Source AP ©

Kate McCann to be name as suspect

Kate McCann, the mother of a missing British girl, arrived at a police station in Portugal for a second day of questioning Friday, and a family spokesman said she would be formally named as a suspect.

Kate McCann was questioned for almost 11 hours Thursday at a police station in Portimao, a town in Portugal's Algarve region.

When asked about reports that McCann would be named a suspect in her daughter Madeleine's disappearance, family spokesman David Hughes told The Associated Press: "They told her last night that it would happen to her today. That's definite."

Madeleine's father, Gerry McCann, was also expected to meet with police in Portimao, later in the afternoon and a former spokesman and friend of the family, Clarence Mitchell, told AP that he too would be named as a formal suspect.

The couple has maintained their innocence throughout.

Police summoned Kate McCann after receiving new forensic evidence. Police spokesman Olegario Sousa said authorities have received some results from forensic tests of the apartment, but declined to elaborate on the findings.

The tests - on specks of blood, items of clothing and other objects in the apartment - were conducted at a British laboratory.

Kate and Gerry McCann, both doctors from central England, have spearheaded an intense media campaign since 4-year-old Madeleine went missing from a holiday apartment in the Algarve where she was sleeping with her 2-year-old twin siblings. The parents say they were at dinner at the time at a nearby restaurant, but were checking on the children frequently.

The McCanns toured Europe with photos and stuffed animals of Madeleine, even meeting with Pope Benedict XVI at the Vatican. Celebrities like J.K. Rowling and David Beckham made public appeals that helped the family raise more than 1 million pounds (EUR1.5 million; US$2 million).

Their cause, and the couple's apparent strength in the face of adversity, has hit a nerve among millions, who have followed their lives as they cared for their other children and frequented a local church in Praia da Luz, the seaside town where Madeleine disappeared, and where they stayed ever since. Photographs of the bright-eyed, fair-haired little girl have been posted throughout Europe and elsewhere.

The publicity has helped lead to numerous reported sightings of the girl, from as far away as northern Europe and Morocco, amid speculation she might have been taken by an international pedophile ring.

Hughes said the police have 22 questions that they want to ask Kate McCann, which require her to be made a formal suspect.

Under Portuguese law, the legal move grants certain protections to suspects, but allows police more latitude in questioning. Police also have to show suspects whatever evidence they might have against them.

Just after Kate McCann entered the police station Thursday, another family representative read out a statement from her appealing to what she called Madeleine's abductors to "do the right thing."

"It is not too late. Please let her go or call the police," she said.

Kate McCann left the police station around 1 a.m. (0000 GMT) Friday morning, looking gaunt and tired. Police, who are barred by law from discussing ongoing investigations, made no comment.

In recent months, the McCanns have attended meetings with the police together. Officials described those meetings as informal, saying they wanted to keep the parents informed of developments in the case.

The only formal suspect up until now has been Robert Murat, who lives with his mother near the hotel from which the girl disappeared. He has always maintained his innocence.

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