The keys to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann I was only three years old when disappeared from his room, where he slept with his two little brothers. She was 2007 and his family, of British origin, spent the holidays in a tourist complex in Light Beach, located in the Portuguese Algarve. From that fateful night, the case began to reach a huge impact and the quiet area quickly became a focus of global interest. However, his whereabouts remain unknown 15 years later.

During all this time, a multitude of hypotheses have been raised that have only increased the number of unknowns and the criticism of the alleged erratic investigation of Portugal. The Portuguese Police accumulated more than 2,000 proceedings, 500 searches in the area and almost 20 suspects. Parents were even pointed out as suspects.

After closing the case and reopening it years later, new clues have led the Portuguese Prosecutor’s Office to charge a German citizen this week. This is Christian B, a sex offender serving a sentence for drug trafficking and who has been identified as the main suspect. But who else has been charged with Madeleine’s kidnapping? What lines of research have been followed so far? Why were the parents incriminated? These are the keys to Madeleine’s disappearance.

How and when did it disappear?

Madeleine disappeared at night when she slept in the room with her brothers on May 3, 2007, in an apartment in Praia da Luz. her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann were having dinner with some friends in the restaurant of the Ocean Club complex, about 50 meters from the children’s room. The adults took turns watching the children and, in the couple’s opinion, they were not in danger despite being alone in the room.

Why were the parents accused and what happened next?

On September 6, 2007, the Portuguese Police questioned the McCanns as “formal suspects” (arguidos according to the Portuguese Penal Code). According to the Portuguese authorities, some dogs detected human blood and cadaveric stench in various parts of the apartment, in a rented car 25 days after the disappearance and Kate’s clothing.

In addition, the then commissioner Gonçalo Amaral related the parents of the British minor to her hypothetical death. In the book the true of lies, published in 2008, accused them of having hidden the body. However, the subsequent publication of the police proceedings showed that there was no clear evidence for the accusation. Laboratory tests did not corroborate the detectives’ evidence.

The fact that the couple left their three children alone generated a great public debate which also fueled criticism from the press. The McCanns were even questioned by social services in September 2007. They analyzed the situation of Maddie’s two brothers and found no irregularities. Finally, two British newspapers, The Daily Express and the The Daily Starapologized on their covers for defamatory statements. Kate and Gerry were compensated.

Also, a police report exonerated them of possible criminal negligence. In July 2008, the Portuguese Police definitively ruled out the parents as being responsible for Maddie’s disappearance, a year after the coordinator withdrew from the investigation for statements against them.

Who was the first suspect?

Beyond Madeleine’s parents, the authorities pointed to the British-Portuguese Robert Murad as the first accused of the disappearance. Murat lived with his mother very close to the area where the girl was lost and had actively participated in the search for her. He was interrogated for the first time on May 14, 2007, but was released after finding no evidence against him. The press also had to compensate him when Murat sued them for defamation. He received a number of €800,000 (600,000 pounds) of the 11 newspapers.

Where has Madeleine been found?

The search for Madeleine was international, but also media and, on some occasions, clouded by the red herrings and the testimonies of those who believed they came across her. On June 13, 2007, the Police began searching for her in a mountainous area following a lead from the Dutch newspaper By Telegraaf. Later, on June 22, the clues already pointed to maltwhere many citizens have met the girl.

Specifically, in September 2007, some tourists presented a photograph in Morocco of a little girl who looked like the missing girl. Interpol ended up confirming that she was a false clue.

The case of the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in pictures

    Madeleine’s parents, in the days after the disappearance of the little girl, walk through the Algarve (Portugal)

    Madeleine’s parents, in the days after the disappearance of the little girl, walk through the Algarve (Portugal)


    Close-up of Madeleine McCann

    Close-up of Madeleine McCann

For their part, the parents used the services of private detective agencies, including the Spanish Method 3. On October 26, 2007, the McCanns showed a robot sketch of the alleged kidnapper and, months later, they made public a new one. It was that of a man with long dark hair, a mustache and a disheveled appearance.

In addition, another type of private initiatives by individuals. In 2008, the lawyer Marcos Aragáo Correia promoted a search with divers at the bottom of the Arade reservoir, in the Algarve. Bones were found, but it was eventually learned that they belonged to an animal.

What were some of the hypotheses?

One of the first testimonies was Jane Tanner, a friend of Jerry and Kate who was sharing dinner with them that May 3. Tanner supposed seeing little Maddie being kidnapped by a mysterious man next to the parking lot of the Praia da Luz urbanization.

Later, the Spanish agency Method 3hired by the McCanns, assured in October 2007 that she could have been kidnapped by a pedophile network. The company charged the British 60,000 euros for six months of global search, plus expenses, for a total of 108,306 euros. Madeleine’s parents even suspected Santiago del Valle, the now convicted murderer of the Huelva girl Mari Luz. They asked the Portuguese police to question him, but found no evidence.

Scotland Yard, for its part, believes that the disappearance was a kidnapping planned and executed by more than one person.

Was the case ever closed?

Yes. The Portuguese Police closed the investigation for lack of evidence in July 2008. Years later, in 2011, Scotland Yard took up the case. For their part, the Portuguese authorities did so in July 2013, claiming to have new clues.

Who is Christian Bruckner, the latest defendant?

In 2020, the German Prosecutor’s Office advanced that it was investigating a 43-year-old German man convicted of sexual abuse of minors. It was then that she linked him to the alleged kidnapping of Madeleine and opened proceedings against him for murder. Currently, he is serving sentences for other crimes. The suspect was located in Portugal through a phone call he received on the day of the girl’s disappearance.

They investigate the alleged murderer of Madeleine for the kidnapping of a girl in Germany.

In May 2019 it already emerged that a pedophile was being inspected, but it was not until June of the following year that he was identified as a suspect. He is also being investigated for another possible kidnapping, that of the five-year-old German girl Inga, who disappeared in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt (east of the country) in the spring of 2015, during an excursion with the family of she. In addition, he is convicted of raping a woman in the same area that Maddie lost track of.

Later, in July 2020, German police dug up at the Hannover estate Where did the prime suspect live? There was talk that they could have located a tunnel, but no further details were released. Bruckner rented a small house on the land, now in ruins, the same year the girl disappeared.

in february 2016, authorities discovered a USB containing child pornography in his house. But suspicions against him gained weight after he was extradited from Portugal to Germany in 2017, accused of a case of sexual abuse of minors in Greece. After serving half of his sentence, he left his country, but was extradited again, this time from Italy, for another drug-related case. In the Algarve he lived off odd jobs and also robberies in hotels and apartments.

Do the authorities believe that Madeleine is alive?

Madeleine’s parents do not lose hope that their daughter is alive despite the passage of time. However, on August 11, 2007, the Portuguese Police already admitted that she could be dead. She shares the same opinion German Public Prosecutor’s Officewho in 2020 said he had been tosession at the hands of Christian B.

For its part, the british police claimed in 2012 that the little girl could be alive, after an investigation by a special team of 37 Scotland Yard officers.

What was the role of the media?

Madeleine’s case was one of the most mediatic to date and the international media reacted by echoing the news of the case minute by minute, whether or not it was true. The parents came to regret the harassment of the international press harassed the girl’s parents after being considered by the Portuguese Police as suspects.

Such was so Kate declared in 2011 to have felt “violated” by the media. Both said they had been subjected to a judgment “merciless” without the possibility of any defense and denounced the confusion who created the news based on false leads.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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