Saturday, 15 August 2009

Madeleine McCann: L'Enquête Interdite - The Truth Of The Lie- Chapter 3


On this evening, May 3rd 2007, I decide to dine at the Carvi Brasserie, in the centre of Portimão, before going home. I have been living for a year in this town, where I lead the Department of Criminal Investigation of the
judiciary police. I had already been there in 1982, when I was 23 and I had just taken up this career. There, I had made the acquaintance of someone who was to become my friend, Manuel João. Former local official and sports fan, a charismatic person. He always lent a hand to members of the judiciary police who went to the town for the purposes of an investigation. As an elected local official, he proposed the creation of a judiciary police department in Portimão. Thus, that evening, while savouring fruits de mer, we discuss the problems of Portuguese society.

It is midnight when I receive the news about the disappearance of a little four-year-old English girl. The police officer on call was informed about it by the National Guard of The Republic (GNR) At the time of her disappearance, the little girl was supposed to have been sleeping in an apartment while her parents were dining a hundred metres away. An inspector is sent to the scene immediately to establish the initial facts. A forensic expert assigned to security of the premises will join him. All precautions are taken to preserve possible clues and elements of evidence. I demand to be informed very regularly and, before going home, I call on the police on duty to check that all urgent measures are underway. The head of the Guard has already alerted the police authorities at Faro airport and the control post set up on the Guadiana* bridge.

(*The river on the frontier between Portugal and Spain.)


The examination of the premises by the investigator and the representative of the forensic police just after the announcement of the disappearance turns out to be quite unproductive. A concise report, where their observations are written up, is accompanied by numerous photographs taken inside and outside apartment 5A - which don't give an account of, according to us, everything they could have observed. This error is explained by the absence of procedures in case of a child's disappearance, notably concerning the actions to be taken when examining the scene.

Lots of people were already in place; however, there were no people in the photos. We don't know, for example, how they were dressed. Such observations can turn out to be important later on. The report mentions that the twins were asleep in their bed, but there is no proof to confirm it; on the contrary, in the photographs, you can see empty cots, where only the mattresses remain - the sheets and blankets having been removed. Why have their beds been stripped? If the sheets had not been removed, traces of their presence could have been found there.

That evening, on arriving home, I see Inès, my younger daughter, who is sleeping close to my wife, Sofia. In silence, in the dim light of the bedroom, I sit on the edge of the bed. Outside, far from her mother's warmth, a child of the same age is lost. Sofia wakes up and asks me what is happening. I tell her about Madeleine's disappearance and instinctively, she holds our daughter tightly in her arms and makes room for me.

I make lots of phone calls and send a text message to the director of the Faro Department of Criminal Investigation (DIC): child, English, aged 4, disappeared from a Praia da Luz hotel. It's sufficient. Reading the message, he will understand the gravity of the situation. Three years before, we had dealt with a similar case, a few kilometres from Praia da Luz. We had not been informed at the time of that disappearance, and we are convinced that if the investigation could have been started immediately we would have been able to discover some physical evidence. The police response is fundamental. The first 72 hours are essential.


Friday May 4th

This morning I am worried; something isn't right in the account of the events: the little girl allegedly disappeared at 10pm while she was sleeping close to her brother and her sister. They were alone in the apartment because their parents were dining with friends. A system of checks had been put in place by the adults. Every 30 minutes according to some - every quarter of an hour according to others -, someone went to have a look at the children. It is Madeleine's mother who realised she was gone and is immediately talking about abduction.

We need information about the parents and their friends, to know who they are, what they do, if they have problems in their country, if the children were victims of abuse, if the family, neighbours, friends could have noticed any suspicious behaviour, what are their jobs, if they work full-time, etc. Is any member of their family depressed or suffered from depression in the past? Do the couple maintain good relationships? Are they implicated in serious litigation? Do they have enemies? For what reason? So, I telephone Glen Powers, the English liaison officer in Portugal, inform him of events and request that he relay our requests for reports. We consider these to be of the greatest importance and await sensitive responses to guide our investigation.

While I am on the phone and my daughters are sleeping, Sofia makes breakfast for me. She is quiet and regards me with a questioning look, as if she suspects that from today, she won't see much of me. It's not the first time this has happened: she knew that I wouldn't count my time in a case like this.


Since dawn, chief inspector Tavares de Almeida has been getting down to the job at the Department of Criminal Investigation in Portimão. He is following through with the first measures taken within the context of the investigation. At this time, he should have been going on holiday, but faced with the gravity of the case, he has decided to put it off until later. Neither the director of the Faro judiciary police nor myself are going to have the time take our holidays anytime soon.

The disappearance of a child must be flagged up as widely as possible, on the national as well as on the international level. All Portuguese police are already on alert, as well as Interpol. During the night, the National Guard, supported by the civilian population, has started to organise searches. They will be continued and widened tomorrow.

The search and examination of the scene were carried out in difficult conditions: when they arrived, the police were met with a large number of people coming and going - family, friends, resort employees, including dogs and members of the National Guard. The contamination of the premises risks bringing serious prejudice, as a consequence, to the investigation. We must ask ourselves if that contamination was deliberate or not - it can make the search for clues particularly complicated. The Lisbon scenes of crime technicians come as reinforcements to start the examination of the residence, which is from now on empty.

On arrival at the Portimão Department of Criminal Investigation, I call in chief inspector Tavares de Almeida to take stock of the situation and take the measures that are necessary in the immediate future. After the searches undertaken in the surrounding area - dustbins, containers, sewers -, it is necessary to proceed with the interrogation of certain potential witnesses. The parents and their friends will be heard quickly. The first statements are of prime importance: memories are still vivid and crucial details could thus be obtained, which would risk being lost later. The witness statements of the restaurant employees, those from the day centre and the playgroup where Madeleine and the twins spent their day are also all important. The search for witnesses will be widened to all the tourists present, whose names must be submitted to the parents and friends. Perhaps they will recognise a name....The English police are involved: they are being asked to cross-check that list with their files in order to pick out individuals known to their services.

All of the video recordings from the tourist complex - hotels, banks, pharmacies, supermarkets and service stations -, including those from the CCTV cameras of two motorways - one leading to Lagos and one linking Lagos and Spain -, will be viewed. The Spanish customs service has been asked to increase vigilance at the two ports maintaining links with Morocco,Tarifa and Algeciras. The Algarvian coast, very popular with sailing enthusiasts, is bordered by a large number of marinas. Pleasure boats from every province berth here. Situated 120 nautical miles from the African continent, between the Mediterranean and the Atlantic, it is the most accessible coast for entering the continent of Europe. It attracts many yachtsmen, who appreciate the beauty of its beaches and its inlets, but it also attracts all sorts of traffickers.

- Make contact with the marinas and the maritime police; we must have access to video recordings as well as the registers of boats entering and leaving in the last few days.

- I am going to contact them and make sure they have started the sea searches.

In anticipation of the volume of information we are going to have to deal with, we decide to fit out a room dedicated to the investigation, our crisis unit.


We need reliable information. Apart from all the searches already undertaken, we must also examine the photos and films taken by the McCann family and their friends. From amongst the onlookers, these images could help to identify a suspicious-looking individual or someone whose attitude might be suspicious. Trivialised since the general use of computers, photography is a source of information which the investigators know not to neglect: each holiday-maker takes, in general, hundreds of photos. The McCanns and their friends who were in Vila da Luz make all of theirs available to the investigators, but none of those dating from the evening of the disappearance help us to understand what happened.


At this stage of the investigation, the hypotheses are numerous, and each one must be considered. It is necessary to locate and identify all the paedophiles who live in or who have passed through the Algarve, in order to check that they were not in the proximity of Vila da Luz on the days preceding the disappearance.

