What happened to Madeleine McCann? A timeline of the case

Suspect has parole request rejected 15 years on from toddler's disappearance

Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann: UK police arrive in Portugal for questioning

9 December

British police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann have arrived in Portugal to assist Portuguese authorities with the questioning of 11 "key witnesses".

Detectives from Scotland Yard have flown to Faro as part of Operation Grange and will spend three days overseeing the questioning of four British people and seven Portuguese citizens.

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Scotland Yard has refused to comment on the latest development, saying it will not provide a "running commentary" on the investigation, the Daily Telegraph reports.

Madeleine was three when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in 2007 while her parents were having dinner at a nearby restaurant.

Portuguese police closed the investigation into her disappearance in 2008, but Scotland Yard was ordered to open its own inquiry in 2011, following an appeal from her parents.

British ex-pat Robert Murat and his wife are among those being questioned by police, but are not being treated as suspects, the BBC reports.

Murat, who lived with his mother in a house close to where Madeleine went missing, was among the original suspects questioned by Portuguese police after Madeleine's disappearance. He has always strongly denied any involvement.

Workers at the Ocean Club Resort and John Hill, the resort's manager, are also believed to be among the witnesses being re-questioned.

According to the BBC's Christian Fraser, police will be looking for any "inconsistencies" in his and other witness statements.

Madeleine McCann: UK police to fly to Portugal as 11 questioned

01 December

British detectives investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann are due to fly to Portugal next week to oversee the questioning of seven suspects and four witnesses.

Officers from the Metropolitan Police's Operation Grange are scheduled to fly to Faro on 8 December, according to the Daily Mirror.

Madeleine was three when she went missing from her family's holiday apartment at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz on 3 May 2007.

One line of inquiry is said to be whether she was taken during a break-in at the apartment. Officers are believed to be focusing on a white male aged 20 to 40 years old, who was seen carrying a child fitting Madeleine's description through Praia da Luz around the time of her disappearance.

Seven interviewees will be made an "arguido", the Portuguese equivalent of a suspect, and will be asked directly if they killed Madeleine, reports the Mirror.

Silvia and Joao Batista, a couple who worked at the Ocean Club, and John Hill, the resort's manager, are among the witnesses to be re-questioned, according to the Daily Express.

Detectives are also apparently interested in claims that a set of keys to the McCanns' apartment, which were kept in the maintenance section, went missing in the week that Madeleine vanished.

Police are expected to request an interview with Mario Fernando, a former Ocean Club laundryman, who said he saw a suspicious man looking at the apartment the day before Madeleine disappeared.

Portuguese police will conduct the interviews, while Scotland Yard officers can sit in during questioning, says the Express.

Last week it was revealed that Robert Murat, a British ex-pat and property developer, who lived with his mother in a house close to where Madeleine went missing, would be questioned again.

Peter Bleksley, a former Scotland Yard murder detective, said that this next stage of the investigation was a "logical progression" for the police. He said they were likely to have been focusing on the timeline of events and may now have questions on any inconsistencies that have arisen.

Madeleine McCann: police had tip-off that body was in lake

25 November

Portuguese police were given a mystery tip-off six years ago that Madeleine McCann had been buried in a lake, it has emerged.

An employee of the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, where Madeleine went missing in May 2007, found a note in the doorway of her family's former holiday apartment exactly a year after she vanished.

The letter, which claimed to know the final resting place of the missing three-year-old, was immediately handed in to police

The note was reportedly headed "Madeleine Beth McCann" and included a description of how she had been dumped in the Barragem da Bravura reservoir, nine miles from the holiday resort and close to a motorway.

The employee, who is described as a "handyman" but not named, told the Daily Mirror: "It was raining that night so it was soaking wet when I found it. It clearly said Madeleine's name at the top. It was written in Portuguese.

"Beneath it was a location for what it claimed was her final resting place."

"I spoke to the other staff about it and they said to hand it in to the Portuguese police. I gave it to them, but I have no idea what they did about it. It would be the perfect place to hide a body."

According to the Mirror, an underwater search of the reservoir is not thought to have taken place, although the surrounding woodland was investigated.

One person who witnessed the search told the newspaper: "I never saw any divers physically trawl through that lake. The water is dark and murky and would need to be searched thoroughly.

"It's so close to Praia da Luz, and such an obvious place to hide a body, that I'm amazed following an actual tip off this hasn't been done."

A spokesperson for Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann said they would "welcome" any new searches but would not comment on any specific details of the case. Scotland Yard has refused to comment.

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