McCanns 'Greatly Encouraged' By New Leads

Kate and Gerry McCann have said they are "greatly encouraged" by the expanding UK police investigation into the case of their missing daughter Madeleine.

The couple released a statement indicating they believe new information made available to the police and a "detailed" Crimewatch reconstruction of events around the time the three-year-old went missing may finally turn up vital information.

"We are greatly encouraged by new information coming to light with pieces of the jigsaw now fitting together," they said.

"We are really hopeful that the forthcoming appeal on Crimewatch (Monday, October 14) 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."

Earlier this week, police said they were combing phone records of thousands of tourists and residents who were at the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine's disappearance in May 2007.

Metropolitan Police detectives, who have interviewed 442 people as part of their review-turned-investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, hope to track down as many people present in the resort on or around May 3, 2007 as possible.

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."

The Met 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 to mostly European countries in relation to some of the persons of interest as well as accessing phone records.

The Portuguese investigation is officially closed, but authorities there are backing the Met's inquiry and officers from both countries will work together in pursuing new leads.

The Metropolitan Police now has a team of six Portuguese detectives based in Faro, who are carrying out enquiries on its behalf.

The McCanns are currently suing former police chief Goncalo Amaral for libel over claims in his book The Truth Of The Lie.