Madeleine McCann is a name that most of us are familiar with by now; she was just three years old when she was taken from the vacation home she was staying in with her family in Portugal. That was back in 2007, and so much time has gone by that the case has been closed and reopened. Now, investigators want to find the man responsible for several sexual assaults on children in the same area around that time because he could be the break they need in the case.
The man is described as being tan with short dark hair and a heavy accent, and reportedly broke into at least 12 vacation homes in and around the area the McCanns were staying in. Girls between the ages of 7 and 12 report being assaulted by the man in at least four cases.
"Whilst not identical, there are many similar aspects to each of the incidents in that in most cases there were no signs of forced entry to the property, nothing was taken, and the intruder appeared in the early hours of the morning," police said in a statement. "The suspect may have been in the villa or looking round the villa for some time before committing the offenses or being disturbed either by a parent coming in, or the child waking up. He remained calm, even when disturbed."
Two of the attacks occurred at Praia da Luz, where the McCann family was staying. The assaults weren't connected to Madeleine's disappearance at first because they were spread out over such a wide area--and length of time--and no attempts at an abduction were ever made during those times. The man was never found, but investigators say he was described by more than one victim as wearing a very distinctive shirt, as seen here.
“This is an offender who has got a very, very unhealthy interest in young, white, female children who he is attacking whilst they are on holiday in their beds,” Detective Redwood said. “While I completely accept that there are differences (between the break-ins and the McCann case), there is no abduction that we can see, but the assumption from that is that Madeleine McCann has been abducted. That may not necessarily follow with all our thinking about what may have become of Madeleine McCann. It is really critical for us to identify this offender and prove or disprove whether he was involved in Madeleine’s disappearance.”
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