A person’s family is the pivot around which his life revolves around. Undoubtedly, family acts as a constant source of love, care and most importantly support when one is going through a tough time. This story is also about a family whose members were envisioning a beautiful life ahead together. It was when they decided to strengthen the bond between them by deciding to spend some quality time by going out on a vacation that things took a drastic and equally dark turn. The vacation which was meant to be a happy and peaceful one turned into something that changed the life of each and every family member forever. This incident will surely act as a lesson on what not to do while spending a vacation with your family.
A Curious Case
The year 2017 marked the 10th anniversary of one of the most mysterious and eerie incidents in the criminal history. The case still remains unsolved and has undergone a number of strange twists and turns. There have been numerous suspects and theories related to the case, but none proved capable enough to crack it. Surely, a person possessing a rock-solid heart can fathom the delicate and minor aspects of this case. It would be very interesting to find out your interpretation of the whole case once you comprehend and read it all. So, don’t wait anymore and brace yourselves for finding out something that will surely make your jaws drop. Go on and decide who is behind everything that happened in this case.
McCann Family: Seemingly Perfect
It was a like a dream coming true for Kate and Gerry McCann who had met each other in 1993 before deciding to marry each other in 1998 after they gave birth to their baby girl named Madeleine. The couple said that they “long awaited and longed for a little girl” which goes on to show how happy they were after the latest addition to their family. Friends and relatives who were in touch with the family also considered them to be a “family made in heaven”.But, who knew that something extremely tragic was going to happen which would leave them distraught forever after they decided to go on a normal vacation like many families do. Noone knew that behind the happy faces of the members of the family there was something sinister cooking up deep inside.
They Weren’t Alone
The family had chosen the beautiful town of Praia de Luz to spend their vacations. It was on April 28th, 2007 that the family reached there in high spirits of spending some quality time with each other. But, they were not alone as they were accompanied by their seven other friends, with all other families also bringing their children with them. There were Fiona and David Payne who had two kids and shared the same profession of being a physician with the McCanns’. Fiona had also brought her mother, Dianne Webster on the trip. Jane Tanner, a marketing manager had also arrived with her physician husband named Russell and their two children. The last family was that of Matthew again a physician by profession with her wife Rachael a lawyer and their daughter. The strong bond that these families shared with each other was going to get converted into something extremely bitter.
Not Always Who You Think
The adults had made it a routine to have dinner together around 8:30 at a restaurant named Tapas. It was not much of a hassle for them reaching there as the resort they were staying in, housed it. Though each family shared a good rapport with each other, it was the McCanns’ and the Payne’s who knew each other for years. The reason being that Kate and Fiona were acquainted with each other from the days of their working at the Leicester General Hospital’s intensive care unit together. The sole credit of making the McCann’s friends with Jane Tanner, Russell O’Brien, Matthew Olfield, and Rachael Olfield went to the Payne’s. Gerry, Russell, and Matthew shared the same profession because of which they had known each other for years. Nobody had the slightest idea of what was going to happen with them.
Praia de Luz: Cursed?
With the history of being established as a fishing settlement initially, the small town of Praia de Luz in Portugal has undergone a complete transformation. Its name means “beach of the light” and the town currently is famous for its resort with the reliance on the local economy shifting from fishing to tourism. The town is so beautiful that it witnesses visitors coming from all parts of the world every year. Especially, for the people from European countries like UK, Ireland, France, and Germany it is a hotspot. This implies that the McCanns’ were not the first family residing in the UK to set foot in the amazing beach resort town. Surprisingly, the town still sees huge number tourists even after the mishappening that took place here centering Madeleine.
Apartment 5A: The Scene of the Crime
Even though the families were miles away from their native country, they didn’t seem to feel alienated. The reason being the astonishing amount of British population which had helped the town to earn the name of “Little Britain” for itself. The vacation was meant to stretch for seven full nights with the McCanns’ arriving in the resort town on April 28, 2007, trying to make the best use of a Spring Break trip. It didn’t come as a surprise to them that the apartment they were renting was owned by a man from Liverpool which was located at 5A Rua Dr. Agostinho da Silva. The apartments felt pretty safe and comfortable for the families. Eventually, they decided to stay in those apartments with the MacCanns’ choosing the bottom floor with two bedrooms and the other families staying in the others which were in series with the apartment that MacCann’s were staying in.
