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According to British police, the timeline and “accepted version of events” surrounding Madeleine McCann’s disappearance have significantly changed.

The Metropolitan Police said a BBC Crimewatch appeal to be aired on Monday would feature “the most detailed reconstruction” of the case yet.

It will also broadcast e-fits of a number of men police want to find.

Madeleine McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was 3-year-old when she went missing in Portugal in May 2007.

She disappeared from her family’s holiday flat in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz, as her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, dined out with friends at a nearby restaurant.

Portuguese authorities dropped their investigation into the case in 2008, but Scotland Yard started a review in May 2011.

The purpose of the Crimewatch appeal, which police are describing as the “most complex and detailed” so far in the case, is to try to identify a number of computer-generated images, or e-fits, of men who were sighted in and around Praia da Luz on or before Thursday, May 3, 2007.

As part of that effort, a reconstruction – almost 25 minutes long – of events leading up to and surrounding Madeleine’s disappearance will be shown.

Madeleine McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was 3-year-old when she went missing in Portugal in May 2007

Madeleine McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was 3-year-old when she went missing in Portugal in May 2007

A short clip released in advance by police shows an actress playing Madeleine McCann running across a tennis court as two adults, apparently her parents, play a game.

During the search for their daughter, the McCann family released a photograph of Madeleine, believed to be one of the last taken of her during the holiday, holding several tennis balls.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who is heading the investigation, said: “The timeline we have now established has given new significance to sightings and movements of people in and around Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.

“Our work to date has significantly changed the timeline and the accepted version of events that has been in the public domain to date.

“It has allowed us to work with Crimewatch to build the most detailed reconstruction as yet, and highlight very specific appeal points.

“I hope that when the public see our investigative strands drawn together within the overall context of that appeal, it will bring in new information that moves our investigation forward.”

Andy Redwood said that police had sought to “try and draw everything back to zero… take everything back to the beginning and then reanalyze and reassess everything, accepting nothing”.

He added: “The careful and critical analysis of the timeline has been absolutely key. Primarily, we are focused on the area between 8.30 p.m. and 10 p.m.

“We know that at 8.30, that was the time that Mr. and Mrs. McCann went down to the tapas area for their dinner, and we know that at around 10 p.m., that was when Mrs. McCann found that Madeleine was missing.”

Madeleine McCann’s parents will make a live appeal in the studio during the programme and, ahead of the broadcast.

“When it’s a special occasion, when you should be at your happiest, and Madeleine’s not there, that’s when it really hits home,” Gerry McCann said.

Kate McCann added: “It’s when you have the big family occasions… and you haven’t got your complete family.”

Earlier this month, police said phone records may be key to the case after it emerged officers were analyzing data from phones belonging to people who were in Praia da Luz when Madeleine vanished.

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Scotland Yard detectives believe mobile phone records may hold the key to solving the Madeleine McCann case.

Three-year-old Madeleine McCann, of Rothley, Leicestershire, vanished on holiday in Praia de Luz, Portugal, in 2007.

Police are analyzing data from thousands of phones belonging to people in the village at the time. There are 41 potential suspects, they say.

A major appeal based on “substantive” new information will be broadcast on the BBC’s Crimewatch on October 14.

Madeleine McCann was days away from her fourth birthday when she disappeared from her family’s holiday apartment.

Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood, who is leading the inquiry, said officers were examining a “substantial amount of data” from mobile phones thought to belong to people who were in the resort of Praia de Luz in the days just before, during and after Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.

Police are trying to identify the owner of each phone to build up a picture of exactly who was in the area. More than 3,000 people live in Praia de Luz, while holidaymakers and seasonal workers visit from countries across the world.

“This is not just a general trawl,” said Det. Ch. Insp. Andy Redwood.

“It’s a targeted attack on that data to see if it assists us to find out what happened to Madeleine McCann at that time.”

Detective Chief Inspector Redwood said officers had so far been unable to attribute a “large number” of mobile numbers and admitted that it was difficult to do so with phones bought six years ago on a pay-as-you-go basis.

The records also contain information on which phone numbers were dialed and when calls were made. It is thought some phone numbers might appear on police intelligence systems or be linked to criminals.

“We can see what the phone is doing, but we can’t see the text messages,” said the detective.

Scotland Yard detectives believe mobile phone records may hold the key to solving the Madeleine McCann case

Scotland Yard detectives believe mobile phone records may hold the key to solving the Madeleine McCann case

“It shows a timeline of the call data.”

According to Scotland Yard, the phone records had been “looked at” during the initial Portuguese police investigation but not in detail.

Asked by reporters if the information held the key to the investigation, Det. Ch. Insp. Andy Redwood replied: “It could do.”

He said there was no CCTV available – evidence which is often used to help solve missing persons inquiries in the UK.

