Above: very clear image of a small blonde child accompanied by an adult female at the service station on the A22 in Portugal, soon after Madeleine disappeared.
I shall digress a little here from wondering who actually searched for Madeleine McCann to mention two very odd events, featuring rather strange reactions from parents who were convinced that their daughter had been abducted, who said they were doing everything they could to get her back.
The first odd event, featured Kate McCann and the case of a child seen at a service station on the A22 road in Portugal. The PJ had received news of the reported sighting and were keen to get Kate McCann to Portimao without delay, so that she could view the images captured on CCTV at the service station.
Gonçalo Amaral describes Kate's journey to the service on May 4th 2007 in Chapter 3 of his book, "A Verdade da Mentira." (1)
"FIRST EYE WITNESS STATEMENTS; KATE HEALY'S SURPRISING REACTION"
"Madeleine's parents are already back in Vila da Luz when we receive photos taken in a service area of the motorway: you can make out the figure of a little girl, who looks like Madeleine, accompanied by a couple. These images come from a CCTV camera on the motorway linking Lagos to the Spanish border. The McCanns are asked to come to Portimão in order to proceed to an identification. It's the end of the day. Kate Healy seems annoyed at coming back and made uncomfortable by the speed of the police car taking her.
We are somewhat astonished by her reaction, as if she was not expecting to get her daughter back. The identification turns out negative."
The second odd event featured Gerry McCann waiting for a phone call from a man who had attempted to extort a large sum of money in return for supposedly handing over information in his possession about Madeleine's whereabouts.
Chapter 5 of "A Verdade da Mentira." (*)
"AN ATTEMPTED EXTORTION AND AN UNCONCERNED FATHER"
"One day, we were all together at the PJ in Portimão - inspectors and negotiators, members of Scotland Yard and the Leicestershire police - waiting for a contact to define the place and the conditions for the handing over of the money in Holland; when the tension was at its height and we were all holding our breath, Gerald McCann displayed a nonchalance that surprised all of the police officers present, including the English. The atmosphere got heavier as the waiting drew out, but McCann, relaxed, was reading trivia on the internet and discussing rugby and football with the English police, while licking a lollipop. On the telephone, he laughed with friends who called him. Perhaps this was nervousness; sometimes it's totally displaced, given what is at stake at the time. His attitude shocked. When, two days later the dutch police informed us that the individual had been arrested, that he was not holding any information and had lied from start to finish with the sole objective of extorting money from the couple, we were not surprised."
So far, I have noted three situations that evoked strange reactions from parents who were convinced their daughter had been abducted, situations where they did not appear to be overly concerned that they might be about to receive important information about the child whom they were 'really working very hard really,' to get back: the reported sighting at the service station; the anonymous note sent to the Dutch newspaper about the location of Madeleine's body; the contact with demands for money. Does any of that sound like parents who are devastated by their daughter's disappearance and desperate to follow up all leads to find her? Were they doing 'everything we can,' to get Madeleine back, considering that they supposedly had no idea where she was or who she was with?
* Chapter 5 of A Verdade da Mentira in English: Here
(1) Chapter 3 of A Verdade da Mentira in English: Here