What happened to Madeleine McCann: The special investigation into the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann is set to conclude after 11 years, a £13 million fund, one prime suspect, and no convictions.
What happened to Madeleine McCann
What happened to Madeleine McCann: Madeleine McCann vanished into thin air when she was three years old. In 2007, the young British girl vanished from her family’s hotel room in Portugal. The perplexing incident has since become “modern history’s most heavily reported missing-person case.”
There were no signs of forced entry or a logical explanation for how it occurred. Over the next few weeks, theories ranged from a stranger abducting Madeleine to her own parents covering up her accidental death. A child sex-trafficking ring was also mentioned.
Four months after her disappearance, her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann were named as formal suspects by the Portuguese police. However, due to a lack of evidence, that designation was later revoked. The incident quickly took on an international dimension, with authorities and publishers from all over the world weighing in.
Scotland Yard launched its own investigation in 2011, while the Portuguese police investigated new theories. Meanwhile, the British media circus surrounding this story was rivaled only by Princess Diana’s death. Tottenham Hotspurs even got involved, wearing Madeleine McCann t-shirts before a big soccer game.
As recently as January 2020, some people, including former detectives, called the case “unsolvable.” There has been far too much time passed. There are far too many gaps in far too many stories. Important CCTV cameras were strangely not turned on when they should have been.
With a slew of conspiracy theories thrown in for good measure, it’s possible that Maddie — who would be 16 today — is truly gone for good. Here’s what we do know so far.
When did Maddie McCann disappear?
Kate and Gerry McCann took their three-year-old Madeleine and her two-year-old twin siblings on vacation to Praia da Luz (“Beach of Light”) in Portugal in 2007.
They rented an apartment on the ground floor.
Madeleine McCann vanished from that room at 8:30 p.m. on May 3, 2007, when her parents left to meet friends for dinner at a tapas restaurant. They left the girl and her siblings sleeping in the room.
The McCanns recalled Maddie asking over breakfast that morning, “Why didn’t you come when [my brother] and I cried last night?” This led them to believe that an uninvited guest had entered the room — possibly more than once.
Because the restaurant was so close to the apartment, the McCanns kept an eye on their children throughout dinner. Kate McCann noticed her daughter was missing around 10 p.m. Their lives would never be the same after that. Madeleine hasn’t been seen in a long time.
Madeleine McCann’s Disappearance
What happened to Madeleine McCann: Robert Murat, 33, was one of the first suspects in Madeleine’s disappearance. The McCanns’ apartment was close to the British-Portuguese real estate consultant. And, around 9:15 p.m. that night, a man carrying a child was seen walking in the direction of Murat’s house.
Of course, no one knew Madeleine was missing or that the child being carried could have been her. As it turned out, there was no solid evidence linking Murat to the case, and his status as a suspect was later dropped.
Four months after Madeleine vanished, police in Portugal added Madeleine’s parents to their list of arguidos, or suspects. A few cops believed the girl died in their apartment and that the alleged child abduction was fabricated entirely to cover up her death.
While that may seem harsh to parents whose child has been missing for an agonizingly long time, authorities had reasons to suspect them. British police reportedly brought two sniffer dogs to the scene in July 2007.
One canine was specifically trained to detect human blood, while the other was trained to detect the scent of dead bodies.
The animals were walked through several locations, but only inside the family’s apartment — and while inside the Renault Scenic rental car that the McCanns rented 24 days after their daughter went missing.
As a result, authorities speculated that Gerry and Kate McCann may have hidden their daughter’s body, staged the abduction, and then placed the body in the car weeks later. The body had yet to be discovered, and police believed the two adults had hidden it in an unknown location.
The motive for the McCanns’ cold-blooded act was quite mundane: an accident and the resulting fear of prison. According to the theory, Gerry and Kate McCann, both doctors, gave their daughter too much sedative.
While it appeared to be a harmless way to get an uninterrupted dinner with adults, the medication allegedly killed Madeleine, leaving her terrified mom and dad desperate to stay out of jail. Authorities eventually labeled the parents as suspects based on hair and fiber analysis from the car and apartment.
Sniffer dog evidence, on the other hand, is rarely impenetrable. In one case in the United States, a judge agreed with an analysis of three dogs’ performances, which revealed that they were incorrect 78 percent, 71 percent, and 62 percent of the time. The DNA analysis, on the other hand, was a little more convincing.
According to John Lowe of the UK’s Forensic Science Service (FSS), 15 of the 19 components of Madeleine’s DNA profile were discovered in the hire car. Nonetheless, there were enough caveats to cast some reasonable doubt.