The idea of a robbery gone wrong is not to be ruled out either. During the holidays, burglaries are not rare, and the police are not always informed, because hotels avoid spreading this kind of information. Even if the examination of apartment 5A reveals no trace of a break-in - contrary to what the parents insist and that Sky announced - we have to take stock of the petty crimes committed in the seaside resort and at the tourist complex. We are counting on the management of the hotel so that no incident of this nature remains hidden. Even if we don't have much belief in the scenario of a burglar who enters the apartment for a burglary and leaves it with the child, dead or alive, this hypothesis, as ridiculous as it may be, must not be neglected.


Still May 4th

When drawing up the report of the first observations, which must be forwarded to the district Judiciary Court of Lagos, we are undecided about the legal classification of the events. Finally, we opt for "abduction??," adding two question marks after the word to express our uncertainty. The decision was not taken lightly. That decision preserves the interests of the various opposing parties, those of the parents, those of the child, not to say those of the investigation itself.

The report by the team who conducted the analyses of the apartment records all observations carried out and statements gathered. It sets out the list of people present and potential witnesses. It also includes fingerprints taken as well as photographic documentation.

On reading this report, which was given to me on the morning of May 4th, I understand that there is no evidence sufficiently convincing to tip the investigation in one direction rather than another. There are many possible leads: voluntary disappearance - the child could have wakened and not seeing her parents, gone off to look for them; accidental death and concealing of a body; physical abuse causing death; murder by negligence or premeditated; an act of vengeance; taken hostage followed by a ransom demand; abducted by a paedophile; kidnap or murder committed by a burglar.

The hypothesis of abduction widens and complicates the investigations; it allows the mobilisation of means and resources that would have been difficult to obtain otherwise, such as the arrival of reinforcements, absolutely indispensable faced with the magnitude of the task, notably in the course of the first 72 hours. In a more calm climate, we could have got down to the search for evidence more effectively, allowing us to understand how that child disappeared, without worrying that suspicion might fall on the friends of the family.


At ten in the morning, twelve hours after the disappearance, the British Consul to Portimão comes to the Department of Criminal Investigation. We inform him of the actions taken up to then and the next stages being considered. He doesn't seem satisfied. Someone hears him on the telephone saying that the judiciary police are doing nothing. Now, that's strange! Why that untruth? What objective does he have in mind? Giving another dimension to the case? I have no idea, but this is not the time for conjecture; we have to concentrate on our work, of finding the little girl.

We're not getting any response from Great Britain.
We've had no reports on the subject of the couple, their children and their friends, which doesn't help us to tighten up the investigation. We would like, for example, to know if Madeleine was adopted by the couple, which would allow us to eliminate the hypothesis of parental abduction. If the information is not reaching us, it's obviously reaching the British Ambassador. We are astonished by this prompt mobilisation of the English authorities. So, who are the McCanns? Who are their friends? We don't need diplomatic intervention: what we would like, is answers to the questions sent to the British police authorities by Glen Power.


The searches on the ground continue, with the help of a helicopter from Disaster Management. Interviews of holiday-makers and the resort's employees multiply. We're worried, aware that it's a race against the clock: tomorrow, many tourists will be leaving the resort. As for the McCanns and their friends, who should also be leaving on this date, we are totally unaware of their plans. For the needs of the investigation, it is imperative that they stay put, but we have no legal means of preventing their departure. During the morning, the deputy director of the Faro judiciary police joins us. Until the end of September, his life will be split between Faro and Portimão, which he will travel to every day. He asks how the searches are going and decides to go to Vila da Luz to check for himself the operations that have been set up. I go with him. When we arrive, we find that the media, Portuguese as well as English, are present en masse. It seems that the McCanns' friends have reported Maddie's disappearance to the press before informing the police about it. Another point which we must clarify.


Inside the apartment, police forensic specialists proceed to lift finger and palmar prints, a job that is preferably carried out during daylight hours. Others look for traces of blood, samples of fibres and hair. We notice with dismay that one of the technicians, who is working on the outside of the McCann children's bedroom window is not using the regulation suit, thus risking contaminating possible clues. These images of negligence start to circulate world-wide; this isn't, however, the usual behaviour of
judiciary police technicians.

It's obvious that no one has broken in and the lock has not been forced. No prints are lifted that are likely to belong to an unknown person, nor the slightest trace of gloves which could have been worn by a hypothetical abductor. In the middle of this desert of clues, two prints are perfectly easily found: the very distinct mark of a palm print on the balcony window at the rear of the apartment, and a clearly visible one of fingers on the window pane of Madeleine's bedroom. The excellent quality of the palm print seemed suspicious to us. Later, analyses confirm our suspicions: it belonged to one of the officers who were present the previous night.

In Portugal, no protocol exists for coordinating the work of the different police services in the event of the worrying disappearance of a child, perhaps because until now this type of case has been rare. We have been fighting for several years for the creation of just such a resource. However, we don't have to invent anything: it would be sufficient to adapt the protocols already existent in other countries more used to cases of this type - Great Britain, for example.


While we continue to gather statements from resort employees, we are informed of the presence in the region of an individual suspected of abusing children. Of British nationality, he was said to frequent a pub situated 150 metres from Madeleine's apartment. In 2005, sought by the police in his own country, he fled abroad and the English authorities had then lost track of him. But we discover that the pub in question doesn't exist any more, and that the information that the man is in the area has no basis in fact. His step-father, contacted by the police, states that he is currently in Iraq, information later confirmed by the British police.

In the main street of Vila da Luz, there are open trenches because of improvement works. They leave the waste water mains exposed. On the night of May 3rd searches were conducted there, with the help of sniffer dogs from the National Guard of The Republic. (GNR) We'd like to proceed with another inspection, but the site foreman assures us that access to the mains is closed during the night and the workmen noticed nothing abnormal when starting work the next morning.


Still May 4th

Madeleine's parents and friends of the family go to the Department of Criminal Investigation to be interviewed. Their statements should help us to better understand the circumstances surrounding Madeleine's disappearance. Each must be questioned at the same time, but separately, in order to avoid "contamination," of the witness statements - which happens often when witnesses have the opportunity to exchange information. Sometimes an important detail is held in the memory, but can be lost after a conversation with another witness. This is the usual procedure. In this way, we can establish relevant cross checks, confirm or invalidate certain assertions. But that was not possible today, certain adults having stayed at the resort to look after the children.

We have to retrace their comings and goings very precisely as well as those of the children. What they did during the holiday, where they went...In possession of this information, we will attempt afterwards to collect photos and films taken by holiday-makers who were in the same places: we will succeed perhaps in pinpointing a detail that could be of significance. These same tourists might quite simply help us to better understand the way in which the group of friends was working.

The personality of the victim and of the parents has significance. We have to find out if they were threatened in the past, if they have enemies. We must consider the possibility of a mistake: the target may not have been Madeleine but another child of the group of friends. Therefore, they too must give answers to similar questions.

None of the adults possessing a vehicle, they never go very far and in general stay within the confines of the resort. Their knowledge of the surrounding area is limited and we assume that they limit themselves to the roads linking the beach and their apartments.

During the morning, only Madeleine's father, Matthew Oldfield and Jane Tanner are interviewed. However, already contradictions and improbabilities are appearing from one to another of the statements, notably concerning access to the apartment.

An example: during the course of the evening, Jane encountered Gerald McCann and Jeremiah Wilkins, busy chatting in the street. At that time, Gerald was coming back from his apartment, where he had gone to make sure the children were sound asleep - which he confirmed in his statement. Jane asserts that she noticed a suspicious individual carrying a child in his arms - probably Madeleine, according to her - immediately after having passed the two men. Gerald and Jeremiah should also have seen her, but that was not the case.

