DETECTIVE Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell revealed a "significant development" has been made in finding Madeleine McCann.
A German prisoner has been identified as the new prime suspect and now cops are urging the public to step forward and help with any information they may have.
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Mr Cranwell told reporters today he was taking the "really unusual" step of releasing two mobile phone numbers as part of the appeal.
The first, (+351) 912 730 680, is believed to have been used by the suspect and received a call from another Portuguese mobile, (+351) 916 510 683, while in the Praia da Luz area, starting at 7.32pm and ending at 8.02pm on the night of May 3 2007.
Madeleine is believed to have disappeared between 9.10pm and 10pm that evening.
The caller, who is not thought to have been in the Praia da Luz area, is not being treated as a suspect, but is said to be a "key witness" in the case.
"Any information in relation to these mobile numbers during the spring and summer of 2007 could be critical to this investigation," said Mr Cranwell.
"Some people will know the man we are describing today, the suspect in our investigation. I'm appealing to you directly.
"You may know, you may be aware of some of the things he has done. He may have confided in you about the disappearance of Madeleine.
"More than 13 years have passed and your loyalties may have changed.
"This individual is in prison and we are conscious that some people may have been concerned about contacting police in the past. Now is the time to come forward.
"I'm appealing to you to contact us, or the German authorities or the Portuguese authorities.
"I should be very, very clear on this – while this male is a suspect, we retain an open mind as to his involvement."
The suspect is known to have been linked to the Praia da Luz area between 1995 and 2007, with some short spells in Germany, and is described as having a "transient lifestyle", living in his camper van for days at a time.
Now is the time to come forward.
Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen the camper van in or around Praia da Luz on the night Madeleine went missing, the days before or weeks after.
Detectives also want to speak with anyone who saw the van together with the Jaguar, or individually, during the spring and summer of 2007.
Deputy Assistant Commissioner Stuart Cundy said the investigation into the suspect had seen Met detectives sent to Portugal and Germany.
He added: "This is a significant development, which is why we've made the decision to take this significant step of making a public appeal on some information that we would not normally talk about in our major investigations."
The Operation Grange incident room can be contacted via 0207 321 9251 or [email protected]
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