So I’m taking a very brief break in this one-off post from bashing Meghan Markle to talk about something different for one day – (don’t worry Meggers, I haven’t forgotten about you – another article will be coming next week at the latest).
As everyone (which is possibly the entire planet) knows by now, 3-year-old British national Madeleine McCann went missing from her hotel room in the Algarve in Portugal nearly 12 years ago now, and Netflix have recently released an eight-part special, looking at the circumstances surrounding her disappearance and as usual, trying to draw conclusions as to what could possibly have happened to her. Admittedly it’s taken me a couple of weeks, but I just wanted to look at what the documentary has shed light on and see if anybody was as confused as I was about some parts.
For anyone who has kept up with this series, I’m sure you’ll agree that there are some items that just don’t make sense at all. Like with any disappearance/murder, there are a plethora of conspiracy theories, i.e. the parents killed her/sold her to a sex trafficking ring/Madeleine was scoped out by a circle of paedophiles and taken in the night, etc. Any of those, or none at all, could be true; but for discussion, and if you’re even slightly interested, I’ve highlighted some things below that didn’t really make any sense to me when it came to the investigation.
1. Why were the findings of the sniffer dogs ignored?
Not long after Madeleine went missing, the police sent in two sniffer dogs to the villa apartment the McCanns had been staying in when Maddie had gone missing; one dog was to scope out blood and another was for a cadaver. Much to the shock of viewers (not gonna lie, I genuinely shat myself), both dogs barked in the apartment – specifically in Kate and Gerry’s bedroom, between their bed and a wardrobe. The cadaver dog was particularly interested in Maddie’s ‘cuddle cat’ toy, where he had obviously detected that it had come into contact with a cadaver at some point – the one that Kate McCann was constantly walking around with in her hand in front of the cameras.
More bizzarely, the dogs alerted to the (former) presence of a cadaver and blood in the boot of the McCann’s rental car– but it was one that they had hired out three weeks after Madeleine had gone missing. So why were there traces of a cadaver in a car that had been hired three weeks after Maddie had been abducted? Did nobody think this was strange?
And to top it all, the sniffer dogs detected traces of a cadaver on some items of Kate McCann’s clothing also, but this was not deemed as ‘sufficient enough evidence’. Well how much more sufficient does it need to be? Did they need to see Kate physically removing her daughter’s body from the hotel room?
I’m not saying I think the McCanns were responsible and I understand the dogs could have had it wrong/things get complicated when it comes to DNA, but… the fact remains that the dogs did detect the essence of a cadaver in the apartment, car and on Kate’s clothing. Why was this brushed under the carpet?
The man working with the dogs said he had been dealing with sniffer dogs for thirty years and they are never usually wrong, so why did they choose to ignore the fact there’d been the presence of a dead body near items the McCann’s had been using? And is it just purely bad luck that they may have been wrong when being used in one of the biggest disappearance cases to ever take place?
2. The McCanns and their friends lied about some details
On the night Maddie went missing, the McCanns and their friends, a group of seemingly intelligent adults, thought it would be a wise idea to go and get pissed in the Tapas Restaurant somewhere onsite, while they left eight sleeping children in the holiday villas, apparently ‘very close’ to where they were sat, with the apartments ‘visible’.
A quick check from journalists and investigators proved that this wasn’t actually the case.
The apartments the families were staying in were not actually visible from the table the McCanns were sitting at, nor where they as close to the restaurant as the adults had made them out to be – so any potential abductors who had noticed their patterns in checking on the children during the evening would’ve clocked that they’d be able to gain access to the apartments very quickly without being interrupted by one of the adults – especially since Gerry McCann had very helpfully left the back door to the villa unlocked.
And then there were the timelines; the McCanns and their friends insisted to Portugese police that at least one adult would get up ‘every twenty minutes to half an hour’ to check on the children, usually their respective ones.
With the greatest of respect to the McCanns and their mates, I call bullshit on this one.
Can they honestly say, hand on heart, that they got up dilligently every 20-30 minutes, despite being several bottles of wine in (as the restaurant offered unlimited amounts with dinner), to check on their sleeping kids? In a (semi) drunken state, how could you possibly verify that you were that militant in getting up at those times to check on the kids? No way. It’d be tough to confirm that.
When you’ve had a few drinks, an hour could seem like 20 minutes; and then there was the McCann’s friend Jane Tanner, who admitted she was checking on her kids ‘once an hour’, which doesn’t fit in with the general story. So how could Kate and Gerry claim they were getting up so often?
I’ll be honest, I don’t think there was anything sinister in their mixed stories here — just more likely the McCanns were trying to save face. Just being realistic, they already looked like shit enough parents in front of the world; they’d left their kids to sleep in what was technically a separate building while they ate and drank at a restaurant with their friends, resulting in their child’s abduction? You’d do anything to lessen the damage at that point. You’re hardly going to come out and say “yeah sorry, I’d pounded five glasses of red and couldn’t remember how often we were checking on the kids during dinner. Now one’s missing. My bad.”