The mother of the missing little girl, Kate Healy, and all the other members of the group, David Payne and his wife Fiona, Rachael Mampilly, Russell O'Brien and Diane Webster, are heard later. They might already be aware of the questions put to their friends and of their responses. In that case, there won't be the element of surprise. The presence of an interpreter doesn't make the interviews any easier either. The witnesses benefit from the translation time to prepare their responses.

Madeleine's parents are insisting on the theory of abduction. They want to convince us of it at all costs. Gerald stresses that the front door was locked; Kate states that she entered the apartment through the rear sliding doors, which weren't locked, and that the window was wide open with the shutters raised.

This theory does not hold water, which will be observed during other interviews. The only witness statement corroborating that assertion is Jane Tanner's.

From now on it's important to shed light on the contradictions raised in these first witness statements.

Here is the chronological sequence of visits to the apartment:

- 21.05: Gerald McCann (the children are fine);

- 21.10/21.15: Jane Tanner (states having observed the alleged abductor with a child in his arms);

- 21.30: Matthew Oldfield: (goes into the apartment, but doesn't go into the bedroom. He only sees the twins);

- 22.00: Kate Healy (goes into the apartment, and finds that Madeleine has disappeared).

If, as Kate states, the window was open when she went into the apartment, how come Matthew didn't notice? At the time when the latter went in, Jane had already seen the alleged abductor with the child. So, logically, if the crime had already been committed, the window should have been open.

Matthew says that the bedroom door was half open, Kate that it was wide open. It can be concluded that Madeleine was already no longer in the room - which Matthew should have noticed, if the other witness statements are to be believed.

Another inconsistency - unexpected - appears. When Kate refers to the individual who allegedly abducted her child, she has no information other than that given to her by Jane, since she, herself, did not see him. But, the description she gives of him differs from that of Jane Tanner. The latter - extremely sure of herself, and who will be interviewed on several occasions - portrays a man dressed in light-coloured trousers, with hair down to his collar. Kate refers to long hair and jeans.

Gerald tells the police that Jane described to him - after midnight, during the night of May 3rd to May 4th - this stranger she allegedly saw going up the road; his hair was brown, he was between 30 and 40 years old and he was wearing light-coloured trousers. The first police officers to arrive on the premises are convinced that the parents put forward the hypothesis of abduction because Jane had talked about this man with the child. In their report, Jane's description is as follows: it was an individual dressed in light-coloured trousers and a dark shirt, he was 1.78m tall and was carrying a child, probably in pyjamas. She does not describe the pyjamas and doesn't mention any other detail.

Later, during the course of the morning of May 4th, the father gives the same brief description and refers back to Jane for additional details. The latter appears at the offices of the judiciary police in Portimão at 11.30am. This time, the description is very precise: the individual, aged between 35 and 40, was thin and 1.70m tall; his hair was dark brown, falling over his collar; he was wearing cream or beige trousers, probably linen, a sort of anorak - but not very thick - and black shoes, classic in style. He was walking hurriedly, with a child in his arms. He was warmly dressed, the reason she thought he was not a tourist. The child appeared to be asleep - she only saw the legs -, had bare feet and was dressed in pyjamas, which were obviously cotton, light-coloured, probably white or pale pink, with a pattern - flowers maybe, but she isn't certain. Concerning the man, she states that she would recognise him from the back by his particular way of walking. The importance of this statement will be seen later.

Hardly fourteen hours have gone by since the child's disappearance and already Jane's version is known by many people. The father even referred to it during his statement, as can be seen above. Jane insists that she spoke solely to Gerald about this individual and then without going into details. It is only later that she related it all to the police.

Again, we notice an inconsistency. She was not aware, she says, of how Madeleine was dressed, which seems unlikely: on the night of the disappearance, Kate immediately gave a precise description of the clothes the little girl was wearing when she was put to bed.

Everybody knew they were looking for a little girl of nearly four, bare feet, dressed in light-coloured pyjamas on which there was a pink animal design. This description was relayed to all those who mobilised to find the child. How come Jane Tanner took no notice, she who, at that time, was the main witness in the case?


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.


A team from the Central Crime Fighting Directorate (DCCB) arrives from Lisbon, accompanied by their director. I wasn't informed of this decision, but I agree with it. The reinforcements are welcomed, because we must get on very quickly. The experience of these police officers in the field of abductions and the taking of hostages is a plus for the investigation and the ways they operate are largely superior to ours. In addition, their experts are the most qualified of the judiciary police. From now on, two deputy national directors, assisted by the coordinator of the Portimão Department of Criminal Investigation, will direct the investigations. A few months later, chief inspector Tavares de Almeida was to share one of his convictions with me: if we had remained solely responsible for the investigation, we would have advanced more quickly.

In reality, I don't know. I don't think we can rewrite history with "if." At that time the directorate of the judiciary police had decided on it, and we had favourably welcomed the arrival of that team. It was about doing our best with these new participants and taking advantage of their ways of working. The motivations behind that decision, whatever they are don't interest us in the slightest.


In the afternoon, we ask the Public Minister for authorisation to issue a missing persons poster to the press. It is published on May 5th, accompanied by a photo of the child and telephone numbers. We, thus, hope to obtain new information. We are going to be inundated with witness statements of every kind: people who are persuaded that they can help us thanks to their psychic powers; others who have dreamed about Madeleine and believe they know where she is, and yet others who think they have seen her here or there...A great number of reports come to us, that we have to analyse and check out: none must be neglected, even if most of them, on the face of it, seem absurd. In the hypothesis of an abduction, we might imagine that the abductor has tried to modify the child's appearance to more easily pass unnoticed. So, we create portraits of the little girl, modifying the colour and style of her hair.


Friday May 4th, at 8pm, we criss-cross Praia da Luz to take note of the activity in the village at dinner time and to check the street lighting. We stay there until 10pm while the forensic team from the police laboratory get on with their investigation.

Certainly, today there are people who wouldn't normally have been here: police officers and journalists. But, even so, it is noticeable that there is very little movement. The place where the abductor happened to be is dimly lit: how did Jane manage to describe him so accurately? Witnesses confirm that the streets were also deserted yesterday.

Why did the potential abductor choose to walk around like that, in the open, running the risk - in spite of the darkness - of being recognised by a passer-by? If he had planned the abduction, he would have taken the time to study, not only the habits of the family, but also the topography of the place. If he wasn't from the village, he would probably have come by car, and he would have sought to conceal it in a dark corner. But the darkest area is situated in exactly the opposite direction to that indicated by Jane Tanner. Did she actually see that man going towards the east? Wouldn't he rather be going towards the west? Leaving by car, he would inevitably have had to go towards the centre of the village, in which case, he would have to go either past the entrance to the restaurant where Madeleine's parents were dining, or by the main road that leads to EN125*

(*The road running west out of the village towards Sagres and east towards Lagos.)

We walk around Vila da Luz, covering all the roads, trying to imagine the options that presented themselves to the abductor. Without a car, and not knowing the place, the safest approach to the village is the beach. In the few bars, restaurants and cafés open at this time of year, no one noticed anything at all strange during the evening of May 3rd, no suspicious behaviour, nothing out of the ordinary. Most of the establishments had closed by around 9pm.


The crisis unit has been operating for several hours now, on the top floor of the building. Basing ourselves on the details gathered in the course of this first day, we are trying to understand the sequence of events. The original hypotheses are still valid: voluntary disappearance, abduction or death. Divergent opinions and heated discussions fire with enthusiasm. But we always finish by returning to an objective analysis of the facts to refocus the discussions.

