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Netflix Doccie on Madeleine McCann – Episode 2 Review and Timeline Analysis

Although the second episode of the series is titled “Person of Interest” [singular] it basically looks into two individuals, Robert Murat and Sergey Malinka. It’s interesting that Robert Murat was quickly regarded as a prime suspect, despite having an alibi and despite no eye-witnesses placing him at the scene. Murat was neither implicated nor associated with the two sightings known as Tannerman and Smithman, because he didn’t resemble either of these figures in body shape, hair style or facially.

Murat also has another rather obvious distinguishing feature – his glasses. Was Murat really a better suspect to seize on than the folks staying at the hotel, including the McCanns themselves?

‘My life caught up in the Madeleine McCann case’: Russian computer expert reveals the threats, ‘blackmail and bribery’ he faced after being quizzed as a witness over girl’s disappearance – Daily Mail

For some time now Malinka has been agitating about a book that is coming out. As of this writing, in March 2019, there is still no book. I was contacted at one stage to work with and ghost write for Malinka [not directly by Malinka, but by a third party]. I turned down the offer. It seems I’m not the only one.

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Sorry to disappoint, but due to the content of the second episode, I won’t be analysing episode two because I consider both “suspects” to be debunked anyway. What I think is far more interesting to address is the gloss-over of the timeline in episode one. The next blog will return to a chronological analysis of the remaining six episodes over the next six days.


The essential timeline is dealt with for [are you ready for it] less than three minutes total in the Netflix documentary, between 12:00 and 15:00. It starts with the McCanns making their way down to the Tapas bar at 20:30, and they’re the first to arrive. There’s no mention whether them being early or arriving first that particular evening was unusual compared to the preceding week. That’s an issue I deal with in detail in the DOUBT series.

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The next timecheck is at 21:00 when Matt Oldfield arrives at the restaurant, apparently volunteering the all clear that the McCann children were sleeping soundly.

Matt Oldfield was very much in the picture immediately after Madeleine’s disappearance, as can be seen in these images.

At 09:05 Gerry leaves the restaurant, presumably before eating anything [and it’s unknown whether he’d ordered anything, or what he ordered if he did] to make his first and only check on the children that night.

We see it dramatized how Gerry closes the door without closing it completely. In some descriptions, Gerry is so specific he even describes how wide the door was opened down to the last degree. This is an important precursor to the actions of the door that follow.

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The next timecheck given is 21:25. It’s made explicit that Kate INTENDED to do her check but was forestalled by [guess who?] Matt Oldfield who volunteered to take her place.

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And right here is where the timeline goes wonky. Oldfield enters the unlocked apartment the same way Gerry did, via the side patio door, and “saw light” and “heard the sound” as if of a child moving in their blankets.

Thanks to door being open enough to perceive without really seeing, Oldfield is able to do his check without really doing his check. If one of the kids was awake, Oldfield apparently heard it but didn’t look in to make sure. If he had would he have seen Madeleine?

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In my opinion Madeleine was already dead at this stage, so she wouldn’t have been in bed, but her body was likely still in the apartment. Her body was either in the cupboard of her parents’ bedroom, or behind the couch, based on cadaver alerts, or possibly laying in the flower bed below the balcony.

It’s also possible immediately after Oldfield left, Madeleine woke up, fell over the balcony railing or down the patio stairs, and died. However since it takes at least an hour for cadaver odor to form it’s more likely Madeleine died earlier in the evening [prior to the McCanns leaving for dinner] than later. Cadaver traces were so strong they were still picked up in late August, three months after the incident, and in spite of the apartment being cleaned numerous times. This strongly suggests her little body remained inert – dead – for some time before it was removed from the apartment.


The Oldfield witness testimony is wonderfully inconclusive and murky, because it doesn’t confirm anything. Maybe all the kids were there and maybe they weren’t.