So, suspicious? Nah, not really – just two parents trying to seem less negligent in front of the world than they already did. But could there be more to it? Of course. I won’t disregard that.
3. Jane Tanner’s sighting near the apartment
A couple of days after Madeleine had gone missing, one of other adults in the group (named above), Jane Tanner, had come forward and suddenly remembered that she’d seen a man carrying a child in her pyjamas at the street corner near the McCann’s apartment. Well yes Jane, that information would’ve been helpful somewhat immediately.
Problem was, dear old Jane’s epiphany wasn’t very helpful to the Portugese police. Each time she was asked to recite her statement, she kept adding in more and more details, despite being rather vague in her initial description of what she had seen; first claiming she’d just seen a man carrying a sleeping kid, and then within a week or so, she was able to describe the child’s pyjamas in detail and how long the man’s nose hair was.
The police, smelling a rat, decided that anything she said no longer held any credibility (quite rightly) and somewhat discounted her statement.
Another thing I don’t quite understand is how Jane’s memory got better over time, rather than worse.
Anyone who has hit the wine a bit too hard will attest to the fact that your memory is somewhat foggy the next day, and you will forget things that were rather important. So how Jane was remembering all these little details over time, I don’t know; unless of course she had something to do with Maddie’s disappearance and chucked in a red herring just to cover her own arse, which is wholly possible – but we’ll give her the benefit of the doubt here.
4. The window being left open
When Kate McCann first discovered her daughter was missing, it was apparently due to the fact that she noticed the bedroom door was more ajar than it had been earlier in the night, and a strong draft of wind from the now-open bedroom window caused the door to slam as she approached it. When they called the police, her and Gerry reported that the window had been left open, along with the shutters being all the way up also.
So this is the part I don’t get; Gerry McCann had admitted to going to check on the kids through the back door at one point during the night (after he’d said he’d gone in through the front door at one point – think somebody had hit the chardonnay a little too hard).
But he did admit that the back door of the villa had been left unlocked through the night – so if that’s the case, why did the alleged abductor go in via a window? Or did they enter through the front door and escape via the window into the car park? It’s all very unclear.
The police were also rather pissed off that after the McCanns had raised the alarm about Madeleine being missing, they allowed about 20-30 people to trample through their holiday villa in their search for the toddler, thus effectively scuppering any crucial evidence. The police basically said that the McCanns should’ve known better, as their apartment was essentially a crime scene, but I don’t really blame Kate and Gerry for that; when your child goes missing, crime scene or not, you’re not focused at that point and likely won’t pay much mind to a load of people trampling through your flat in their sandals. And I doubt if there was substantial evidence, it would’ve been destroyed by this, but I’m no forensic analyst.
5. The couple’s friends
One thing I found very odd about the whole investigation is that the nobody within the police force or investigative services appeared to be looking at the friends the couple travelled with on this particular trip.
The documentary features some of their friends who were also on holiday with them, where they offer up a few lines about the night’s events; Jane Tanner obviously gives her weird statement a few days after Maddie goes missing, but I’m totally baffled as to why they weren’t grilled more than they were. These were people that also had access to the apartments that night and frequently got up to check on the kids, the McCann children included… so why was there no suspicion regarding any of their mates?
Couldn’t it have been entirely possible that one of the adults in the group was a paedophile and handed Madeleine over to some kind of ring? They could have easily got up from the table, gone to the apartment and handed her over to somebody through the window – it’d have taken literally seconds and they’d likely have been given a hefty pay-out for it.
Ok, I’ll admit it’s far-fetched, but it’s not beyond the realm of possibility; stranger things have happened and it would explain why Maddie was taken and not one of their kids. I mean, they weren’t likely to hand over their own child, were they?
Admittedly, when I usually sat down to switch on Netflix and watch this series in the evening, it was after a long day and I was likely knackered so I could’ve missed something, but I didn’t see intense questioning for the seven other adults on that holiday, when any of them could easily have been involved. It just struck me as bizarre.
What do I think?
I have to be honest, I think this is the first time in my life I haven’t been able to reach a definitive conclusion on something. Because this has gone on for so long, there are way too many pieces of evidence, stories from random eye-witnesses and sometimes strange conspiracy theories that can completely sway you from whatever you thought had happened to begin with.
I can’t say I trust the eye-witness accounts too much and I’ve always taken them with a pinch of salt. Madeleine McCann’s disppearance is one of the most famous cases in the world; in that instance, I do find it weird when people come out twelve years after she has disappeared and say “oh actually, I do remember this” and come out with some real bogus crap that could’ve really helped the investigation at the time. Really, you were in the exact area at the time Madeleine went missing, knew of this high profile case yet you’re only just suddenly remembering something now that happened over a decade ago? Come off it.