We are opening the window to let the fresh air expel the smoke from countless cigarettes smoked during the meeting when, suddenly, someone poses a question that shouts out to all of us:

- Tell me then, what is this story about the raised shutters in the bedroom where Madeleine was sleeping - or not sleeping?

We have in mind the statements from Gerald McCann and Kate Healy.

When Gerald saw his daughter for the last time, at around 9.05pm, she was sleeping in the bedroom with the twins. He entered his apartment by the front door, using his key. No windows were open, but he cannot say if they were locked. On the other hand - everybody is in agreement in saying -, the patio door at the rear wasn't locked.

Then, at 10pm, Madeleine's mother goes in her turn into the bedroom, she sees the open window, the raised shutters and the curtains waving in the breeze. This scenario is highly improbable, since the shutters cannot be operated from the outside. Normally, that window is never opened, she says, but she can't say either if it was locked. This vagueness perhaps serves the interests of the witnesses, but arouses the suspicions of the investigators.

Finally, we were able to conclude with certainty that the only opening that wasn't locked was the patio door at the rear of the building, opening onto the area with the swimming pools and the Tapas restaurant, where the parents were dining.

You ask yourself why Gerald went into his apartment through the front door while the one at the back is closer to the restaurant and doesn't need a key. The parents insist that it was visible from the restaurant and that no one could have walked in without being noticed.

But that's false, as we were easily able to verify. At night, with the surrounding vegetation and the opaque plastic tarpaulin that protects the dining room of the restaurant, visibility is nil: anybody could have got into the McCanns' apartment without being noticed, particularly as most of the guests had their back to the apartment.

We understand their insistence. The parents need to affirm that the children were sleeping in complete safety, and they were looking out for their well-being. But, whatever the arguments, one thing is indisputable: Madeleine was not safe.

- Strange, all the same, this burglar who enters by the door and goes out through the window with a four-year-old child in his arms. It would have been easier to go back out by the same door.

- In fact, something isn't right.

- Someone is hiding something...

- You could say they were sharing a secret.

Little by little, clearly because of tiredness, everyone starts speaking at once, words are confused. But, gradually, calm is restored, and the information gathered so far allows us to put forward several hypotheses.

- It's hard to understand how a potential abductor would have had the audacity to enter an apartment and abduct the child, knowing that the parents could burst in at any moment.

- Either or: either the man was informed about the habits of the family, and in that case we would have to also suspect employees of the restaurant, or else he hung around in the vicinity for a while to study the lie of the land.

- Only, if he had studied the lie of the land, he would have taken one and the same door for entering and leaving.

- The parents say that the bedroom window was open and the front door was closed at the time they became aware of the disappearance.

- And if they are not telling the truth?

- Put yourself in their place: you are on holiday in a strange place which you don't know; you leave three children under 4 to sleep alone; one of them disappears while you and your wife are quietly dining at the restaurant. You would take on the blame? You wouldn't be afraid of the reaction from the local authorities?

- OK, but if, in one way or another, the parents had something to do with the disappearance? They would inevitably have to invent a story, so logically, lie.

- That's not right, is it? Don't forget you are dealing with well-educated people, nearly all doctors, the child's father is a surgeon. What a ridiculous idea!

- Right, if I understand you properly, you mean that family dramas are the reserve of the simple-minded and the underprivileged...

- We must not put aside any hypothesis, even if it doesn't really grab us, cuts in one of our colleagues, who was listening to our exchanges.

-OK, but for the moment, we must not raise suspicions. They are totally unfounded in the current state of the investigation.

- Apparently, it's the examination of the window that might provide us with an answer. And the fingerprints?

- In the process of being identified.

- Are there copies of the front door key?

- Yes, of course, they are used by employees responsible for cleaning and maintenance and kept in a safe.

- Everybody has to be interviewed.

- Yes. And have the English responded to our requests for reports? We have more and more need of them.

- No, not yet, they are efficiently waiting to collect all the details before sending us a complete file.

- Well, I hope they won't leave us waiting much longer, Every hour counts.

Obviously, we don't end up with any conclusion that night, ....Dawn is breaking already when we finish: the next stages have been decided upon and teams set up. Thus ends the first day of the investigation. Journalists are lurking around the offices of the judiciary police and in the streets of Vila da Luz. News of the disappearance has spread like wildfire. The eyes of the world are riveted on the Algarve. Little by little the pressure mounts and we have the feeling that our lives will never be the same.

Saturday May 5th

The accommodation we are occupying in the town centre rapidly becomes overcrowded: we need more sheets and blankets. Beds are allocated; some investigators have to sleep on sofas, others on the floor. Astonishingly, in this place, however jam-packed, total silence reigns. We all need to rest. Our dreams are disturbed, our worries are multiplying. Thirty-four hours after Madeleine's disappearance, we tackle our second day of the investigation. In this apartment of temporary refuge, it's the morning bustle; we mustn't lie around. In spite of the lack of sleep, no one shows any sign of fatigue: on the contrary, we are all in a hurry to getting back to work and impatiently wait our turn outside the bathroom.

Before going out, we check that there are no journalists in the area. In spite of their pugnacity, they were never able to find our hiding place. A stop for breakfast, and the day begins. Destination DIC (Department of Criminal Investigation.)


Hundreds of statements continue to be gathered in Vila da Luz. All the people of the area are interviewed: resort employees, tourists, play leaders from the crèches, residents. Most of them will be of no use to us, but none must be neglected.

Information from Sagres tells us that an individual was caught in the act of taking photos
of several children on Mareta beach and in particular of a little girl aged 4, blonde with blue eyes, who looks like Madeleine. It was the little girl's father who noticed him. This 40 year-old man, wearing glasses, tells the investigators that the photographer tried to kidnap his daughter in the afternoon of April 26th in Sagres.

He allegedly then fled in a hired car with a woman in the passenger seat. The stranger did not look like a tourist; brown hair down to his collar, wearing cream-coloured trousers and jacket and shoes of a classic style. This report reminds us of the individual encountered by Jane Tanner in the streets of Vila da Luz on the evening of Madeleine's disappearance.

Thanks to the father's composure, he managed to take a photograph of the vehicle. It's not very clear and does not allow us to make out the number plate, but we succeed, nonetheless, in finding the car. The car hire firm provides us with the identity of the driver. He is a forty-year-old Polish man, who is traveling with his wife. They arrived in Portugal on April 28th, from Berlin. At Faro airport, they hired a car and put up in an apartment in Budens, near Praia da Luz. Unfortunately, on May 5th, at 7am, they had already left, taking with them their camera and all the photos from their holiday. We ask the German police, through Interpol, to monitor them as soon as they arrive in Berlin. All the passengers are questioned, but no one has seen a child looking like Madeleine. In Berlin, the couple take the train to return to Poland. Thus, the Polish trail comes to an end. We would like to have seen their photos...but that proved impossible.

A lead is only valuable in as far as it is followed to the end, which was not the case with this one. We will realise that we shouldn't have ruled it out so quickly, and that it is still a topic of interest.


Other individuals were seen lurking around the apartment, acting suspiciously, shortly before the events. On May 2nd or 3rd, according to an English tourist, an individual in shabby clothing was staring fixedly in the direction of the apartment. He went off in a white van. Other witness statements go in the same direction. For each, we set in motion the research procedures which sometimes include the development of an Identikit picture.

On the outskirts of Lagos, in the direction of Aljezur, there is a Gypsy encampment. Of course, traveling people are no longer thought of as child-stealers. Nevertheless, it is important to make sure they have nothing to do with the case before they hit the road again. As soon as they are informed of our searches, they collaborate voluntarily and let the agents do their work and conduct a search of their tents and their cars. No one has seen little Madeleine in the area.

