No missing child has ever generated as much interest by the public and as much controversy in the way an investigation was carried out, we look in this article at how Madeleine McCann’s disappearance raises serious and legitimate questions.
It all started when a group of friends flew together for a short holiday to Praia Da Luz, a small resort town in Portugal, becoming known as the ‘Tapas 9’ (in reference to the food they were having the evening of the disappearance).
A strange sequence of events
At 10 P.M on the 3rd of May 2007, Madeleine’s mother Kate walks to the family’s flat from the restaurant where they were having dinner and
At this point, the lead investigator is Goncalo Amaral, who doubted from the start the parents’ flawed version of events. We will come back to this character later, but what needs to be noted is that the parents, sued at the E.U level this investigator for publishing a book which casted doubt on the parent’s version of events. They have since lost the lawsuit.
A lead investigator under political pressure
According to lead investigator Goncalo Amaral, the Portuguese police was pressured by the British into not investigating this case adequately.
The investigator in his book recalls how he came to uncover a first inconsistency in the case. Before going missing, one of the McCann’s friends, David Payne, had visited Kate whilst she was at the flat and her husband away playing tennis, only a few hours before dinner; according to Kate McCann (the mother), David Payne had only popped in for 30 seconds, but when interrogated, David Payne stated that he had stayed 30 minutes. A considerable difference that Goncalo Amaral could not make sense of.
In another inconsistency, the parents had said that being only 50 meters away, they could see the kids. When further investigated, Goncalo Amaral had found out that it was impossible to see anything from where they were having dinner. This was interpreted by the investigators as the parents trying to eliminate liability as they could be prosecuted for child neglect, knowing that they had left their children unattended in a foreign country whilst wining and dining with their friends.
Goncalo Amaral also found that it was a little strange that following the discovery of Madeleine’s disappearance, Kate McCann proceeded to leave the two remaining children unattended again with the window still wide open.
The lead investigator also questioned the account of Jane Tanner, another friend of the McCanns. She had stated that whilst coming back from checking on the children, she had seen a man carrying a child, but hadn’t seen Gerry McCann who was meters away from where she saw the man.
Jane Tanner’s sighting also contradicted the other sighting by the Smith family, far away from the apartment complex and only 30 minutes later, where they too saw a man carrying a child and walking towards the beach.
Jane Tanner had stated that Maddie went missing at around 9.20 P.M, which leads one to believe that the window would have been wide open onwards,
By the 30th of May, the media circus reached global proportions, the Pope, J.K Rowling, Christiano Ronaldo, Mourinho, Wayne Rooney, Richard Brandon, to name a few, have all either showed their support publicly or met the parents in person.
Dogs don’t lie
As the investigation “progressed”, backup is sent from Britain in the form of two dogs named Eddie and Keela. Eddie is a police dog able to detect the smell of cadavers and Keela’s specialty is the smell of blood. Between the two dogs, 200 cases have been resolved. An impressive track record that did not prevent the parents from attempting to dismiss their reliability upon their findings.
The dogs were taken to all the friends’ rented flats (known as the ‘Tapas 9′), as well as the McCanns’ flat.
At the McCanns’ flat, the dogs became increasingly excited, started barking at two locations they deemed of interest: Eddie, the cadaver dog, pointed out the bedroom’s closet as a place of interest as well as behind the living room’s sofa. For Keela, the blood-detecting dog, it was also behind the sofa where blood was detected. According to the lead investigator at the time, this opened the possibility that a freak accident might have occurred at that specific location. A freak accident the parents would obviously try to cover up considering it was the norm during the group of friends’ holiday to leave the children unattended.
- Eddie, the cadaver dog, pointed out the car key and the car’s trunk as places where a cadaver has been in contact with.
- Keela, the blood dog, pointed to a spot within the car’s trunk too. Investigators will find a tiny sample of blood which they send to Birmingham for DNA tests.
- More importantly, Eddie also pointed out Maddie’s soft toy and the mother’s clothes as having been in contact with cadaver odour.
Before the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham released the test results, the British newspaper ‘The Times’ had already announced that the results did not match, a fake story which seriously hindered the credibility of the paper at the time.
The Forensic Science Service proceeded to deny The Times’ claim that the DNA did not match, instead stating that 17 out of 19 alleles did match Maddie McCann’s DNA, however due to the high standards expected from DNA analysis and the tiny size of the sample they could not conclusively state that it was Maddie’s blood.
The parents on their side cooked up an explanation that is far from being convincing, according to Kate McCann, the cadaver
During the whole investigation, Kate McCann refused to answer questions, even those that an innocent person should have no issues with answering truthfully, if anything those are questions that would help in the progress of the investigation.
Upon leaving Portugal, Martin Smith (the man who saw an unidentified person carrying a child 30 minutes after the disappearance),
Goncalo Amaral is adamant that the British press tried to silence the investigation, a form of media omerta was put in place by the British prime minister, it was fine to talk about the McCanns but under no circumstances can someone question their ‘abduction’ theory. Those who tried were immediately vilified by the media. Brenda Leyland was the first casualty of this vilification, trolls had harassed her for questioning the McCanns’ version of events, to the point where she decided to take her own life.
To demonstrate how much this investigation was hijacked by influential figures, Gordon Brown himself called the McCanns and the Portuguese prime minister. How can an investigation be impartial and independent when politicians and the media alike, take the parents’ side from the first minutes of the investigation?
The media’s role
£12 million later, the investigation hasn’t progressed by an inch
Thousands of children go missing every year in Britain, most return within 24 hours, others are found sexually abused or dead, but none have been granted as much as 1% of the attention given to this little white girl whose parents are close to the British ruling class. In Britain, being of the upper class and white certainly grants you extra rights, although not officially, it is a common truth that most people are aware of.
And this is probably what has happened in this case. The British government did not want to see Britain’s image tainted abroad, so within hours they sent out to Portugal the best propagandists they could find on short notice within their ranks to defend a white upper-class couple, a propaganda machine of epic levels thus unfolded with the British media insulting and harassing anyone who dares question the parents’ version of events. Soon after the disappearance, the British Embassy had a special counsel assigned to the McCanns, with a duty of protecting the McCanns from the Portuguese investigation at any cost and as if ordered from someone very high up the Tory hierarchy.
Part II can be found here.