I do think a lot of these people are just looking for their fifteen minutes of fame and if they are, I find that rather sad.
Of course, ultimately there are a high number of people that are eyeing the parents with suspicion. I’ll admit, before watching the Netflix documentary, I was almost certain the McCanns were responsible for her abduction/death; now I’m not so sure.
When mentioning this to a friend who had also watched it, she said to me “yes, but that’s what the documentary was clearly designed to do. Sway you away from thinking the McCann’s had any involvement in their child’s death.”
I have to be honest – she sort of has a point.
As I delved further and further into the series, one thing that was incredibly clear is that while they did cover the whole “McCanns being named as ‘arguido’” thing, purely to show you that Madeleine’s parents were named as formal suspects at one point, any evidence that pointed to Kate and Gerry having any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance was promptly swept under the rug.
“Scent of a cadaver found in your room and on Kate’s clothes? Ah, it’s probably nothing.”
“Blood and the scent of a cadaver found in the back of your rental car? Happens to the best of us.”
“Kate McCann evading forty eight questions in a criminal investigation regarding her daughter even after all these years? No worries, she’s probably tired.”
The Portugese police seemed to be pissing in the wind for a lot of this investigation; blindly stabbing in the dark, pulling up very random ‘suspects’ and then tailing poor folk like Robert Murat, who by most accounts, had bugger all to do with it.
A lot of their actions were random, unpredictable and seemed largely to be the police casting a super wide net in the hope they’d catch the person responsible within it, just so they could all bugger off home and forget about it.
Where the McCanns are concerned, I’ll be honest, the skeptic in me would say that a lot of it doesn’t stack up.
I know a lot of people like to say that Kate and Gerry seem somewhat ‘robotic’ when giving interviews, but it’s not stuff like that which bothers me – like most rational people, I don’t expect them to still be bawling their eyes out twelve years later on live TV – in fact, I’d find it weird if they were. It’s just so many other items which are strange…
Kate McCann refusing to answer those forty-eight questions regarding her daughter’s disappearance, especially so many years on, is rather odd. I understand at the time, a lawyer may have told her and Gerry not to say anything but ‘no comment’ for fear of being implicated further, but she’s still not talking all these years later? They’ve been cleared of ‘formal suspect’ status, it’s twelve years on and if my three-year-old daughter had gone missing and I found myself at the centre of a media shit-storm where people suspected I had involvement, I would do just about anything to clear my name so that the police could get on with the investigation and finding my child.
She still can’t tell us whether or not she gave her kids Calpol that night or why there was blood found in the boot of her car? Come on, darling – it’s hardly the Spanish inquisition.
My theory if no such abduction from an outsider had taken place? If Madeleine died at the hands of her parents, it may have been an accident.
Anything could’ve happened and they don’t strike me as ‘serial killer’ types. She could’ve slipped coming out of the bath and banged her head. Maybe she was being particularly mischievous that evening, one of her parents lashed out at her and hit her harder than intended. Maybe one of the McCanns gave her far more Calpol than they should’ve had and she overdosed. She was only three years old – any of these could’ve killed her fairly quickly, intentional or not.
The theories, speculation and possibilities of what occurred that night in Apartment 5A are endless. Did the McCanns panic and think the only way out of this was to hide their daughter’s body? I mean, most logical people would just call an ambulance if their child had been injured – they wouldn’t think “shit, quick, stuff her body in the wardrobe”.
And if they really had panicked and disposed of her body if she’d died in their care, especially in a frantic state, how did they manage to hide her so well that over a decade later, we still have no clue where she is or what happened to her? And investing so much money in the investigative operations for her? If they’d had a hand in this, would they really want to hire people from the FBI and MI5, who could very easily discover that they were murderers? Or is this ‘searching’ all for show, and they know they’ve disposed of Maddie so well that nobody will ever find her? Do they believe that they’ve literally gotten away with murder?
One thing is for certain; if it ever comes to light that Kate and Gerry McCann had any involvement at all in the disappearance of their daughter, you can bet people will be lining the streets in their throngs to stone them both.
They’ve taken so much public and government money over the last twelve years – can you just imagine the reaction if it turns out they were just sending detectives on a wild goose chase, and knew she was dead from the get-go?
Or that they set up helplines and made all these sad TV appearances, when they had known she was dead all along? Man – they’d never recover from that.
Who knows if we will ever find out what happened to Madeleine; and if her parents really are innocent, I hope they get their answers – any mother and father going through something as painful as this deserve closure, after all.
And now, twelve years later, we continue to wait…