The end of the 14-month Portuguese investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann – and the potential clearance of her parents of any involvement – came a step closer after it was confirmed that police have submitted their final report on the case.
Prosecutors in Portugal will decide next month whether to ask for further evidence or close the inquiry, thus declaring that Kate and Gerry McCann are no longer "arguidos" – formal suspects – in the disappearance of their three-year-old daughter from Praia da Luz in the Algarve on 3 May 2007. The couple, from Rothley, Leicesterhire, deny any involvement.
Portuguese newspapers reported that the case would be shelved because detectives have failed to establish whether Madeleine was abducted, murdered or her body concealed after an accident. But Portugal's attorney general, Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro, insisted that no final decision had been taken.
The McCanns' spokes-man, Clarence Mitchell, called for the couple's arguido status to be lifted but urged police not to leave the investigation files to "gather dust" and ensure that information was passed to private investigators working for the family.
He said: "Kate and Gerry will never give up searching for their daughter."Reuse content