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E-fit images could provide answers to the many questions surrounding Madeleine's disappearance

The authorities want to question the suspect in the images, which were created from witness accounts at the scene in 2007. Photo: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire

On the morning of the day she disappeared Madeleine McCann asked her parents a question over breakfast.

“Why didn’t you come when Sean and I cried last night?”

She asked it and was then was distracted by something else. Kate McCann says she was about to follow up on the question but the chance was lost in the melee of a family meal.

Later that night, at dinner, she mentioned it to the friends round the table, disturbed that her children may have been distressed in between the half hour checks their parents made on them during dinner.

Madeleine McCann went missing in 2007. Credit: Family handout

That question now haunts her – had something or someone disturbed the children the night before and in not following up the discussion with the three-year-old had she missed the chance to stop what would happen to her eldest daughter.

Today as she looks at the images of one of the men police want to speak to about Madeleine’s disappearance she must wonder if he knows what was really behind that question. If he knows what has really happened to her daughter. Is the face that now looks out at her the face of the man who took the three-year-old from her bed all those years ago. Two e-fit images have been released today. They are believed to be of the same man though they don’t look very similar.

That is the challenge the Metropolitan Police face as they sift through the files and coax memories now six years old.

The images have been created from speaking to two people who were in Praia Du Luz on May 3 2007, the night Madeleine vanished.

The new investigating team have studied the time around Madeleine’s disappearance and believe the information their witnesses have offered is much more important than first thought.

They want to know who the man is – without that information they can’t say whether he is the key to unlocking the whole case. As they study his face it is impossible to know the thoughts Kate and Gerry McCann will have.

Given all that has happened perhaps the most appropriate comment is that made by Kate, “If only foresight came as easily to us as hindsight.”

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