Throughout the day, numerous apartments are visited in the resort and neighbouring areas: the investigators search more than 400, without result.


Someone puts forward the hypothesis according to which Madeleine would have died in her apartment, and that a member of the group would have removed her. It's a possibility, but nothing so far, no evidence, happens to support that theory.

The McCanns are lodged with David Payne. We want to search the accommodation of the family friends to try to pick up Madeleine's clothes, especially those she was wearing on May 3rd at 5.35pm when she returned from the day centre with her mother and the twins. Evidently, this initiative is not widely supported. The British ambassador meets with the team directing the investigation. The political and the diplomatic people seem to want to prevent us from freely doing our work.

- I'm sure this check is necessary.

- The clothes? Are you mad? if I understand you properly, you want to go into the apartment to take clothes to have them analysed?

- Yes. What's the problem? It's a perfectly normal procedure in cases like this.

- Of course, but with this media hype...I don't think I have ever in my life seen so many journalists....And I didn't come down in the last shower.


From the start of the investigation, we ask for the presence of a press attaché to accompany us and take on communicating with the media. The Justice Minister fulfills this request. Very quickly, however, this decision is contested. The reaction of the press itself is feared and public opinion, which might interpret that presence with direct intervention in the investigation by the minister....Finally, the person retained is an investigator, who is not working on the case, speaks English and has some experience in this field. With hindsight, it can be said that it wasn't a good decision. In fact, after the reading of our first press release and the parents' press conferences, the press let fly.

We were convinced that the people directly involved in the investigation should remain distanced from the media whirlwind. We needed help: the judiciary police would have to engage staff to dissect published articles, focusing on the analysis of press statements from the parents and their friends.But that didn't happen. The media circus was in full swing: all the time, new articles, live TV, a growing number of journalists running around the streets of Vila da Luz.

It didn't seem normal to us either that a couple whose child has just disappeared engages press attachés to deal with their relations with the media. It is not a question here of minimising the role of the means of communication and ignoring that a subject like this stirs up a lot of curiosity, but that constant preoccupation with the management of their communication by the parents, appeared to us, to say the least, astonishing.


The tracking of Portuguese and foreign paedophiles - the majority English - residing in the region or simply on holiday, continues to be checked. In spite of the kilometres covered, the interviews and the searches carried out, there is nothing concrete that leads us to suspect any of them.

The investigators continue to deal with the information collected. They look into all the statements, in particular those of the Ocean Club employees, and go through the lists of telephone calls that have been made available to them.

We must also check all communication via mobile phones during the night of May 3rd. It is possible that the abductor had used a mobile. We locate the relay antennae of various operators covering the sector in order to obtain the summary of calls and messages made or received that transited their antennae. Finally, the only suspicious communications are those involving Robert Murat, a person who is central to this case, who will later be placed under investigation.

The walls of the crisis unit are little by little covered in analytical charts, time-line charts, sketches, plans, task lists, photos and other important elements with, at the centre, the photo of Madeleine, to always remind us of the object of our mission.


Between 11pm and 3 in the morning, all members of the investigation team meet in the crisis unit; in the same smoke filled atmosphere, we take stock of the situation. Some don't agree with the judiciary police press release and think that the information should not have been disclosed, even by way of official press release. Others think it's possible to interpret the visit by the British ambassador as a form of British government intervention, which may not be impartial. Is it usual for them to get involved with cases of this kind or is it specific to this case, and why? Only they hold the answer.

Until now, the results have hardly been conclusive. New means - in all other investigations, they would already have been put in place - must be deployed.

- Why not monitor and tap the phones of the parents and friends? Their statements are far from convincing. The story about the window is unsound, and Jane's witness statement is not convincing either.

- In that way new details could be obtained.

- We have already discussed it. That would be ideal...Only, we have to get the judge to give us authorisation
with the scant details we have at our disposal. And if the parents get wind of it, we risk having the sky fall on our heads.

- In a kidnapping case with a ransom demand, that procedure would be normal, at least for the monitoring of the parents' phone calls.

- That's for certain, but in our case, that comes back to practically accusing them. Further, we don't even know if there's been a crime.

- Yes, I am well aware, but I insist. This would allow them to be ruled out.

The questions raised are relevant. Telephone taps would also allow unfounded suspicions to be destroyed. In our legal system, that procedure is only used with the sole purpose of gathering evidence. At this stage of the investigation, it's very tricky for us to express our doubts as to the sincerity of the parents and their friends.

On May 4th, the parents authorise us to check the phone calls logged on their mobile.

- Here's a copy of the summary of calls.

- I only have that of the couple. We have yet to receive the summary from BTS* (*)

- OK, what have we got?

- Do you see what I see?

- Yes, I think so: between April 27th and May 4th, Kate did not make any calls. Hum...

- None either, between 11.22am and 11.17pm on the night of the disappearance.

- Kate mustn't like making telephone calls...

- For Gerald, there's nothing before May 4th at exactly 12.15am

- What does that mean? They never made phone calls then?

- Wait, there's something here. Look at the number at the top of the list.

- Yes, so?

- On her telephone, her husbands' number is logged: she called him on May 3rd at 11.17pm, but on Gerald's, nothing, no trace of that call!

- How can that be explained?

- It's simple as anything: the list of calls has been deleted.

- Always the same old question: why?

Summing up: the first phone calls were exchanged one hour after the disappearance. It could be imagined that in that lapse of time, they were busy looking for their daughter. Nevertheless, it's astonishing that they didn't need to speak to each other at such a difficult time.

Later I learn that the English secret service had already placed the couple under telephone surveillance. If that's true, the Portuguese police were never informed.

(* Base Transceiver Station of mobile phone operators)


Sunday May 6th

Meeting room. Seventy-two hours have gone by since the disappearance. We are going through a difficult time: in spite of the searches carried out on the ground and the considerable means deployed, we haven't found Madeleine. The day gets off to a difficult start with bad news from Poland. From all accounts, the police badly interpreted our request for collaboration; all they did was approach the couple and verify that Madeleine was not with them, but didn't seize either their photographic equipment or the photos taken during their holiday. Another lead that remains pending. Perhaps it would have led to the discovery of a paedophile ring.

We are seeking to piece together the couple's itinerary, to find out if anyone noticed them in the vicinity of Praia da Luz, to establish any relationship between them and Maddie's disappearance. We circulate a photo - which we obtained thanks to a surveillance camera in a Lisbon shopping mall - amongst holiday-makers, clients and employees of Praia da Luz restaurants. Fruitlessly. Nobody saw them.

On the other hand, employees of the restaurant they usually went to, in the Burgau-Budens area, remember them: the woman was usually in a bad mood, and both wore clothes totally inappropriate to the place and the time of year. The forensic police won't be able to investigate their hire vehicle, which we managed to locate, because it has already been rented out again. All that's left to us is to find the bin in which the cleaning team dumped the rubbish left in the vehicle. Analyses of the rubbish reveals nothing. Fortunately, no one else has yet occupied the apartment the couple stayed in - it's low season. We go ahead with a thorough search, looking for evidence of a child's presence: shoe prints, fingerprints or footprints. Nothing. We then gather various hair samples - doubtless coming from adults - and notice drops of blood on a kitchen unit. Nothing conclusive. It's probably from an everyday domestic accident.

In the course of a meeting, I ask the director what follow-up to bring to this case, now that the person who took the photos knows he is being sought. The director gives a common sense response.

- It's unfortunate, of course. However, they were never seen in Praia da Luz, much less close to the apartment....The father of the little girl in Sagres was wearing spectacles and we aren't 100% sure of the accuracy of his description.

