CRIME
11/02/2013 04:21 pm ET | Updated Jan 23, 2014

Key Suspect In Madeleine McCann's Disappearance Died In 2009, Claim New Reports

AP

The prime suspect in Madeleine McCann's disappearance investigation may have been a drug addict who died in 2009, according to new media reports.

Portuguese tabloid Correio da Manha reported this week that the suspect is believed to be a 40-year-old man who was a former employee of the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz. McCann had been staying near the Portuguese resort when she suddenly disappeared in 2007.

The man, identified as Euclides Monteiro by the UK's Daily Mirror, had allegedly been fired from his job in 2006 and police are said to be investigating the possibility that he kidnapped the British girl as an act of revenge.

Correio da Manha reports that Monteiro, who allegedly struggled with drug addiction, died in a tractor accident four years ago.

Monteiro's widow has been questioned by police, the Mirror reports. She, however, stood in defense of her husband's innocence.

“It is disgusting they are now looking for a dead man as a scapegoat," she said, according to the Mirror. “It’s very easy to blame someone who can’t defend themselves anymore. My husband would never be capable of committing such a crime.”

According to The Huffington Post UK, McCann's family has called the new report "pure speculation."

"We are aware of reports in the Portuguese press," said Clarence Mitchell, who represents the girl's parents. "They are pure speculation and the McCanns are not going to give a running commentary on every new report."

McCann disappeared on May 3, 2007. The girl, then only 3-years-old, had been holidaying with her parents, siblings and a group of family friends in Praia da Luz at the time.

Portuguese authorities announced last week that they -- armed with new evidence -- were resuming investigations into her mysterious disappearance after a five year hiatus.

"We hope that this will finally lead to [Madeleine] being found and to the discovery of whoever is responsible for this crime," the girl's parents said, according to the AP.

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