Portugal names new detective in Madeleine case

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LISBON, Oct 9 (Reuters) Portuguese authorities have named a more senior police officer to head the investigation into missing British girl Madeleine McCann, a spokeswoman said today.

Paulo Rebelo, will replace Goncalo Amaral, who was removed last week after accusing the British police of being influenced by the girl's parents over which leads to follow in the case.

A spokeswoman for the judicial police said Rebelo would be the new chief of the criminal investigation department in Portimao, which oversees the Algarve region where Madeleine disappeared on May 3 from her bedroom in a resort hotel.

No explanation was given for the appointment of Rebelo, second in charge at the judicial police, but it signalled greater determination to resolve the case in the face of criticism in Britain over slow progress.

Portuguese police named Gerry and Kate McCann -- Madeleine's parents -- as formal suspects in the case on September 7. The parents say they are innocent and have launched a high-profile campaign to find their daughter, who they think was abducted.

There is one other suspect in the case.

Rebelo has worked in the anti-drug department of the judicial police and was previously involved in the Casa Pia case, one of Portugal's best known cases involving child abuse.

REUTERS SG BD1711

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