A Death Trap?
The McCanns’ took the decision of making their children stay in the bedroom which was nearest to the front door after assuring themselves that their kids were safe as they did a complete research of the locality and the apartments. The room assigned to the kids had windows which were high up the walls and were secured by a metal shutter from the outside. The parents made sure to lock those down too, apart from the door of the room which had Madeleine sleeping on a single bed closest to the door followed by her younger siblings who used to sleep in cots present at the center of the room. The exterior of the window faced a small walkway which did not bother the parents as the town was quite peaceful. But, was everything really as normal as it seemed?
Evening of Regret
Madeleine’s parents were shocked when they were being questioned by their daughter on their inability to take care of her siblings when they cried the last night. It was on the morning of May 3, 2007, that the comment was made. Madeleine’s mother did not pay much heed to her daughter’s inquiry and drifted away from the question thinking of it as something not serious enough. The worse thing was that she was not able to notice the brown stain on her daughter’s pajama shirt. The same night, McCann’s went to dine at the restaurant located in their resort along with “tapas seven”, the other family members on the trip with them. The McCann’s did not bring their children with them and left them sleeping in the apartment room leaving the door unlocked as it was only possible to lock it from the inside.
The adults were having a great time together as they laughed and dined at the restaurant. The children’s sleeping in their respective rooms were constantly being invigilated in short durations of time by the adults throughout the night. The clock struck 9:05 PM when Gerry McCann checked upon his kids sleeping in the room. He realized that there was something fishy, as the door that he had closed earlier while leaving for the restaurant was wide open when he returned. He did not make much of an issue about it thinking that his mind was tricking him and everything was fine. So, he decided to return to the restaurant after shutting the door to the maximum extent possible leaving it open to the slightest of the margins.
Continuing on their routine of frequent checks of the room, Kate got up at around 9:30 PM to make sure that her kids were alright. But, she was stopped by Matthew Olfield who told her to stay at the restaurant and assured her that he would take a look at her kids while going on to do a similar thing at his apartment. On reaching Katy’s apartment, he witnessed the door wide open with no sounds coming from inside, which made him think that everything was fine and returned to the restaurant. It was when Kate decided to have a look on her own at the children sleeping in the apartment around 10 PM that things changed drastically. The door was in the same state of being wide open when Katy reached the room, while trying to close the door she felt a draft and noticed that the window present in the bedroom was wide open. It was when she went inside that she witnessed the horrific sight of her daughter Madeleine missing from there with only her comfort blanket and Cuddle Cat remaining on the bed. She desperately searched the apartment for her but in vain. Eventually, she ran back to the restaurant screaming “Madeleine’s gone! Someone’s taken her!”
The Search Begins
The sad event saw Gerry McCann asking his friend to go to the reception desk and call the police. After getting to know about the mishap the resort wasted no time initiating the protocol for missing children which saw everyone from the guest members to the staff searching for the girl in the early morning. Thinking that she might have wandered somewhere on the island, people resorted to screaming her name, but it was all in vain. The search escalated quickly once the police arrived with their patrol dogs searching each and every corner of the island. It didn’t take much time for the incident to catch the attention of British Police who also got involved in the operation. Though, the case was going to remain as something under Portuguese jurisdiction despite the involvement of Britsh Police.
A Strange Sighting
The case took its first weird turn when the police got informed about two separate sightings with the potential of being a witness to the disappearance of Madeleine. The first one being that of Jane Tanner, one of the members of the ” tapas seven” who claimed to see a man carrying a child on the night of the incident. According to her, it was when she was on her way to check if her kids were alright at around 9:00 PM and passed Gerry McCann who was also on the way of going to his apartment to check up on his children at 9:05 PM. It was strange that neither Gerry nor his fellow British mate with whom he was chatting at that time remembered seeing Jane. This led to her being accused of making up false stories, an accusation which was not at all accepted by Jane.