At the same time, Oldfield’s entry into the narrative means the fact that neither McCanns checked on their brood is justified because a third party is given the responsibility [except that he doesn’t actually check to make sure]. Also, the leaving of a door unlocked is justified to allow access to this known third party, which also – just incidentally you understand – paves the way for the imputed abductor.

So even in a scenario where Madeleine could be proven to have died, who would be to blame? Where would it begin and where would it end? Whose testimony, assuming there was ever a trial to test this version, could be relied on one way or another?

The Netflix timeline picks up again at 22:00. Kate gets up and heads to the apartment. Once again, the door becomes the central feature of her visit. There’s something very strange about the door!

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All told, the documentary spends less than two minutes thirty seconds going through the critical timeline. There is virtually no analysis or explanation, no mention of several important witnesses within the timelines. Instead the door, “light” and sounds are emphasised supposedly confirming that everything was okay when it wasn’t.

Strangely, in another reconstruction of the door narrative, this one done inside the McCanns’ residence in Rothley, Kate seems to suggest the door was left virtually closed but  that when she approached it, it had opened “quite wide” and it then slammed shut right in front of her.

This witnessed moving of the door and inconsistency of the door conjures the door as a sort of witness to an abductor is who is not otherwise seen or heard, and who doesn’t leave any traces.

That reconstruction can be viewed at 27:58 in the clip below.

Interestingly, in her checking of the children Madeleine is missing, but no mention is made of the twins who are also in the room, or whether they are awake or asleep, or safe. And having just had one child stolen [apparently through the open window], what does Kate do – she abandons both children, runs out of the apartment and raises the alarm, thus leaving the twins vulnerable to additional abductions.

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Another easy point to miss: immediately after Madeleine disappears, an awful lot of running happens. Kate runs, then “everybody sprints back to our apartment…”

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Now let’s focus on a few observations in terms of the aspects the Netflix timeline implicitly doesn’t address:

  1. Between 20:30 and 22:00 Gerry makes a total of one visit to check on the children, and according to Gerry, verifies that at 20:30 Madeleine was alive and safe. This effectively makes this observation the last time Madeleine was seen alive by any witness, assuming the observation is true and accurate.
  2. Kate McCann also makes a total of one visit to check on the children. When she does the incident has already happened, so arguably Kate’s visit doesn’t count. One can say that technically in the space of 90 minutes, when the plan was to check on the children every 20 minutes, Gerry made the only check and only did so once. In 90 minutes at least 4 checks ought to have been possible.
  3. It’s not clarified what happened after Gerry’s check. We know he checked, but there’s not clarity on what time he was seen returning to the table. One way to establish this would be to look at what food he ordered when, whether he paid for it, and how much of the meal he actually ate that evening.
  4. In the police interviews it’s established that Gerry didn’t go straight back to the restaurant after checking on his children. Instead he is seen on the street by a witness, Jes Wilkens at 21:08 and by Jane Tanner at 21:10. What this does is it pinpoints where Gerry is, giving him an alibi there and then, while also “allowing” Gerry not to be where he’s supposed to be [eating at the restaurant].
  5. Jane Tanner also – very conveniently – sees the prime suspect carrying away a child while at the time seeing Gerry in the street [not carrying anyone, while talking to Jes].
  6. Thirty minutes pass and it’s Kate’s turn to check on the children. During this interval Gerry’s movements aren’t known precisely. During this time, at approximately 21:50, the Smithman sighting occurs about 5 minutes’ walk from apartment 5A. The man and the child spotted in the alley broadly fit both the father and Madeleine’s description, and the man is said to be walking “briskly” in the direction of the sea. In addition, the child in his arms doesn’t appear to be conscious, and is being held “awkwardly”. Even the clothing of the child seen broadly matches what Madeleine was wearing the night she went missing.
  7. Although Kate McCann is quoted in the documentary and in her book saying she ran out of the apartment and when she saw the table shouted “someone’s [singular] taken Madeleine”, others on the scene remembered it differently. One nanny described Madeleine’s mother shouting “they’ve taken her”. Another account from the Moyes couple who were staying two floors above the McCanns, quotes Kate shouting “the fucking bastards have taken her”. And wouldn’t it have made more sense to simply shout the message from the balcony, if the Tapas Bar was within earshot and visual range, as is so often emphasised?
  8. It appears that at no point did either of the McCanns contact the authorities themselves, even when a neighbor offered the use of her phone. Gerry dispatched Oldfield relatively early, at 22:10, to head to receptions and call the police.
  9. For several years the focus of the media was on the Tapas 7’s star witness account – fingering Tannerman – even though the cops had long since dismissed this theory. Meanwhile, Smithman was dismissed or disregarded by the McCanns and their private investigation into that sighting…well…was treated in a very different way to Tannerman.Fullscreen capture 20190315 123955
  10. A straightforward way to figure out who was where, when, and saw what, how and why events played out in a particular pattern, is for all the folks to return to the scene to do a recorded official reconstruction. Put the people like chess pieces on the board and move them about according to what everyone did and saw. This is precisely what the Portuguese cops asked the McCanns to do. This was their response at 4:19 in the clip below.

