A sacked resort employee who died in a tractor accident in 2009 is the main suspect in Madeleine McCann's kidnapping, Portuguese media reports.
The case has been reopened more than six years after the almost-four-year-old went missing from her family's resort apartment in Praia da Luz, a coastal town 200 kilometres south of Lisbon, while her parents ate dinner nearby.
Portuguese daily newspaper Correio da Manha reported earlier this week police were looking for Madeleine's body after detectives reached the conclusion she was probably dead.
The 40-year-old suspect identified by police had been fired from the Ocean Club where the McCanns stayed, and his "frictious" departure may have provided a motive for the kidnapping.
''The suspect could have taken the child to commit a sex crime before killing her,'' the newspaper reported.
''But he could also have committed the kidnap as a form of retaliation against the Ocean Club.
''His aim could have been to call into question the security of the holiday club, but something went wrong and the youngster disappeared.''
The man was not on the list of employees handed over to police during the initial investigation by the Ocean Club because he was not working there when Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007 - but recent cellphone tracking work revealed he was around the McCann's holiday apartment that day.
More than 130 Ocean Club employees were interviewed during the initial investigation and the police plan to reinterview several employees, Correio da Manha reported.
The suspect died in a tractor accident in 2009, and police have spoken to his widow about their suspicions, Correio da Manha reported.
Portuguese authorities told parents Kate and Gerry McCann they were no longer suspects in Madeleine's disappearance for the first time last week.
The couple, both doctors, have long campaigned from their home in central England for the Portuguese investigation to resume.
The McCanns' lawyer, Rogerio Alves, said last week the couple were still motivated by the belief Madeleine was alive.
- © Fairfax NZ News