- Yes, but he took photos of the car. Yet again, it could quite well belong to someone else, but...

- If, in the course of the investigation, there are update details on this lead, we will request a rogatory letter and we will go to Poland to interview them and conduct a search of their apartment.

We doubt that a rogatory letter would be of any use to us. The way this lead was handled makes us think not, but we can't hold it against the Polish police, who collaborated as well as they could.

We refocus our efforts on other leads. Information on more individuals
behaving suspiciously continues to flood in.


"The child, [..........] shall, wherever possible, grow up in the care and under the responsibility of his parents, and, in any case, in an atmosphere of affection and of moral and material security;"

United Nations Declaration of The Rights of The Child, 1959

Madeleine McCann: L'Enquête Interdite - The Truth Of The Lie- Chapter 4


In a criminal investigation, knowledge of the victim is essential. A physical description is not enough. Her personality, her habits, other interests, her family background and her friendships allow a better understanding of the conditions in which the crime was committed. Knowing about her actions and her movements before her disappearance or her death also helps to determine the motive for the crime. The work is made easier when it's about an adult person with real life experience. When the victim is a child, the information becomes more piecemeal, and it's not easy to define a still evolving personality. All the information about her comes from her parents, her family, their friends, employees, neighbours and sometimes educators. It's not her actions that speak for her, but other people.

According to statistics, including Great Britain, parents and close relatives are involved in the majority of cases of missing children. Certainly that does not constitute proof. A common sense rule, however, says doubt their word, without this meaning that they are to be considered as suspects. The information they provide must be cross-checked against other witness statements, in order to evaluate their veracity and credibility. The public in general, deeply touched by the misfortune that has befallen the family - they can all easily imagine the anxiety and pain that a mother or a father must feel in such a situation - take their side right away. The investigator, however, cannot lose sight of his objectives. He has to devote all his efforts to the discovery of the truth in order to bring justice to the only true victim: the child.


In disappearance cases, the first hypothesis to be considered is that of a voluntary departure. An appeal for witnesses, accompanied by a detailed description, is then issued. Searches are organised immediately, mobilising all the available resources: police forces, civil population, sniffer dogs, announcements in the media... In parallel, the investigator must not rule out the possibility of a crime. The three basic questions to which he must find answers are as follows: what happened? where did it happen? why?

Every place likely to be the crime scene, is gone over with a fine-tooth comb. Searches and inspections are undertaken to gather evidence. Meanwhile, family background, relationship with the parents, neighbours. friends, school mates and teachers are the object of an extensive investigation. The victim's personality too: her habits, the games she went in for, illnesses she suffered from, all information about her might turn out to be important later on. The objective of these investigations is to make sure that the child has not been abused either physically or emotionally and that she led a normal, happy life.


Other than her name and date of birth, the appeal for witnesses launched in the media to find Madeleine Beth McCann mentioned the following description: blonde hair, blue-green eyes, approximately 90 centimetres tall, nearly four years old, dressed in white and pink pyjamas at the time of her disappearance. Certain details - as, for example, the fact that she had bare feet - were not communicated to the public, because this allows us, later on, to validate or rule out certain witness statements.

In the course of the investigation, new details came to enrich what we knew about Madeleine. We knew that she was wanted by her parents, who had recourse to artificial insemination. She clearly led a quiet life, like most little girls of her age. No witness statement, no detail led us to imagine that she had been ill-treated. A child psychiatrist explains that there is a huge difference between wanting a child and later raising the child. Having been wanted doesn't necessarily mean being loved and happy. It is quite possible that a baby, eagerly awaited by the parents, later becomes a responsibility that the latter do not manage to assume. Consequently, the child becomes unwanted. In the course of one of her many interviews, Kate, the mother, referred to situations where the little girl seemed to represent an inconvenience: it was difficult for her to carry out everyday household tasks and even to cook, because she often had to carry her around. It was a relief when her husband returned in the evening. If Kate was experiencing difficulties when she only had Madeleine, it can be imagined that they increased tenfold after the birth of the twins. Having had to face up to these new responsibilities, without much help, and set aside her career to fulfill her role as mother, it can be accepted that she arrived on holiday emotionally exhausted. Kate stated having had a bad feeling before leaving England.


The holidays finally arrive: run on the beach, play tennis, relax with friends...For the parents, this diversion is certainly well earned.

Madeleine's holiday progresses normally: she divides her time between the play centre, where she participates in activities and games, and moments in the company of her parents and the twins. The Portuguese police are astonished that the parents entrust their children to the play leaders from morning till night. In fact, the father - or the mother - drops them off at 9 in the morning and picks them up at around 12.30 for lunch together. Towards 3 o'clock, the children return to their respective play centre where they stay until 5.30pm. The leaders who dealt with Madeleine explained to us that English people consider this way of doing things completely normal. They also helped us to improve our description of Madeleine's personality, seeing her as an active and sociable child, who loved her brother and sister very much, always excited as soon as she saw them coming, and very attached to her father. Other leaders described her for us as a reserved, happy and calm little girl. She was very pretty, but what rather distinguished her from children of her own age was her reserve and shyness.

On the fateful day of May 3rd, the attendance register at the play centre indicates that Madeleine arrived at 9.10, accompanied by her father. Her mother came to fetch her at 12.25 for lunch and took her back at 2 o'clock. After jogging on the beach and going to fetch the twins, she collected Maddie at 5.30pm. From that moment on, no other person saw the little girl, apart from her parents and their friends. What happened then in the apartment remains a mystery.


One of the police officers who went to the McCanns' home in England, reported that a medical monitoring chart for Madeleine was posted in the kitchen. This referred to her sleep problems and made clear that she was waking several times in the night. The paternal grandfather stated that Kate gave the little girl - and also the twins - Calpol, a medication designed to facilitate falling asleep. That seems to be a common practice in Great Britain; they even talk about a "Calpol generation." In recent years, the possible presence of an antihistamine with sedative effects in Calpol has aroused great controversy. Recently, the same laboratory put Calpol Night on the market, whose ingredients clearly list that it contains an antihistamine.

The mother admits having taken some to Portugal. She insists though that there is no calming effect, its being composed solely of paracetamol, and that she did not give any of it to her daughter during the holiday. At the time of her disappearance, Madeleine was sleeping in the same room as the twins. The latter, in spite of the noise, the mother's screaming and the comings and goings, did not wake up, as if they had been given sedatives. Would there not be a link between that difficulty in falling asleep and Madeleine's tragic end?

Blood markers on the wall behind the sofa.

Other than her sleep problems, it is possible that Madeleine suffered from an illness, a hypothesis that was never confirmed. Immediately after the discovery of traces of blood in the apartment, the mother, in the course of an interview with a Portuguese magazine, revealed that Madeleine had had a nose bleed. But the bleeding could be associated with certain pathologies.

Her parents have always insisted that Madeleine was in good health. The medical files, requested several times from Great Britain were never sent to us. These could have been deciding factors. Why didn't we have access to them? We never knew the truth of the matter. It's deplorable that the British legal system could be quite so uncooperative in this type of situation. In the course of the investigation, a doctor pointed out to us that Madeleine had a mark in her eye, described by some as a coloboma of the iris, which can be associated with other disorders, for example cardiac insufficiency. In spite of repeated requests to the British Medical Association, we were never able to confirm that hypothesis, a simple photo not being sufficient to establish a medical diagnosis.

Madeleine McCann: L'Enquête Interdite - The Truth Of The Lie - Chapter 5


Seventy-two hours have gone by. All those involved in the investigation are feeling a deep sense of frustration. But it's not a question of throwing in the towel. We need to bring new motivation to the teams and keep the investigation going at the same pace.


