New Twist in Madeleine McCann Mystery

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson and Heather Nauert," January 21, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

ALISYN CAMEROTA, GUEST CO-HOST: A brand new twist in a big mystery. There is a new suspect in the eight-month-old case of missing four-year-old Madeleine McCann.

GREGG JARRETT, GUEST CO-HOST: Private detectives hired by Madeleine's family have distributed this sketch in hopes that perhaps somebody will know who this guy is. "Big Story" correspondent Douglas Kennedy has more on the brand new lead in this investigation. Douglas.

DOUGLAS KENNEDY, BIG STORY CORRESPONDENT: Yes, Gregg and Alisyn. This sketch comes from a British woman who was in Portugal when Madeleine went missing. The woman says, the unidentified man she saw three times, and that he always acted suspiciously.


CLARENCE MITCHELL, MCCANN FAMILY SPOKESMAN: We believe this man could be linked to Madeleine's disappearance.

KENNEDY (voice over): A witness says, she saw this man lurking around the Portuguese beach Madeleine McCann played on in the days before her disappearance.

Now: Investigators for the McCann family say they want to talk to him.

MITCHELL: We want to know who he is and we want to know where he is and we want to know that as soon as we can. We're asking for people's help today.

KENNEDY: In fact: Investigators for Kate and Gerry McCann released two photos of the man who the witness describes as having a slim build, light skin and scruffy hair. The investigators say, 50-year-old British travel agent, Gail Cooper (ph) saw the suspicious man three times near the Portuguese resort where McCann was staying with her family in early May.

MITCHELL: The man himself was nervous, agitated and Mrs. Cooper believes was probably not Portuguese.

KENNEDY: According to the investigators, Cooper said the man also approached her near the resort beach claiming he was collecting money for an orphanage.

MITCHELL: Mrs. Cooper was very apprehensive. She felt strange about him immediately. She believed him to be a conman demanding money. He had flashed some sort of ID but it didn't seem to be legitimate.

KENNEDY: Portuguese police have declared Gerry and Kate suspects in their daughter's disappearance and today, dismiss the sketch as not credible. All sense has been completely lost says one of the case's chief investigators. The McCanns say the police have dropped the ball by focusing on them and are asking the man in the sketch to identify himself.

MITCHELL: If he isn't connected with Madeleine's abduction, at the very least, he now needs to come forward himself so that he can be eliminated from both the police and the private investigations that are underway into Madeleine's disappearance.


KENNEDY: The McCanns also say, the sketch bears a strong resemblance to another man, a friend of theirs saw the night Madeleine disappeared. That man is reportedly carrying a small girl out of the hotel lobby according to the McCann's friend. So, they're obviously saying, Gregg and Alisyn, this is a very important leads to them.

CAMEROTA: But Douglas, it's been eight months since this case. Why now are we just seeing this sketch?

KENNEDY: This woman reportedly talked to the police in the month after the disappearance, but they recently went and talked to her again, so, that's why we're hearing it from them.

JARRETT: Robert Murat and Sergey Malinka were two of the initial suspects in the case because they were seen very close to the villa. And the police were very suspicious about not only their background but their behavior. Are they still suspects in the case?

KENNEDY: You know, the police have Murat as a suspect and Gerry and Kate McCann are suspects. You know, they are throwing some cold water on this, obviously. It's information coming from suspects, so you can't always take that as credible.

CAMEROTA: All right. Well, let's hope that this new lead gets the investigators there somewhere. Douglas Kennedy, thank you for that update.

JARRETT: Let's hope she's still alive.

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