Saturday, July 7, 2012

McCann:Attorney General's Office and Expert dismiss speculation about Maddie's body .

Source: Joana Morais

South African businessman says georadar detected object that may be Maddie's body

by João Paulo Costa and Marisa Rodrigues

The process of Madeleine McCann's disappearance will only be reopened “if there new facts, credible and relevant and not mere hypotheses or speculations”. That was the reaction of the Procuradoria-Geral da República [Attorney General's Office] that emerged, this Thursday, after the theory of a South African businessman became known, according to which the body of the child is buried in the garden of the house of the former arguido Robert Murat in Praia da Luz, Lagos.

What was reported as a “new lead” is not being understood by the authorities as sufficiently strong to advance with any kind of diligences [steps/work] on the ground. “That information is being regarded as all others that have arrived to the process” said to JN, the national director of the Judiciary Police (PJ), Pedro do Carmo.

Fernando Almeida. Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences at the University of Aveiro. Specialized in Geophysics.

What was your involvement in the investigation to the Maddie Case?

In August 2007 I joined an international team, among which was the English investigator
Mark Harrison, to perform georadar surveys in Murat's residence. The work was exhausting, lasted two days and involved over 20 people.

Could that work be done in the same way today?

At that moment only two or three months had gone by since the disappearance; the possible turning of the terrain and vegetation at that time allowed to perform a rigorous work that after all these years would no longer be that easy. It is a terrain constituted by limestone with terra rossa [reddish-brown soil] and for that reason it would be much more difficult due to the natural compaction of the soil. I admit that the work done now (by the South African) may have detected anomalies, possibly even some that we detected at the time. From what emerged, it was a work done with many difficulties, not comparable, due to the elapsed time, with the work done by the team that I joined, especially regarding the degree of certainty in the interpretations.

What kind of methodology was employed?

It was a scientific research methodology based on the division of the space into sectors of the residence - indoors and outdoors - each sector was examined with various georadars at different depths, depending on the request of the criminal investigators. The geophysical anomalies identified as suspicious were interpreted by sector. Upon determination of the depth of the targets, they were subject to verification by excavation.

More Doubts

Gonçalo Amaral

Gonçalo Amaral, former PJ coordinator, recalls that the garden of Robert Murat's house was inspected using a ground-penetrating radar as well as sensors and that “nothing related with the disappearance was detected”. Excavations were also made.

About Roman villa

Casa Liliana is just over 100 meters from the Ocean Club. The resort, surrounding houses and accesses were built upon the ruins of a Roman villa; to detect traces in the subsoil when infrastructure works are done is frequent.

Jornal de Notícias, July 6, 2012, paper edition, page. 14