'The pieces of the jigsaw are fitting together': Madeleine McCann's parents 'encouraged' by new leads

Scotland Yard detectives working on the case say they have uncovered new lines of inquiry

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The Independent Online

The parents of Madeleine McCann have said the ‘pieces of the jigsaw’ are now fitting together in the investigation into the disappearance of their daughter in Portugal.

Scotland Yard detectives working on the case say they have uncovered new lines of inquiry by examining phone records from around the time the-then-three-year-old disappeared in Portugal in May 2007.

Detectives revealed they have the most 'complete picture to date' of what happened when Madeleine disappeared from Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz.

The statement from the McCann's said they were "greatly encouraged" by the new information.

The developments came as a reconstruction of the "latest, most detailed understanding" of the events around the time of the disappearance was set to be shown on BBC Crimewatch a week on Monday.

The Metropolitan Police revealed that more than 400 people - including new witnesses - have been interviewed since a new investigation was ordered in May 2011.

Earlier this week, the Yard also revealed that since launching its own investigation, 41 people of interest have been identified, including 15 UK nationals, up from 38 people of interest including 12 UK nationals established in July. Detectives have issued 31 international letters of request (ILOR) to mostly European countries in relation to some of the persons of interest as well as accessing phone records.

Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, said: "We are greatly encouraged by new information coming to light with pieces of the jigsaw now fitting together.

We are really hopeful that the forthcoming appeal on Crimewatch will bring further new evidence which will take us a step closer to finding Madeleine and to bringing those responsible for her abduction to justice."

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, the senior investigating officer, said: "We now believe we have the most complete picture to date of the events surrounding her disappearance.

"We are now making targeted and new appeals for help from the public. I truly believe there are people out there who hold the key to Madeleine's disappearance, and that so far they may be completely unaware of that fact."

Crimewatch presenter Kirsty Young speaks to the McCanns in the new programme, while presenter Matthew Amroliwala has been to Praia da Luz to explore the new focus of the police investigation.

The McCanns and Mr Redwood will also be speaking to Kirsty live in the studio.

Crimewatch editor Joe Mather said: "We've been working very closely with the Metropolitan Police on a new Madeleine McCann appeal for several months.

"We're very hopeful that this major reconstruction along with the substantial new lines of enquiry will prompt viewers with vital information to get in touch with the officers in studio on the night of the programme."

A large but "manageable" list of phone numbers identified as being present in Praia da Luz - though not necessarily used to make phone calls - has been drawn up by detectives with a "significant" number unattributed to any named person. And significantly, police officers are now able to create a log showing calls being made at the time of Madeleine's disappearance.

The latest appeal will also be broadcast in Holland and Germany.

Additional reporting by the Press Association