A Mistaken Sight
Jane was very specific while narrating what she saw. She went on to say that the child she saw wore light colored pajamas with floral patterns on the cuff and legs. This description was strikingly similar to what Madeleine was wearing on the night of the incident. She gave a description of the man by saying that he was someone who was white in color had dark hair and was around 5’7” tall seeming to be in his late 30s. The police made sure that the statement issued did not reach the media. The air of suspicion surrounding the statement got cleared when in 2013, the police found the mysterious man and told that he was a fellow Britisher who was coming from the crèche of the resort after getting his daughter from there; it was just a coincidence that girl’s clothes matched with Madeleine’s. Yes, there was another interesting sighting apart from the one by Jane.
The Smith Sighting
The second sighting of that night revolved around an Irish couple. Martin and Mary Smith had come to the island to spend their holidays. According to them, they saw a man coming out of the apartment at around 10 PM carrying a small child with him. They described the girl by stating that she looked to be around 3-4 years old, fair in color with blonde hair and wore colored pajamas. They were able to get a good look at the man, whom they described as someone in his mid-30s with a stature of around 5’7” or 5’9”. They also said that he had a slim build and short brown hair. Scotland Yard issued a statement in the year 2013 saying that this sighting was more relevant to the various aspects of the incident. The problem was that this mysterious man was not the only suspect under the radar of the police.
The first person to be named as a suspect in the case was Robert Murat, a British Portuguese. He happened to be at the same resort where the incident took place. His constant questioning about the case with a journalist saw him becoming a suspect. The police went ahead with the proceedings by searching his home, car and even getting his pools drained apart from bringing sniffer dogs with them on 15th May. Luckily for Robert, he saw himself clear of all the accusations after the police failed to find any evidence which would act as a proof of his connection with the incident in the year 2008. But, the problems didn’t end for him as he again saw his name pop up in the controversial Operation Grange in the year 2014 initiated by Home Secretary Theresa May.
Sighting On TV?
It was in the year 2014 that Madeleine McCann case once again surfaced after being buried for years of lacking concrete evidence and suspects. This time the reason was the appearance of a young girl at a televised soccer game who looked similar to Maddie. People were quick to share the image taken from the Europa League Final in the hope of leading the investigators to the missing girl. But, there were another group of people who claimed that Maddie would have been elder than the girl in the image at the time of the picture being clicked. Though the image didn’t help the police in any way, the McCann couple were more than happy to see the enthusiasm of the people to help them find their daughter. Someone from the family in an interview with New Zealand Herald even said,“What is encouraging is that it shows everyone is still looking for Madeleine. That will give her family great strength.”
Parents Claim Innocence
The McCann’s were distraught to the core after they saw themselves as a suspect in the crime. They were named suspects in the month of September of the year the incident took place despite the fact that they hired personal investigators not long after Madeleine disappeared. The couple was delighted and hopeful when they witnessed eminent personalities like J.K. Rowling contributing to the fund they started for achieving the objective of finding their daughter. They were frequently being asked questions regarding their progress by the people. Finally, the couple decided to no longer withstand the accusations against them and went on to sue numerous people most notably the former police inspector handling the case named Goncalo Amaral and some newspapers.
Obsessed With the Parents
Despite these attempts, the couple was unable to deflect the media’s attention on the connection between them and their daughter’s disappearance. The incident remains to be one of the most hyped and mysterious in modern history and experts can’t help themselves but compare it to the disappearance of the baby of famous pilot Charles Lindbergh. Involvement of experts like Nancy Grace in the case and taking a keen interest in it validates the fact of it being extremely gripping. The case was the first of its own to incorporate “trial by media” to the people being suspected. This made the case even more interesting as it was a rare phenomenon to occur in this age of social media which easily acts as a platform for speculations among the people.
