By Andrew Osborn
Police conducting a global search for Madeleine McCann, the British girl who disappeared in 2007, have come up with a new version of events surrounding her suspected abduction and want to question one unidentified man in particular.
McCann, then aged three, went missing from her room at the Praia da Luz holiday resort in Portugal in May 2007 while her parents were dining with friends at a nearby restaurant, triggering a search that gripped the world’s media.
In a statement on Sunday ahead of their most detailed TV appeal for information on the case, British police said they planned to release a series of e-fit images of individuals they want to question.
“The purpose of the appeal is to try and identify these men, to eliminate any innocent sightings or to establish if they are connected in any way,” British police said.
“The timeline we have now established has given new significance to sightings and movements of people.”
Police said they wanted to identify one man in particular who had been seen by two witnesses in the resort area around the time of McCann’s disappearance.
“Whilst this man may or may not be the key to unlocking this investigation, tracing and speaking to him is of vital importance to us,” Detective Chief Inspector Andy Redwood said.
Working with the BBC’s Crimewatch programme, police said they had put together the most detailed reconstruction of the day McCann disappeared.
It is to be broadcast in Britain on Monday before similar appeals are launched in the Netherlands and Germany, they said.
“Our work to date has significantly changed the timeline and the accepted version of events,” said Redwood, without giving further details.
British police began their own inquiry into the disappearance in July, saying they believed McCann might still be alive.