On Monday May 7th, we start to welcome our English colleagues from Leicestershire, the county where Madeleine and her parents live.

When we requested the collaboration of the English police, our request was passed on, according to practice, via the liaison officer of SOCA* We had thought that a case of abduction was within the jurisdiction of Scotland Yard, who are much more experienced than others in the fight against violent crime. We learned that in Great Britain, investigations are consigned to the region where the victim resides. Nevertheless, Scotland Yard will intervene later on.

(* Serious Organised Crime Agency)


In the Zavial area, a few kilometres from Vila da Luz, there lives a 46 year-old British citizen, who is suspected of paedophilia by his neighbours. The English police inform us that he doesn't have a record and that he is not on file. In Portugal too, there are no complaints registered against him. He has not been seen hanging about in the areas of Vila da Luz or the beach. The lead goes nowhere.

Research on thefts committed in the area before Madeleine's disappearance leads us to the prison in Portimão. A young man is incarcerated there following a series of thefts in the region. He turns out to be very reticent, and the team sent to question him do not obtain any useful information. Nevertheless, we have to continue research in that direction. At this stage of the investigation, the track of a burglary gone wrong cannot be excluded.

Tuesday May 8th, 5pm, Vila da Luz

The white van seen near the Ocean Club, driven by an individual who looked like a tramp, ends up being identified. It belongs to a British music teacher, aged 56, who is spending his holiday playing the guitar and collecting money on the beach or in the streets of Vila da Luz. It's certainly him that Gerald McCann passed on the promenade on the day he bought an ice cream for Madeleine. It's also he who was seen near apartment 5A in the vehicle that serves him as living space. The follow-up investigation totally rules him out.

Tuesday May 8th, 11.45pm, Ocean Club blocks 4 and 5

In the hope of retracing the path that Madeleine might have taken on the night of May 3rd, we set up a search operation, bringing sniffer dogs
in from Lisbon from the National Republican Guard. An identical operation had already taken place on the same night as the disappearance with dogs from the local police.

The idea is to start from apartment 5A and to follow all the roads that lead from accommodation blocks 5 and 4. From the start we are aware of the limits of this approach. In fact, the GNR dogs are essentially trained for searching in a rural environment; in addition, the persistence of bodily odours diminishes after 48 hours.

We get them to sniff a towel which, according to Kate, was used to dry Madeleine after her bath. When the dogs finish going along block 5, when, logically, they should have been heading for block 4, they suddenly turn to the left. They then follow the path at the back that separates the apartments from the leisure area. They go quite a long way in that direction. Even if the reaction of the two dogs coincides, the trainers cannot draw any definite conclusions: in fact, it's already been more than two days since the disappearance. What they can state with certainty, is that Madeleine went along there, without being able to pinpoint the date. Gerald McCann confirms this claim: he took that same route with Madeleine a few days earlier.


From the moment Madeleine's photo is circulated in the media, her presence is reported to us from all over the place. In Portugal first of all, then in Spain and in Morocco, then all over Europe and even in Latin America, like a circle getting a bit wider every day, whose centre is Vila da Luz.

Almost simultaneously, she is in Zurich and on the corner of a Rio de Janeiro street...Faced with this tidal wave, rules have to be established, because it's impossible for us to check everything. So, the local police have to check the veracity of the witness statements and take all necessary measures: viewing CCTV images, lifting fingerprints, DNA profiles...From May 11th the Moroccan saga gets going. A Norwegian woman who lives in the south of Spain allegedly recognised Madeleine in a service station in Marrakesh. From then on, the greatest number of witness statements come to us from Morocco and, bizarrely, each time someone states that they saw Madeleine, she is always in pyjamas with bare feet.



Leaping forward in time and in the chronology of the investigation, we come to the end of September, a few days after the McCanns' return to Great Britain. Repeated statements from clan McCann, who are not budging from the Moroccan trail - will we ever know why? - encourage a young Spanish woman to examine more closely photos she had taken during her holiday in Morocco. Before leaving, she had not been aware, she said, of this Moroccan lead. In one of her photos, taken from a vehicle, a North African family is seen, walking along a road. A woman is carrying a little girl on her back: it can only be Madeleine. Someone tells me about this witness statement and wants to know what I think. I have obviously still not seen the photo and even so I respond, convinced: "Unfortunately, it's got to be a mistake."

We ask the chief of Leicestershire police, Stuart Prior, where he is up to with it. He explains that the English police, after having seen the photo, immediately submitted it to the McCanns, asking them if they recognised their daughter. To which they replied with a, "perhaps." Incomprehensible to say the least. We are shocked by the behaviour of the English, who took that initiative, without consulting us, us, the people responsible for the investigation, which is all the more ludicrous given that the McCanns were already considered as suspects. That way of doing things disrupts the strategy adopted for the investigation, which the Portuguese and English police agreed on.

It's only in the morning papers the following day, that I get to see the photo. There is a group of people, obviously Moroccan, with a woman whose clothes practically cover her from head to foot. She is carrying a blonde child on her back. Those who thought this photo constituted an important lead were missing an important detail: this woman's face - it was plain to see - was white; perhaps she was dressed like that for protection from the sun. So, the little girl could well be hers. This will be confirmed later on: the mother, of European origin, is married to a Moroccan. Once again, it's wasn't Maddie...Another false hope.

Saturday May 12th, Vila da Luz

The individual seen in the gardens of the Ocean Club on Wednesday May 2nd, not far from apartment 5A is identified: he's a 53 year-old British gardener who has worked a few times for Robert Murat's family's gardening company.
The searches carried out in his home and his car produced nothing. Further, his presence on the premises was perfectly justified and there is nothing linking him to Madeleine, whichever way you look at it.

We learn, by chance, that the McCanns are beginning to use their connections and that on May 23rd, they allegedly made contact with the future British Prime Minister, Gordon Brown. We are convinced that the investigation is going to suffer all sorts of pressure and that Madeleine's disappearance will be treated as a political problem, at least in Great Britain.

In spite of our having hundreds of pieces of information in our possession, we begin to realise that there is still some missing. At this time, everybody is aware of the theory of abduction. Residents and tourists present in Vila da Luz on the night of May 3rd have heard about this stranger who was allegedly seen, going around the streets, with a child in his arms. It wasn't ruled out that the man could be a local, quietly going home, carrying his sleeping child. On May 25th, then, we launched an appeal in the media: anyone having seen an individual corresponding to the description given by Jane Tanner should contact us. No one responded.

When Robert Murat is placed under investigation, we review the press photos taken just after Madeleine's disappearance: we want to check what he was wearing and with whom he was in contact . On the morning of May 4th, Murat is seen near some GNR members in the company of two individuals of English nationality - as we find out later -, one of them being of Asian origin. Ocean Club tourists probably. We also examine the photos taken by the McCanns during their holiday. In one of them, Gerald McCann is seen playing with his children in the Tapas restaurant play area. In the background, you can make out an Asian-looking man, the same one as was seen in Robert Murat's company. He seems to be observing the family. We then proceed to identify him and the other holiday-makers that Murat had been in contact with. We get this information to the English police, who interview them locally. They conclude that they weren't involved in Madeleine's disappearance. In fact, the man in the photo was with his daughter - and there was nothing suspicious about his behaviour; as for the others, they had met Murat during the searches organised to find Madeleine. A few days later, these photos will be published in an English newspaper: it is not known how they were obtained or for what purpose they were disclosed.

