07/21/2008 AT 12:00 PM ET
As was foreseen early this month, police in Portugal have decided to shelve the investigation into the unsolved May 2007 disappearance of 3-year-old Madeleine McCann, Portuguese attorney general Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro announced Monday.
This formally removes her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, from the list of official suspects – arguidos – where they were placed last September.
“Kate and Gerry will be reacting to this in the next couple of hours, other than this it is exactly what was necessary. They should not have been made arguidos in the first place,” family spokesman Clarence Mitchell told reporters in the couple’s English hometown of Rothley, Leicestershire, on Monday.
“I know they will welcome this news but the whole thing has been a distraction since September,” said Mitchell. “The main thing is getting back to finding Madeleine. It has damaged their reputation. The only thing they care about is finding Madeleine.”
– Pete Norman