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Suspect in British Girl's Disappearance Says He is Scapegoat


A man who has been identified as a suspect in the disappearance of a four-year-old British girl from a tourist resort in Portugal says police are making him a scapegoat.

Robert Murat, 30, told a British news agency that the only way he can survive the case is if police catch Madeleine McCann's abductor.

Investigators interviewed an unnamed suspect on Monday and searched his home near the resort in Algarve region, where the girl disappeared 13 days ago. But they released him on Tuesday saying there was not enough evidence to arrest him. Local news reports have identified British-born Murat as the prime suspect.

He served as translator when the girl's parents spoke with the police.

The child's disappearance has triggered an outpouring of public concern in Britain.

In London, Chancellor Gordon Brown, who is expected to take over as prime minister when Tony Blair steps down next month, met with the girl's family in Britain and offered support.

Madeleine's aunt made an appeal for help in the British parliament. She told lawmakers she could understand why someone would want to take her. But in a message to possible kidnappers she said, "Give her back. She is not yours."

Many lawmakers in the House of Commons wore yellow ribbons on Wednesday, symbolizing hope for Madeleine's safe return.

The girl's parents, Gerry and Kate McCann, have made repeated public appeals for help to find her. They have been in Portugal, where they were vacationing with their children when Madeleine disappeared from the hotel room.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP, AP and Reuters.

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