PORTIMAO, Portugal (Reuters) - A British girl who disappeared from her bed in a Portuguese beach resort while her parents dined nearby was kidnapped, police said on Saturday.
Police believe three-year-old Madeleine McCann is still alive and have a drawing of a suspect based on evidence from witnesses, said Guilhermino Encarnacao, head of the judicial police in the Faro area of the Algarve.
He would give no further information about the suspect other than saying there was “all the evidence to show it was a kidnapping” and other possibilities had been ruled out.
He said up to 150 officers were searching for the girl, who was reported missing on Thursday. Friends of the McCann family had insisted she was abducted because there was evidence of a forced entry into the villa where the family was staying.
Madeleine McCann’s parents, who were on holiday in the Algarve with friends, made an emotional appeal late on Friday for their daughter to be let go.
“Words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling,” Gerry McCann said in a televised statement from the Algarve resort, flanked by his wife Kate.
“Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her Mummy, Daddy, brother and sister.”
The McCanns had put her to bed and were dining 50 meters (yards) away with friends when she vanished on Thursday night from the apartment where they were staying.
She was with her twin brother and sister, who were asleep when the parents returned and found her missing.
Police with sniffer dogs are searching the resort village with a population of about 1,000. They have also alerted all airports in Portugal and neighboring Spain. Britain’s ambassador to Portugal has traveled there to help the family.