Police are appealing for the public’s help in solving the Madeleine McCann case, after they announced a child sex offender was the new suspect.
The 43-year-old German man, who has not been named, is currently in prison.
He is believed to have been in the area where Madeleine was last seen, when she disappeared in Portugal 13 years ago.
Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, felt the latest development was “potentially very significant”, the family’s spokesman said.
Clarence Mitchell, who has represented the family since the three-year-old’s disappearance, said that in 13 years he couldn’t “recall an instance when the police had been so specific about an individual”.
He told BBC Breakfast: “Of all the thousands of leads and potential suspects that have been mentioned in the past, there has never been something as clear cut as that from not just one, but three, police forces.”
The Met Police, who are working with German and Portuguese police, said the case remained a “missing persons” investigation because it does not have “definitive evidence” as to whether Madeleine is alive or not.
However, German investigators – who are due to give an update later – have classed it as a murder inquiry.
“There is reason to assume that there are other persons, apart from the suspect, who have concrete knowledge of the course of the crime and maybe also of the place where the body was left,” said German police.