Mistakes In The Investigation
The case took its weirdest turn when a lot of mistakes on the part of the police during investigation got revealed. The improper notification of the disappearance to the police at the border and sea, the absence of any door to door search and roadblocks made the incident more suspicious. Euroscut, the road company which was in charge of monitoring the local raid told the media that they were not at all approached by the authorities regarding the crime. Some of the major lapses came in the form of non-issuance of any missing alert by Interpol even after five days of the incident. The people staying in the resort at that time who were not being questioned and were not barred by the police to enter the area where the incident took place are most likely believed to be the cause of vital evidence being destroyed.
The McCann’s came to the realization that the reason for their daughter’s weird comments a night before the disappearance was the presence of someone unknown in their apartment that night. They also believed that the act of leaving a note in the message book by the resort staff aided the people who committed the crime. As the note clearly mentioned that the adults had booked a spot in the restaurant leaving their children alone in the apartment. A time lapsed image of Madeleine showing her as a girl aged nine added to the remorse and regret in the minds of the parents. It reminded them of their mistake of leaving their daughter alone as someone was surely keeping a close watch on them and eyeing a suitable opportunity to abduct the little girl.
With each passing year conspiracy theories like the McCanns being the reason behind it all (an accusation which they completely denied), the death of Madeleine in a robbery that night and her simply wandering out in search of her parents have popped up. Some are even more disturbing like Madeleine being in the grasp of human traffickers. The Portuguese police’s claim of searching for a worker who used to work at the Ocean Club resort, the place from where Madeleine vanished has been the latest development in the case. One can only hope and pray that she is safe and will reunite with her family one day.
Did She Die in the Apartment?
An investigator who closely looked into the case went on to say that the chances of Madeleine being alive were negligible, a belief which was in contrast with the high hopes the McCann’s held of reuniting with their daughter. The investigator who issued this statement was Moita Flores who worked with the Policia Judiciaria and was responsible for leading the search party made for finding Madeleine at the very beginning. It was in the year 2017 that in an interview with The Sun magazine he said,“Maddie died in that apartment, I have no doubt.”
Is It Her?
The case again became a hot topic in the year 2016 when people speculated that a blonde English-speaking woman found in Rome could be Madeleine. She was homeless and had been sleeping on the streets with no identification proof. The McCann’s denied that the girl who denied any help being offered by the strangers was their daughter. The mystery finally got unveiled when a man from Sweden named Authorities notified Maddie’s parents confirmed that the girl was not their daughter. A Swedish man named Tahvo Jauhojärvi posted on Facebook that the girl was her daughter Embla Jauhojärvi aged 21 and had been missing since six months.
McCanns’ Suing Detective?
The opposing views regarding the disappearance of Madeleine became an apple of discord between the McCann couple and Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral. Whereas Amaral was extremely firm in his belief that Madeleine was no longer alive and her parents planned out the abduction to distract the authorities from focusing on the death, the McCann’s stated that these statements were utter “nonsense” and went on to sue Amaral multiple times. However, they lost the case in the Portuguese Supreme Court.
Were The McCanns’ Framed?
Goncalo Amaral’s shared a bitter relation with Madeleine’s parents way before he wrote his first book on the incident. His forced resignation as the Chief Inspector was also a reason for the above fact. His name also popped up in the controversial case of the disappearance of a girl named Joana Cipriano surprisingly just one month after Madeleine’s. Joana’s mother and uncle later confessed to killing her but caused some controversy by saying that they were brutally beaten by the police in order to get a confession. The police told the media that the claims were totally false.
Susan Healy, mother of Kate McCann came in defense of her daughter and son-in-law. In an interview with Daily Mail, she said, “This is a set-up. I know why this is happening – the police are trying to frame them for murder. If there is any evidence to implicate Kate and Gerry in any way then it has been planted.” Many people came in support of Susan saying that the whole intention of the police behind the accusations was to distract the attention of the common people from the disappearance which could have lowered the popularity of the island.