“It’s critical to emphasize that each parent will receive half of Madeleine’s profile,” he said. “It is not possible to determine or evaluate which specific DNA components pair with each other in a mixture of more than two people… As a result, we are unable to answer the question, “Is the match genuine, or is it a chance match?”
Kate and Gerry McCann’s suspect status was removed in July 2008. They called the initial suspicion of the “ludicrous.” Meanwhile, nearly 13 years after her disappearance, they continue to hope that Madeleine will be discovered.
In the meantime, a plethora of alternative theories has emerged.
Theories about the Madeleine McCann missing
What happened to Madeleine McCann:
1. One theory revolves around a botched burglary. After waking up and witnessing the crime, Madeleine is said to have been kidnapped. Scotland Yard hasn’t ruled it out, but it’s also possible that in such a scenario, the robbers would act in panic, leaving obvious clues behind.
Nonetheless, police identified four Praia da Luz residents who appeared to fit the description. Their whereabouts at the time of the kidnapping did appear to fit a burglary pattern. The men were detained in 2014 but released after Scotland Yard discovered no concrete evidence against them.
Carlos Anjos, the former head of the Policia Judiciaria officers’ union, never thought this was a valid hypothesis in the first place.
“This burglary theory is ridiculous,” he declared. “Not even a wallet vanished, nor did a television or anything else vanish.” “A child has vanished.”
2. Another theory holds that Madeleine was kidnapped by a local pedophile. According to reports from 2009, the area was “awash with pedophiles” at the time of her disappearance. “There are 38 known sex offenders in the Algarve,” one source said at the time. The neighborhood is a haven for pedophiles.”
“There have been seven sexual assaults related to children of tourists in the Algarve in the last four years,” the source continued. They all follow the same pattern as Madeleine’s disappearance: a break-in at a vacation apartment and child molestation. Five occurred before Madeleine’s kidnapping, and two occurred afterward. One occurred a month before she vanished.”
Strangely, former MP Sir Clement Freud, who had a vacation home there and knew the McCanns, was later exposed as a pedophile. “Nobody else would have thought Freud capable of abuse and rape, but he did it to me,” one of his former victims said of discovering he knew Madeleine’s parents: “Nobody else would have thought Freud capable of abuse and rape, but he did it to me.”
Despite this, investigators pointed out that pedophiles rarely risk breaking into a home to get to a child.
3. Another theory suggests After waking up, Madeleine went outside and was hit by a car. The driver may have panicked and then dumped the body. That theory, however, is rather flimsy.
According to Maddie’s family, she couldn’t even open the heavy shutters of the window, let alone climb out to go outside. Most importantly, why would the girl have wandered into the darkness, leading to the road, rather than the festive restaurant area?
Sightings Supposed to Have Occurred in North Africa
The most intriguing theory, especially in the post-Jeffrey Epstein era, points to child trafficking. Girls who fit her description have been spotted all over the world, from Europe to Africa. In 2008, police were looking into a tip that Madeleine had been kidnapped at the behest of a pedophile ring based in Belgium.
The group allegedly requested a “young girl,” and it is possible that a photo of McCann was taken beforehand to sign off on her appearance. Other theories suggested she was kidnapped and taken to Lagos Marina, which was close to the hotel, before being placed on a boat bound for Morocco.
The sightings were so convincing that the McCanns returned to the country after Madeleine went missing. Worryingly, Morocco is known to be a popular trafficking route to Mauritania, the world’s last country to abolish slavery.
“The Mauritania line is certainly a possibility,” said Colin Sutton, a former Scotland Yard detective. “It’s the obvious route for getting a three-year-old child into Africa.” There is clearly infrastructure and contacts for people smuggling.”
Documentary about Madeleine McCann
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, a Netflix documentary released in 2019, retells the tragic story from beginning to unresolved end. According to The Guardian, it covers the history of the Algarve as a tourist destination, interviews with journalists, and the media frenzy created by this case.
In the end, Madeleine McCann’s story is all too familiar. The child vanished without a trace, whether through accidental death, intentional abduction, or sex trafficking. Her case is still unsolved.
Why Madeleine McCann’s case will be dropped
According to reports, the long-running, multi-million-dollar British police investigation into what happened to Madeleine McCann is on the verge of being shut down.
If true, it may indicate that London Metropolitan Police detectives are unlikely to pursue a convicted pedophile who German prosecutors claimed with “100%” certainty killed three-year-old Madeleine in 2020.
According to The Sun, when the latest tranche of British taxpayer funding runs out, the small team of detectives in Operation Grange will disband in about six months.
“At this time, there are no plans to pursue the investigation further,” a source told the newspaper.
“The end of the road for Operation Grange is now insight, and the team’s work is expected to be finished by autumn.”
The London Metropolitan Police told 9news.com.au that “the investigation is ongoing.”
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