LONDON, England -- A senior Portuguese detective has been appointed to bring fresh momentum to the controversial investigation into the disappearance of British girl Madeleine McCann.
Madeleine McCann has been missing since early May when she vanished in Portugal.
Paulo Rebelo, a senior criminal investigator at national police headquarters in Lisbon, will now lead the inquiry.
Rebelo will this week move to southern Portugal, where Madeleine vanished on May 3, a Portuguese police spokeswoman said.
The detective has investigated several major cases including allegations of a child sex ring at a state-run children's home.
Rebelo will replace Goncalo Amaral, who was taken off the case after he criticized British police for favoring Kate and Gerry McCann, the girl's parents, who have been named as suspects in the case by Portuguese police.
Madeleine's parents have said she disappeared from their hotel room in a vacation resort in Portugal's Algarve region on May 3 while they dined in a restaurant nearby.
They deny they had anything to do with their daughter's disappearance.
Amaral, who often discussed the McCann case with the news media, is also under investigation for allegedly beating a woman in custody who was later found guilty of murdering her own child in 2004.
The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell said he hoped Rebelo's priority would be to eliminate the couple from the inquiry.
"Clearly this is an operational matter for the Portuguese police, but Kate and Gerry do welcome the appointment of a new officer to oversee the operation in the Algarve," Mitchell told the Press Association.
"They hope that he will concentrate on eliminating them from the inquiry as suspects and will then be in a position to refocus the efforts of his team in finding Madeleine." E-mail to a friend
|Most Viewed||Most Emailed|