A little over a month from the second anniversary of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, arguing that they neglected contact with the local people, Kate and Gerry McCann have now announced the launch of a new campaign that targets the residents of Lagos and Burgau, the areas closest to the tourist complex of Praia da Luz, from where their daughter allegedly disappeared.
According to the information now made available by the couple, in the days following Maddie's disappearance, "the collaboration of the Portuguese residents of Praia da Luz and surrounding areas was never properly requested," because their attention was only focused on international appeals.
The announcement of this campaign has surprised the residents of the Algarve region, who regard the McCanns' initiative with suspicion.
For months, until Gonçalo Amaral's exit, the PJ explored all lines of enquiry, both in Portugal - in the Algarve in particular - and abroad, but each time the Portuguese and British investigators were obliged to turn their attention to those surrounding Maddie and the nine British people who were there in Praia da Luz at the time of her disappearance.
In addition to the official investigation, the couple had private Spanish detectives and British henchmen in the Algarve, but all the information obtained turned out to be false or of no relevance to the case, which ended up accentuating suspicions about them.
"Experience shows that important answers are to be found in the immediate vicinity. Someone in the area must almost certainly have essential information that would help bring Madeleine back to her family," the McCanns say, suggesting that, in spite of the two years which have elapsed, someone could still have received information that leads to the mystery being solved, the reason for which they are asking that information be given to them anonymously by telephone, by text message, by email of by post.
Duarte Levy (Faro)
Comment: Dear God in Heaven! Are these people really as stooopid as they appear to be? Two years after their child was allegedly abducted from the holiday resort, they come up with this novel idea! Duh! Why not ask the local people? They flew to Rome. Nope! She wasn't with the Pope. They trotted off round Europe and then to Morocco. Nope! Not in any of those places. And now they have made this stunning discovery! Wow! Experience shows that important answers are to be found in the immediate vicinity. Jeez! If they had just asked the police why they always do door-to-door enquiries, or why many of the local people of Praia da Luz stayed off work for a week to search!
And while those local people were searching the surrounding area, both through the night of Maddie's disappearance and for a whole week afterward, what was Kate McCann doing? Well, she wasn't searching! I would have been running around like a wild thing, calling my child's name, banging on doors asking people if they had seen her, only giving up when I was on the point of collapse, but not Kate McCann.
Maddie was nearly four years old when she disappeared and at that time, the McCanns used photos of Maddie, which were at least a few months old. They are still using the same photos in the supposed search for a child who would be nearly six years old in May. If Maddie were still alive, she would look dramatically different from the child shown in those photos. So, like the people of the Algarve, I think the rest of us should regard this initiative with suspicion.
Joana Morais has a video on her blog (Source: SIC, Jornal da Noite, 24.03.2009) which includes interviews with local people in the Algarve.
Brief summary of video report:
The first part mentions facts that are now widely known by the public – the campaign’s purpose, scope, the means involved.
It is mentioned that the subject is distressing for those who live in the village, and the few persons who agreed to speak to the reporter, stated that they find the initiative strange.
First interviewed person: “I think it’s not going to advance anything. While they were here, they weren’t that worried. The family, they were welcomed here like family. Meanwhile, they ran away, I don’t know why."
Second interviewed person: “There was nothing that I, my husband, everyone here in Praia da Luz didn’t do, looking, searching, to see if we could find the little girl. So I think if anyone knew anything, me, if I knew anything, I would try to give the information right away."
Third interviewed person: "They asked a lot of questions. There were many Portuguese persons speaking about the issue. The rest, I don’t know. There’s nothing more that I can say."
In a closing comment, the reporter mentions that almost two years ago, the entire village population was involved, with the police, in intensive searches, and that it could be precisely the reason why this appeal from the McCanns is causing such discomfort among the residents.
The second person quoted above said that she would try to give information right away, which seems logical. The police did extensive local enquiries, they searched hundreds of properties and interviewed hundreds of people. So, why this new campaign? Strange!