Detective Dave Edgar believes someone is protecting Madeleine McCann's kidnapper
Retired Detective Inspector Dave Edgar ruled out Kate and Gerry McCann as suspects in the disappearance and said “someone knows” what really happened.
Mr Edgar spent three years hunting for Maddie, who disappeared from Praia Da Luz in Portugal in 2007.
He told the Mirror he believed the girl, then aged three, could still be alive and urged anyone with information to come forward.
He said: “I think that someone else apart from the perpetrator knows and that is one of the best hopes of getting to the truth, that someone comes forward and says what they know.
“They can’t keep it to themselves and research has shown they always confide in someone else.”
Mr Edgar said he believed the kidnapping, from the Ocean Club resort on May 3, 2007, could be sexually motivated – and feared, if so, the kidnapper could strike again.
Detective Dave Edgar ruled out Madeleine's parents as suspects
He said: “If the motive was gang-related child prostitution, there might have been more than one involved.
“It’s the type of crime they cannot help themselves, certainly if it was sexually motivated.”
He ruled out the McCann parents as suspects, as well as two high-profile suspects who have both since died.
Regarding Madeleine McCann’s parents, he said: “If I found any evidence against Kate and Gerry I would have given it to the police immediately. Kate and Gerry would expect no less. But I found no shred of evidence.
“We obviously look at all factors – motive, preparation, opportunity – and there was absolutely nothing.”
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nd he ruled out convicted British paedophile Raymond Hewlett, who was living near the scene at the time.
Mr Edgar said: “In terms of fitting the profile, Hewlett would probably come as close as you would get to a main suspect.
“There was no hard and fast evidence because, if there had been, he would have been arrested.”
Dave Edgar said Madeleine McCann could still be alive
He also ruled out Euclides Monteiro, a former staff worker at the resort, who, like Hewlett, has died in the past few years.
Mr Edgar said: “Yes, he was a suspect but on the files that I saw there was no evidence that he was involved to the level that the Portuguese police thought.”
The veteran detective concluded by saying he believed Madeleine could still be alive and urged anyone with information to come forward.
He said: “Until such time that a body is found it is a live investigation and there is always hope.
“If anyone confided in you, now is the time to come forward.”