Most Believed Theory
Amaral’s point of view about the case was backed up by Pat Brown, an extremely successful investigator herself and the author of the book “Disappearance of Madeleine McCann”. According to her, it was utter carelessness on the part of the Scotland Yard which resulted in the investigation being futile. She added by saying that the only possible conclusion of the whole event was that “Madeleine is dead.” She shared the same view that Amaral had that of Madeleine’s death and all the events after that being a cover up for it.
In an interview with news.com.au Pat Brown said,“The evidence supports the theory of an accident occurring through neglect and possible medication.” An eminent investigative journalist named Guilhem Battut who worked for France Soir told that it after seeing the evidence from the crime scene the Portuguese Police were led to firmly believing that Madeleine had engulfed large quantities of sleeping pills. She went on to rubbish the claims of the child being abducted by a human trafficker as it was extremely risky to do so with a British blonde child.
If we consider for a moment that the statements of Amaral and Pat Brown are true, then the case would come parallel with a case that had a similar plot. Casey Anthony saw herself in trouble when she faced charges of murdering her daughter who was missing. Though Casey came out clean from all the accusations, many still believe that a high dose of chloroform which Casey gave to her child led to her death. It was in the year 2017, that after years of maintaining a low profile she was seen in an interview with Associated Press.
Another famous and controversial case was Pizzagate which surfaced at the time of 2016 election. According to the case, a pizza restaurant front was hiding a pedophile ring for which Hillary Clinton was responsible. The accusations were boosted by the comments in an email about eating a pizza which was used in Russian hacking and Wikileaks. The case got connected with Madeleine’s disappearance when the names of John Podesta and his brother Tony came up as the ones responsible for the crime.
Conspiracists Involve Maddie
There were strong claims by the people that, John Podesta who handled Hillary Clinton’s campaign in her 2016 presidential run was the man whose image was generated digitally to bring Madeleine’s case to the spotlight once again. But, later it got proved that they were all baseless as the image was of a man who was a witness rather than a suspect in the crime. Moreover, the age of the man in the image was somewhere in between 20 and 40 whereas John would have been 67 at the time of Madeleine’s kidnapping.
Maddie’s DNA Found
Things got interesting when 2 British sniffer dogs who were expert in sniffing out human blood and dead bodies respectively were taken to Portugal and alerted the police at the place where McCann’s were staying. It was followed by the cadaver dog indicating to have found something suspicious in McCann’s car. Though the DNA samples didn’t produce a concrete result, the Portuguese police claimed that the samples matched Madeleine’s DNA. Later, the police went on to even propose an offer to Kate of having being sentenced to only two years in jail if she confesses to the crime. But, she refused.
Questionable Spending Of Money
Some people have also accused Kate and Gerry McCann of misusing the hefty sum of money generated from the funds in the name of finding Madeleine from all over the world. The use of the money to sue various people, most notably the Portuguese investigator Amaral was highly criticized. The couple defended themselves by saying that the use of the money was completely legitimate and was the need of the hour. They added by saying that their search for Madeleine will not stop even if they run out of funds.
Did Madeleine Wander Off?
The next popular theory is that of Madeleine wandering off alone for searching her parents and then getting lost. The people who believed in this theory consequently blamed it all upon the parents for leaving their children alone in the apartment. The theory got strengthened by the instance of Kate coming through the back door and finding the front door locked. This made it obvious that it was not a big deal for a little girl like Madeleine to wander off in search of her parents upon not finding them in the apartment.
Child Trafficking Theories
Well, the most horrific and dark theory is that of her being put into child trafficking after being abducted. The note that was capable enough to help the suspicious men who were seen generating funds for opening orphanages by local people aided the theory. Some people have also come up with the astonishing claims of seeing Madeleine in countries like Morocco, Spain, England, France and Portugal after her abduction. But, this theory also proved to be of no significant use to the police who was keenly looking at the case.
Kate Refused To Answer Questions
Everybody was surprised to witness the fact of Kate McCann was abstaining from answering around 40 questions which were asked to her in an interrogation which lasted for 11 hours. There was only one question to which Kate gave response for. “Are you aware that in not answering the questions you are jeopardizing the investigation, which seeks to discover what happened to your daughter?” was the question. Kate’s reply to it was “Yes if that’s what the investigation thinks.” Well, a possible reason behind Kate’s response was there firm belief about the Portugues government framing them.
