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Thursday, October 24, 2013

Is Madeline McCann still alive?

When Madeline McCann was kidnapped from her holiday apartment in Portugal while her mother and father were having dinner with friends close by, parents around the world made a silent vow - they would never leave their children alone anywhere, ever again, no matter how safe the situation appeared to be.

The thought that their child had been stolen to order by a paedophile gang or sold into slavery is so unbearable, it would have tipped most people over the edge by now, but this brave couple's resolve has never wavered. They will keep looking until they have proof that she's dead or alive.

After their recent appearance on BBC Crimewatch, police have been inundated with over 1,000 new leads.  Detective Inspector Andy Redwood who has 35 detectives working on the case, says it will take time to sort through them all.

DCI Redwood

Hand out photos from police show a man detectives want to contact urgently and say finding him is of "vital importance."  The two images have been drawn up based on descriptions from two different witnesses who saw the same man in the area at the time.

The McCanns have an additional burden to carry - they feel compelled to protect their reputation.  Last month, Kate McCann was in court in Portugal seeking libel damages from Goncalo Amaral, the detective who led the original investigation.  He wrote a book accusing the couple of faking Maddie's abduction.

The Portuguese police didn't like the McCanns from the outset and started a rumour that quickly circulated throughout the town. They said the couple had accidentally killed their daughter with an overdose of drugs, given to her to make sure she would sleep through the night, allowing them to enjoy an uninterrupted meal with their friends. 

The Portuguese police were hopeless.

  • The initial police response was to dispatch two uniformed police who ambled in late and didn't believe that Maddie had really been abducted.
  • They failed to lock down and seal off the resort.
  • No roadblocks were set up and police on the Spanish border, just two hours away by car, were not told until 12 hours later.
  • The apartment was not taped off until 10am the following day by which time the McCanns, their friends, resort staff and police had traipsed through it, destroying vital forensic evidence.
  • Coastguard and marine police were not alerted for 14 hours.
  • The first proper description of the suspect was not issued by police until 22 days after Maddie vanished.
  • A vital direct appeal to the abductor was not made until Maddie's parents took matters into their own hands and invited a TV camera into the apartment.

Portuguese police closed the case in 2008 but now plan to re-open it after the Crimewatch program was shown across Europe. There are a number of issues they wish to clarify, an unnamed police source said.

Come on DCI Redwood, you have to solve this case and give these brave parents some peace.