Scotland Yard announced it was launching an investigation into Madeleine McCann’s disappearance in July – after spending two years reviewing the case, under the codename Operation Grange.

At that time, detectives said there were 38 “persons of interest” from five different countries – Portugal, the UK and three others that were not named.

Police said the number had now gone up to 41, of whom 15 were UK nationals.

However, detectives said work was “pretty now complete” on three of the Britons and they were likely to be struck off the list in the near future.

No one has been arrested.

Since July, police have formally requested the co-operation of the Portuguese authorities and a team of six senior detectives from Faro, in the Algarve, has begun working on the inquiry. Portuguese authorities dropped their investigation into her disappearance in 2008.

Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley said it was a “good and professional” relationship and it was hoped that in future a small group of Scotland Yard detectives would be based in the Algarve to work with the Portuguese.

“It’s easier to do it alongside than at a distance,” he said.

Law enforcement agencies in 30 other countries – most of them in Europe – have also been asked for their assistance, principally to trace people thought to have been in Praia de Luz at the time.

Appeals for witnesses and information are also expected to air in Germany, the Netherlands and, possibly, the Republic of Ireland – the countries where most of the tourists in Praia de Luz came from.

The Crimewatch programme will feature a reconstruction and interviews with Kate and Gerry McCann, who, for the first time, will appear alongside detectives working on the investigation.

Police said the investigation was “gathering momentum”, though much work was still to be done.

Of 39,148 documents from the various police and private investigator inquiries detectives from Operation Grange have processed 21,614 of them.

The number of police tasks, known as “actions”, to be carried out by the new 37-strong investigative team numbers 4,920, of which 2,123 have been completed.

Andy Redwood said police were working backwards from the moment Madeleine McCann went missing to understand what happened to her.

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British cleaners and Portuguese manual workers are among new suspects in the Madeleine McCann investigation, according to recent reports in UK’s media.

Scotland Yard identified what they describe as “people of interest” during a review of the Portuguese inquiry into the 3-year-old’s disappearance in May, 2007.

The suspects are thought to number 12 – not 20 as has been reported – and include a number of British cleaners who were working near the apartment complex where Madeleine McCann, twin siblings Sean and Amelie and parents Gerry and Kate were staying.

Sources said “low-level” workers – handymen, cleaners and gardeners – have become the focus of interest. Some are thought to have been employed by the Ocean Club complex on a casual basis and may have already been interviewed.
Police are said to be keen to trace six British cleaners who were working in Praia da Luz when Madeleine McCann vanished and who didn’t appear in the Portuguese files.

They are said to have used a white van and went from apartment to apartment offering their services, chiefly concentrating on expats.

A source said: “There is quite a culture of people drifting from door to door offering services from everything from your garden to your roof or windows.”

As well as the manual workers there are a number of more obvious suspects who already appear in the Portuguese files but who British police feel haven’t been “bottomed out” properly and therefore warrant further investigation.

British cleaners and Portuguese manual workers are among new suspects in the Madeleine McCann investigation

British cleaners and Portuguese manual workers are among new suspects in the Madeleine McCann investigation

“There are a lot of people who could be explored further, if only to be eliminated,” said Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell, head of Scotland Yard’s Homicide and Serious Crime Command.

However, officers face having to break down Portuguese resistance to re-opening the inquiry. Officials in Lisbon say they can reopen the case only if there is new evidence. But it has been claimed that the new leads could, if properly explored, result in new evidence and possibly solve the Madeleine McCann mystery.

Detectives examining the Portuguese files were alarmed that the original inquiry had not traced and interviewed all the staff and holidaymakers who were at the Ocean Club when Madeleine McCann went missing.

Last year the Met Police said that it had identified 195 fresh leads that should have been investigated either by conducting further witness interviews, eliminating suspects or carrying out forensic tests that were missing from the 2007 inquiry.

Officers found unexplained gaps in the investigation timeline and that there had been a complete lack of forensic examination of mobile phone activity in the area on the night Madeleine McCann disappeared.

Hamish Campbell said it was “perfectly probable” that information which could identify the suspect responsible for Madeleine McCann’s disappearance was already in the Portuguese files.

He reiterated a claim that Madeleine McCann could still be alive. He said: “You only have to look at the case in Cleveland, Ohio, and the European cases. Of course there is a possibility she is alive. But the key is to investigate the case and, alive or dead, we should be able to try and discern what happened.”

The McCanns, of Rothley, Leicestershire, have been kept closely informed of Scotland Yard’s review – codenamed Operation Grange – over the past two years.

A spokesman for Gerry and Kate McCann said: “They have been encouraged from the moment the review started and are now greatly encouraged that police have drawn up a short list of people who they believe are of interest to the inquiry.”

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