About a year ago outside the sprawling Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, my Portuguese tour guide Antonio tried to convince me that the kidnappers of Madeleine McCann would never be found.
With my eyes fixed on the white-washed holiday resort that was etched for ever in the memories of millions of people around the world, Antonio said people in this stunningly beautiful Algarve village believed the mystery of Maddie's final hours would never be solved.
Wednesday's disclosure that German police had made a breakthrough by identifying a new chief suspect in the case, which they are now treating as murder, will presumably have stunned Antonio, the fast-talking Portuguese tour guide, into a rare spell of silence.
Last June it was my curiosity about the world's most infamous missing person's case that made me agree to Antonio's offer to take me and my wife to the beach of light, Praia da Luz - 'the most charming village on the western Algarve' - on a private tour around where we were staying in the neighbouring but much larger resort of Lagos.
Even though Madeleine McCann was very definitely in our thoughts, her name was not on our lips as we drove from Lagos to Luz, along virtually deserted country roads lined with untamed pomegranate trees and rambling fennel bushes, a journey which was a refreshing respite from the more touristy hot spots of the Algarve.
Minutes later Praia da Luz appeared around a corner and even though its towering cliffs and sparkling sandy beaches, set against the ultramarine blue of the Atlantic Ocean, were instantly recognisable from TV news bulletins, the vistas were still breathtaking and familiarity had in no way bred contempt.
But it was hard - no, it was impossible - not to recall other images from May 2007 when Madeleine vanished from the Ocean Club as her parents, Gerry and Kate, ate at a nearby tapas bar with friends who said they took it in turns to check on the McCanns' three sleeping children in apartment 5A.
In the centre of the village Antonio pulled up at the spiritual heart of Praia da Luz, its 16th century Catholic Church of Nossa Senhora da Luz which sits just above the serene crescent beach and which is dedicated to 'Our Lady of Light' and doubles up as St Vincent's Anglican chaplaincy.
Thirteen years ago TV crews filmed a steady stream of the village's 4,500 residents, ex-pats and locals, descending on the church to pray for Madeleine's safe return.
Gerry and Kate McCann had their own key so they could go in secret to the white and mustard yellow trimmed church where a little space had been set aside as a place of prayer for them, a sanctuary that was not there last year.
Gone too were the 'missing' posters with their pictures of an angelic Madeleine and which had been on the windows of every business in Luz, from the Ice Cream Factory to the Bull Tavern.
This week's announcement about a new prime suspect rang a bell from last year's visit to Praia da Luz. For last June Portuguese police flagged up a fresh development in the long-running inquiry as they said they were investigating 'a new clue and suspect' and the speculation pointed to confirmation that Madeleine had been kidnapped by an intruder.
The story faded from the front pages just as quickly as it had dominated them but even a mention of the suspect drew a cool response from our guide Antonio, who insisted that he had a rule never to talk about Madeleine McCann's disappearance, a topic which was nigh impossible to avoid in conversations over dinner with friends who had holiday homes on the Algarve.
Antonio, however, did not stay silent for long, reflecting on the many theories around Madeleine's disappearance that have emerged over the last 13 years.
Our guide said people in Luz were weary of their village's unwanted notoriety around the world and were furious about a Netflix documentary series which reopened the McCann case - and old wounds - but did not establish the truth.
Also back in the spotlight was former Northern Ireland policeman and child protection officer Jim Gamble, who figured prominently in the eight-part Netflix series.
On Thursday Mr Gamble said he was 'more hopeful' than he had been in the last 13 years that the 'jigsaw puzzle' of the case was coming together, though it did appear that German police were now certain that Madeleine was dead.
He said police had established that the suspect, known only as Christian B, who is in custody in Germany for sex offences including the rape of an elderly woman, had been in Praia da Luz at the time of Madeleine's disappearance.
He added that other circumstantial evidence relating to telephone calls and the changing of car registration numbers made the suspect 'a very, very significant person of interest'.
The McCanns' spokesman Clarence Mitchell was also interviewed extensively on television, relaying the view from the parents that the latest development is 'potentially highly significant'.
But for the McCanns there was another shock on Thursday as a press conference was broadcast live and a police chief, through a translator, said that the public prosecution office in Germany had charged the suspect with murder.
Shortly afterwards Sky said the translator was wrong and there was no mention of a murder charge.