WOW, been following this case for a long time. Shocking twist of events!

Kate McCann - mother of missing four-year-old Madeleine - will be formally declared a suspect by the Portuguese police, the family has said.
The McCanns' spokeswoman revealed Mrs McCann will be given "arguida" status on Friday.

This would allow the police to put certain questions and give her the legal right to remain silent.

Gerry McCann is set to be questioned later. Both deny any involvement in Madeleine's disappearance on 3 May.

A member of the McCann family has described the turn of events as "unbelievable".

A McCann family spokesman said: "Just before the session ended last night, the police made it clear they had some further questions to ask which would require her to be in arguida status rather than just witness status."

He could not confirm what these questions were, or whether Mr McCann will also be made an arguido when he reports to the police station later.

The spokesman said: "She is shocked and surprised in several ways. First of all that such an accusation could be made against her.

"And obviously she is concerned that such a line of investigation can become a distraction from further attempts to find Madeleine."

Family friend John Corner, who spoke to Mrs McCann on Thursday night, said Kate thought the police believed she murdered her daughter.

Mr Corner, who is godfather to the couple's twins, told the Today programme: "She is stunned and disappointed. Really disappointed, not only to be at this stage a suspect but I think the realisation that they're not actually looking for Madeleine I think is almost a double whammy."

Speaking from Glasgow, Mrs McCann's brother-in-law John McCann said: "We just need to see what exactly is going to develop in Portugal.

"We just want to see exactly what the Portuguese police are saying. We cannot believe the line that they are going down - we just find it unbelievable."

Mrs McCann had been interviewed before by police, but yesterday was the first time her lawyer had been present.

She was questioned as a witness until after midnight on Thursday. Police have previously said the McCanns are not suspects.

Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, disappeared from the family's holiday apartment while her parents were eating in a nearby restaurant.

In a statement released before her interview yesterday, she appealed to her daughter's abductors, saying: "It is not too late - please let her go or call the police."

She said: "We came to Portugal an ordinary family of five. We just want to know what happened on 3 May and want to be able to go home one family, reunited."

Mrs McCann will become the second formal suspect in the case. The first was Robert Murat, a British man living locally. He has not been arrested or charged.

Mrs McCann's husband Gerry, originally from Glasgow, is expected to be questioned on Friday about Madeleine's disappearance from an apartment in Praia da Luz, Algarve.

Blood traces

Samples, including suspected traces of blood, have been recovered from the McCanns' holiday apartment.

The UK's Forensic Science Service has spent the past month analysing them.

Portuguese police spokesman Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa said partial results from tests had been received, but would give no further details.

Last week, the McCanns launched a libel action against a Portuguese newspaper which claimed they killed their daughter.

A public statement from the director of police followed, saying neither Kate nor Gerry McCann had ever been viewed as suspects.

The McCanns have travelled extensively through Europe to raise awareness of the search for their daughter.