Sunday Mirror (UK), October 07, 2007


EXCLUSIVE THE SEARCH FOR MADELEINE DAY 157 Expert pin-points spot on Algarve beach He accuses police of ignoring his report

By Nick Owens Nick.Owens@Sundaymirror.Co.Uk 07/10/2007

Desperate Kate and Gerry McCann have hired a professional "bodyfinder" who says he has pin-pointed the exact spot where their daughter Madeleine is buried.

Scientist and former South African police colonel Danie Krugel secretly flew out to Portugal to meet the couple before spending a week tracking the four-year-old's DNA trail.

Using cutting-edge technology, Krugel led Portuguese police to an area of beach 500 yards from where she vanished.

Detectives took his finding so seriously that they sealed off the entire area.

But in what could turn out to be yet another astonishing bungle, Portuguese police never bothered to dig at the spot.

Now, as sacked police chief Goncalo Amaral is off the inquiry and a new officer, Carlos do Carmo - dubbed "Portugal's Robocop" - takes over, Krugel is heading back to reinvestigate.

A source close to the McCanns said last night: "Kate and Gerry are pleased he's returning. They worked with him before and want to see his leads investigated."

The former South African detective has an amazing 90 per cent success rate in tracing missing people.

Speaking exclusively to the Sunday Mirror, he said last night: "I'm preparing to fly to Portugal again because the investigation seems to have come to a halt.

"I'm convinced Madeleine's body is in Praia Da Luz."

The McCanns turned to him in July to spend a week investigating Madeleine's disappearance after being deluged with emails from members of the public recommending him as a "genius".

He said: "Gerry sent me a strand of Madeleine's hair for DNA purposes, which had been removed from her coat."

Krugel became a household name in South Africa when he created a DNA tracking device which solved a 19-year mystery about the whereabouts of six schoolgirls snatched by a paedophile.

He told last night how he used the same method to track a potential burial spot for Madeleine on the beach in Praia da Luz.

The area was sealed off and Krugel suggested sniffer dogs be brought in to further pinpoint the spot where they needed to dig. Yet ironically, when the dogs arrived they were used by cops to turn the finger of suspicion on to Gerry and Kate.

Portuguese police were more excited about the dogs' reaction when they searched the McCanns' Ocean Club apartment and hire car.

It means the area on the beach has still not been searched properly by officers and no dig has ever taken place.

And it came amid new reports from Portuguese newspaper Correio yesterday claiming police believe Madeleine was buried on the beach in Praia da Luz soon after her death.

Krugel added: "After I conducted my investigation I gave the police a map pinpointing the spot I think Madeleine is. And I handed over a 2,000 word report on what they should do next.

"I said sniffer dogs should be brought in to start the search. But I warned that this alone was not enough as dogs are only a success in missing person hunts three out of four times.

"That is why I also suggested a fingertip search of the area and a dig of the spot I located. But if this has not been done, the police really need to start from scratch and investigate that area again."

He added: "Too much time has been wasted accusing Kate and Gerry and not enough has been spent searching for Madeleine and following up on leads."

Krugel's device apparently combines quantum physics and global positioning technology to pin-point a body on a map.

His invention has already helped solve the riddle of a man reported missing by his family.

South African cops had no clue where he was - until Krugel was called in.

He used his DNA expertise to track down the body to a hospital mortuary where he had lain unidentified for days after being knocked down by a car.

Krugel claims his invention works much like a metal detector but tracks minute DNA traces rather than metal.

Krugel landed in Praia da Luz with his machine on July 17 and embarked on a four day search - with the blessing of Portuguese detectives. He said: "I had a meeting with Kate and Gerry where I explained exactly how my technology works and what I was going to do.

"They knew a lot about my work already because people had posted messages about me on the Find Madeleine website.

"The police were fully aware of the work I was about to do.

"I set off with some colleagues and we conducted an extensive search of Praia da Luz using the machine.

"I scoured many different places across the resort and spent time near ports and other exit points in Praia da Luz.

"We spent 16 hours a day searching everywhere - nothing was left unsearched."

Under Portuguese law Krugel is forbidden from revealing the exact spot as he has mentioned it in a police statement. But sources close to the investigation told the Sunday Mirror that it is a spot on the beach in Praia da Luz near where Gerry regularly went running.

Krugel said: "The technology I use picks up a trace using DNA and complex and secret science techniques. Every day the trace was strongest in this one area.

"The machine was highlighting the same co-ordinate and it kept drawing me back there. It left me convinced that Madeleine was there.

"My machine has a 90 per cent success rate, so I am convinced this is the place where Madeleine is buried."

Krugel added: "The Portuguese police took my findings seriously at first, but now the work seems to have stopped. In the short time I have had with Kate and Gerry it is clear they are really concerned that the search for Madeleine is getting put to one side because of rumour and speculation. To them, all that matters is that the search for their daughter should go on day and night."

Krugel's DNA-tracking machine was first featured on South African TV. Respected news programme Carte Blanche introduced Krugel's invention last year showing how it helped recover the remains of six children killed by a paedophile in the late-1980s.

The police knew they had been abducted and murdered by paedophile Gert van Rooyen and his female accomplice Joye Haarhoff.

But where the pair had buried the children was one of the biggest criminal mysteries in South African history - until Krugel was called in.

He used his machine to track down an area near to Van Rooyen's home and in a dig of the area he pinpointed human remains which were found buried deep underground.

The programme claimed that DNA evidence recovered from the skeletons found in the dig proved the bones were those of the missing children. Krugel - head of health and safety at the Central University of Technology in the Free State - is regularly drafted into help in missing children enquiries by South African Police.

The McCanns' decision to fly Krugel to Praia da Luz is one of many steps they have taken to conduct their own search for Madeleine, missing now for 157 days.

As "arguidos" - suspects - Kate and Gerry retain the right to request that certain investigations are carried out.

Krugel said: "Kate and Gerry are right to try anything at all to find their daughter.

"You can't just rely on the police and they have done all they can to think of other ways of looking for Madeleine.

"I have told them I am ready to return to Praia da Luz or wherever they need my help.

"All that matters is to keep searching and to keep trying to find this little girl."