One of the
Ocean Club tourists states having heard Gerald McCann saying on the telephone that there were paedophile networks in Portugal, and that it was they who were responsible for Madeleine's abduction. Absolutely astonishing! Just a few hours after his daughter's disappearance, the father already knows who is guilty!


In mid-May, we had already submitted the McCanns' group of nine friends to a second round of interviews. In spite of its importance, - too upset seemingly to countenance the exercise - Kate Healy's was left until later. In view of the number of inconsistencies raised by cross-checking the statements, we are thinking of going ahead with a reconstruction. This is a routine procedure, above all when contradictory details pile up. Most of the time, it helps to make rapid
headway with the investigation. By placing the various players in the drama - in this case the group of friends, employees of the restaurant, play leaders and other witnesses - into a situation that is identical to what they experienced, differences between the versions become obvious. When an improbability is noticed, the protagonists must then explain immediately.

The reconstruction was never to take place. The reasons put forward to justify that decision - in spite of opinions to the contrary - are multiple. There are lots of holiday-makers at this time and sealing off the perimeter would ruin their stay; the airspace would have to be closed; the hotel complex would be overrun with hordes of journalists; people might think that the parents and their friends were suspects and, of course, the field mustn't be left open for that kind of deliberation. For all that, a more discreet reconstruction, even partial, with only the couple present, might provide useful information. No a priori judgment is implied, quite the contrary. It's quite simply the co-operation that we have the right to expect on the part of parents faced with such a situation.

I am convinced that there is still a need for a reconstruction, whatever form it takes. The staging of the events of May 3rd from the details gathered from numerous witness statements would help to revive memories. It is difficult to understand why that is not possible.


On June 14th, the parents are contacted by a stranger who states that he is in possession of information about Madeleine's whereabouts. Following the advice of the investigators, the McCanns set up an email address in order to maintain contact more easily and to better evaluate the reliability of the source. In the course of exchanges, the stranger demands 2 million Euros, of which an advance of 500,000 Euros must be sent to a person of his acquaintance in The Netherlands.

A rogatory letter is obtained. The Dutch courts and police are asked for assistance in locating and identifying the individual. The McCanns are anxious and impatient; they think the emails sent are credible and they respond very quickly. They lived in The Netherlands with Madeleine before the birth of the twins. Would someone they knew there have kidnapped their little girl to obtain a ransom? Kate and Gerald are convinced they are going to succeed, thanks to this lead, in finding Madeleine. But that conviction will not last long, as we will find out later.

Informed of these mails, the Portuguese PJ, acting in agreement with the English and Dutch police, engage in negotiations by email with the informant. The police advise Gerald McCann on how to act in order to obtain the maximum information. If the lead turned out to be credible, Madeleine might be freed and her abductors captured.

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.

Did Gerald McCann know that this lead would take us to a dead end? Is that the reason he appeared to be so nonchalant? Or was it due to the coldness that he never lost throughout the investigation - an attitude that made one of the English police officers say: "Don't forget he's a heart surgeon and he cuts people open before breakfast. "

Madeleine McCann: L'Enquête Interdite - The Truth Of The Lie- Chapter 6


After Madeleine's disappearance, the first English police officer whom we welcome to the Portimão Department of Criminal Investigation, on May 5th, is Glen Power, liaison officer to Portugal. The brief of this police official attached to his country's embassy is to facilitate communication between police forces. This is one of a number of pivots on which international police collaboration relies.

I have known Glen Power for a long time. Martin Cox, who had held the job in Portugal for some years, came to the Algarve with Glen when the latter replaced him. I had worked with Glen on several cases of violent crime or linked to organised crime; I was aware of his skills, his great capacity for work, his kindness and his modesty. Our relationship went beyond that of a simple professional connection. I was a bit worried when he told me that he wouldn't be around a few days later. He had a lot to do. He wanted to reassure me by telling me that the language of investigation was universal and that his colleagues would have no difficulty in integrating into the ongoing investigation. No doubt, but personalities are important, as is the information committed to memory, knowledge of the details, the cross-checks that allow us to be responsive to the slightest indications. It's for that reason that, in general, the make-up of the team remains the same from start to finish of an investigation.

Two days later, English colleagues begin to arrive. The main idea was for the English police to place at our disposal two specialists in family supervision and support to be the link between the Portuguese investigators and the McCanns. The National Directorate of the PJ had authorised the arrival of these police officers in the context of international collaboration. Bob Small, an officer from the Leicestershire police, and one of his colleagues meet us to take stock of the situation and evaluate the needs of the investigation before making contact with the couple.

We insist on knowing what our English counterparts have come to Portugal to do. I assign one of my investigators to follow the English superintendent like a shadow and to keep me informed about his actions. I want to be informed of everything he learns, the names of the people he meets and the places he goes to.

Then the two police officers arrive who are assigned to psychological support and communication with the family. Little by little, the number of English police officers grows exponentially. We place at their disposal a room next to our crisis unit, Task Portugal. These are specialists from various police services, including Scotland Yard. Special surveillance teams as well as information and telecommunications technicians turn up with their laptops and various high-tech equipment. Others will come to join us, notably profilers: they will develop a profile of the alleged abductor from which a number of possible scenarios will be constructed. The analysts trace time-lines and patterns of connections based on the witness statements gathered. They produce giant summary boards that cover the walls of the offices. They attend all our meetings and collaborate in decision-making. They are the intermediary through which requests for information are sent to Great Britain, and it is they who receive the responses and enquiries.

On May 14th, Kate Healy is indignant about the attitude of the liaison officer, who asks her where her daughter is. Neither she nor her husband accepts anyone doubting their word. The officer will be sent packing - and his colleague too - a week after his arrival. That attitude is, to say the least, shocking on the part of parents confronted by such a situation, that, what is more, is in a foreign country. Those two police officers, who distinguished themselves through long experience in the management of situations of kidnap and abduction, had been, all the same, entirely at their disposal; they provided daily logistical and legal support, and afforded them all the help they could have needed.

Curiously, the English do not consider it expedient to disclose the incident and the PJ are not informed. Myself, I only learn of it indirectly. Finally, a solution is found quickly: the two men are replaced by a Portuguese man who speaks fluent English.

During this time, the Leicestershire police continue to receive a considerable number of enquiries that they have trouble sorting and analysing. On May 15th, inspector Ricardo Paiva is sent as reinforcement to the English, who, he says, welcome him warmly and feed him on tea and cakes. Most of the bits of information received from all over the world are of no interest; so, there is no reason for follow-up. People allegedly recognise Madeleine or claim to know exactly where she is; seers, clairvoyants send very confused messages to the police, some well-intentioned, others less so... Rapidly, the sophisticated computer system for managing calls is overloaded. So much effort and so much money spent financing the appeals in the press for witnesses leaves us wondering; we are not convinced of the expediency of this method that consists of requesting help from the population to resolve a case.

On Tuesday June 12th, Bob Small and Chris Eyre, head of the Leicestershire area police, go to Faro for a meeting, which Guilhermino Encarnacão, Luis Neves and myself also attend. We need to make a point about cooperation between police forces and set out the latest requirements. Everything seems to go well. We are aware of the incident between Kate and the liaison officers, but it is not brought up. We have the impression that the politically correct hypothesis of abduction is still favoured, but that other possibilities are not being ruled out.

As time went by, we noticed that a certain number of the police officers sent to Portugal were poorly informed about the progress of the investigation. One of them who - like the majority - was coming to Portugal for the first time, was wearing a green and yellow rubber wrist band, bought for £2, which he played with nervously. The inscription read, "Look for Madeleine." Some of his colleagues told him that he would soon get rid of it. As a matter of fact, he took it off as soon as he got properly into the investigation and he had learned about the evidence placing doubt on the theory of abduction.