarmac in central England, Gerry McCann denied being involved in the disappearance of his 4-year-old daughter Madeleine and said the events of the last few days had been deeply disturbing.

"While it is heartbreaking to return to the U.K. without Madeleine, it does not mean we are giving up the search for her," he said.

"We have played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter Madeleine," he added.

On Friday, Portuguese police named the McCanns as suspects in Madeleine's May 3 disappearance, but did not confiscate their passports or restrict their movements.

As the plane took off, a family spokeswoman, Justine McGuinness, read out a brief statement, saying the McCanns were "returning to Britain after careful thought" and in order to allow their other children a more normal life.

McGuinness said the McCanns were contemplating "their response to and future actions in relation to the events of the last few days which have been so deeply disturbing to them," a reference to the police questioning. She said the couple were leaving with the authorization of Portuguese police.

The McCanns have said they would be available to return to Portugal for questioning if needed.

There are no charges against the McCanns. Nonetheless, police could have asked a court to block their departure.

The McCanns say Madeleine vanished from a hotel room in southern Portugal's Algarve region, where she and her siblings were sleeping, while her parents ate dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Until Friday, suspicion had centered on Robert Murat, a British man who lived near the hotel from which Madeleine disappeared, and who was the only formal suspect. No charges have ever been brought against him, and he has said he is innocent.

The case took a turn in recent days, after police said new forensic tests done on evidence gathered months after the girl vanished found traces of blood in the couple's car. The traces of blood, apparently missed in earlier forensic tests, were uncovered by sniffer dogs brought from Britain.

The McCanns had vowed not to leave Portugal until their daughter was found. But that stance seems to have changed even before police named them as suspects.

Gerry McCann said in a newspaper interview he was concerned their treatment indicates Portuguese police are under intense pressure to solve the case.

"We thought we were in our worst nightmare but now it just keeps getting worse and worse," he was quoted as saying in an interview with the Sunday newspaper The News of the World.

"We're desperate to get back for the kids' sake and emotional reasons," he was quoted as saying. "It's not that we're running away."

Gerry McCann's sister, Philomena, has said police had proposed a plea bargain, suggesting the girl might have been killed accidentally and offering the mother a limited sentence if she confessed.

The couple's ordeal has drawn attention around the world, partly because of an unprecedented international campaign they led to find their daughter.

The McCanns have toured Europe with photos of Madeleine and the child's stuffed animals and clothing, even meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. Celebrities including children's author J.K. Rowling and soccer star David Beckham made public appeals that helped the family raise more than $2 million.

AP
Last Mod: 09 Eylül 2007, 18:57
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semi_canada
semi_canada - 12 yıl Before

...the blood in the parents car!.... God only knows what happened! why they left three small kids unattended, and gone to dinner in the first place? in some countries, this is enough to be a crime!