Pamela Fenn, an old lady who was staying in the apartment right above the McCann’s at that time came up as a possible witness. She also hails from England and told that she heard loud cries of what seemed to be of a young girl from the apartment where the McCann’s were staying, a night before the incident. She added by saying that after hearing the cries she consulted her friends on whether to call the police for help. Well, many people have even accused Pamela saying that it was she who took the girl. Since Pamela is no more alive this theory got dumped too.
The most curious incident that happened, centered around Brenda Leyland who was a woman of British origin and was apparently involved a lot in the case which was evident by the numerous tweets she posted regarding the incident. Unfortunately, the inquisitive approach of Sky News in England proved fatal when they tried to approach Brenda by reaching her house and asking questions related to the crime. She committed suicide considering her image being “totally destroyed” after the event of media storming her house.
Trial By Media
There have been mixed reactions by the people on Brenda Leyland’s suicide. Whereas, some considered trial by media as the reason for Brenda’s death other said that the reason for her taking such a drastic action was the anxiety and pressure of having her evil actions unveiled in front of the media. Kate’s cold and unresponsive behavior towards the whole incident and the way she faces media has also been under a lot of scrutinies. As people believe that the way Kate behaved was totally opposite to how a person dealing with trauma does.
10 Year Anniversary
The month of May in the year 2017 saw the completion of 10 years of Madeleine’s disappearance. She will be 14 years old if alive. Sadly, the vast numbers of conspiracy theories have still not helped in finding out what actually happened that night. Some people blame it on the authorities for missing out on significant pieces of evidence while some blame the parents. Currently, one can only hope for some fruitful steps being taken ahead by the authorities which could lead to the reunion between Madeleine and her parents.
An investigator named Dave Edgar told the Daily Express that he strongly believed that Madeleine was alive and under the custody of someone. He added, “In my experience, they (perpetrators) always confide in someone else for whatever reason and that person needs to come forward and speak to the authorities. I would suggest that 10 years, while it seems a long time, would not feel like that to that person with information. What happened on that night would still be fresh in their mind… We have seen in a number of cases recently where people have come forward and given evidence of events which took place many years ago”.
The Search Is Extended
The Scotland Yard still believes that there’s still some life left in the case. Consequently, they are focusing on the idea of extending the operation of searching Madeleine. The extension truly relies on the government as a staggering amount of fund is needed for it.
Documentary Coming to Netflix
The fact of the whole incident being turned in to a Netflix documentary shouldn’t come up as a surprise to you considering the strange twist and turns that the case has seen. The documentary which would primarily consist of interviews with major suspects and investigators will span through 8 episodes.
The Case Is Still Solvable
Mary Ellen O’Toole, a retired FBI agent issued statements saying that it was still possible to solve the case. She is not directly involved in the investigation but has suggested the authorities a dual approach to go ahead with the case. She said to Fox News, “I would want to be looking at everyone: employees of the resort, delivery people, guests, customers, vendors there providing music and other services.”
New Person Of Interest
The month of October in the year 2017 proved quite significant for the case. As the British police after being granted £154,000 to extend the case told the media that they were in search of a “person of significance”. Retired Met Police Detective Colin Sutton stated, “One would imagine, if they are getting more money, they feel there’s still some viable line of inquiry that needs investigating.”
Could It Be Her?
With time the case has witnessed numerous tweets like “[r]ight guys. I don’t usually believe in conspiracy theories but honestly, I think I’m Madeleine McCann.” Another: “I’m Madeleine McCann and I don’t know what to do with myself.” It was obvious that the posts were all baseless.
The McCann received a blow when they found out that the private detective named Kevin Halligen was found dead, January 2018. “His house was full of empty drink bottles. A lot of people wished him ill but his death is almost certainly related to alcoholism,” told a documentarian who knew Halligen well.