Expat Ken Ralphs revealed that suspect named only as Christian B, attempted to recruit a mutual friend to help find a youngster to sell to a childless couple. Ralphs told Sky News how the plan to kidnap a child from a Portuguese holiday resort was hatched a week before Madeleine McCann went missing there. Ralphs, 59, said: "We were sitting around the fire one night after a meal, we had a few beers and during the early hours of the morning my friend began to cry.
"I asked him what the matter was and, eventually, he confessed to me he was getting involved with Christian to steal a child from Praia da Luz from a rich family.
"Christian knew the guy was vulnerable and wanted to travel abroad, but he couldn't leave because he couldn't afford the air tickets.” Ralphs said. Ralphs, Christian and their mutual friend who cannot be named for legal reasons were living as part of a travelling population, staying off-grid in southwest Portugal at the time.
Ralphs claims he told the friend not to get involved in the scheme and offered him help with money after he returned from his upcoming trip to the UK.
After Ralphs returned to the UK he heard that Madeline had vanished at which point he contacted police. "I said to the police, here's the secret map of how you get to this point in the woods here. I said that it must be sent immediately to the Portuguese police."
On return to Portugal he visited his local police station and told them his story, but he was told it was the first Portuguese detectives were hearing of this. By the time he returned to his teepee tent it had been burnt and his friend and Christian B were gone. He never saw either of them again.
Christian B was identified as a suspect in 2020, where Ralphs recognised him from photographs and he decided to contact police again. Portuguese detectives interviewed Ralphs again however he still doesn’t know what, if anything, his evidence has contributed to the investigation.
Christian B continues to deny any involvement in the case but still remains the prime suspect. Ralphs evidence of the plan to kidnap a child is backed up by a good friend of Christain B’s at the time, Michael Tatschl.
Tatschl told author Jon Clarke "He (Christian B) was always bragging about money and making money, particularly from burglaries. He even talked about selling kids, maybe to Morocco." Scotland Yard detectives believe Madeleine was taken in a carefully planned abduction.
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