The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Suspicion falls on mom who moved the world

Praia Da Luz (Portugal), Sept. 7 (Agencies): A British mother who has led a four-month campaign to find her missing toddler was herself said to have been declared a suspect in a Portuguese police investigation into the case after traces of blood were found in a rental car.

Kate McCann was questioned for more than four hours in her second straight day of interrogation into the disappearance of her four-year-old daughter, Madeleine, from a hotel room in southern Portugal. She left the police station today as her husband Gerry McCann entered to be interviewed separately in the southern Portuguese town of Portimao.

A police spokesperson confirmed that a new suspect had been named, but would not say it was Kate McCann.

Family friends said the mother told them she had been named a formal suspect and was offered a deal if she confessed, and that Gerry McCann was told he would likely also be named a suspect.

“They tried to get her to confess to having accidentally killed Madeleine by offering her a deal through her lawyer — ‘if you say you killed Madeleine by accident and then hid her and disposed of the body, we can guarantee you a two-year jail sentence or even less’,” Gerry McCann’s sister, Philomena, told ITV news. The couple professed their innocence on Friday.

The day’s developments marked a sharp and dramatic turn in a case that has pulled at the world’s heartstrings for months, ever since Kate McCann ran screaming from the hotel room claiming that the toddler had been abducted.

The McCanns, both doctors from central England, said they were dining at the time in a hotel restaurant, but returned frequently to check on Madeleine and her twin 2-year-old siblings.

Since then, the McCanns have toured Europe with photos, clothing and stuffed animals of Madeleine’s, even meeting Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. Celebrities, including J.K. Rowling and David Beckham, made public appeals that helped the family raise $2 million.

Until Friday, suspicion had focused on a British man. But police said new forensic tests found traces of blood in the couple’s car. The evidence was uncovered by sniffer dogs brought from Britain. A family spokesperson said the police allegations didn’t add up as the car had not been rented until 25 days after Madeleine’s May 3 disappearance.

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