UPDATE: The clip above has been removed since the publication of this blog, so here’s another. This was the resconstruction response at 0:27in the clip below.

Also visit 1:46 in the clip below.

More: What happened on the day Madeleine disappeared? [Timeline] – The Guardian

“The f*****g b*****ds have taken her!” Kate McCann’s tortured screams on night Maddie went missing – The Mirror

The Prodigal Nanny Returns – Shakedown

The timeline leading up to the events of May 3rd, 2007 are explored in meticulous detail in DOUBT., available exclusively on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. 


  1. Sylvester

    I’m going to re-read Doubt as I’m getting caught up in this case again. It’s like trying to put together a jigsaw puzzle. All of the time leading up to the McCann’s going to the restaurant is in question – because it’s their account, and can’t be trusted. Madeleine was so sleepy she fell asleep before the story was read is suspicious to me as well, then Kate’s shower and glass of wine – trying to fill in the timeline? Their body language too is suspect. Gerry is trying so very hard to convince the public it was an abduction – his arms and hands parting the air as if to overtake Kate’s downcast demur guilt-ridden gaze lest she let something slip. They would be too emotional to do a reconstruction, of course they’ll do anything to help – but not that.

    • Ckean Queen

      Yes! In all my years raising my own children, babysitting as a teen, and lots of time with nephews, I have never once had a child fall asleep while being read to (believe my, I wish!). That seriously seems like something you see only in the movies.
      Reading Nick’s series on this case (Doubt) is next on my list. I’ve purchased Nick’s latest book on the Watts case, but I’m currently re-reading Drilling Through Discovery. I can’t wait to get to this case. I have to force myself not to skip ahead!

  2. Ralph Oscar

    When this case was first reported in the news, I simply couldn’t get past how *any* parents could leave their children, those ages, alone at night, unsupervised, in an unlocked, ground-floor hotel room in a foreign country. I still can’t get past that – who *does* that? It’s unthinkable!

    However, if it is indeed becoming commonplace for parents to routinely drug their children at bedtime, then those parents would have known, from their own experience, that there was no way those children would be moving. I was curious about this, so I looked it up – first article I saw:

    In our TODAY Moms and poll of more than 26,000 mothers, one in five admitted to giving their children medicine such as Benadryl or Dramamine to get through a big event, like a long car ride or plane trip.

    More disturbing: One in 12 moms confessed to regularly dosing their kids with sleep-inducing medication, just to get some peace and quiet on a normal night.

    Moms wrote to us anonymously:

    “I give my younger daughter Benadryl and Tylenol almost every night – she loves the taste and begs for it.”

    “I gave my child Benadryl to go to sleep – years later now, I am still embarrassed to admit it.”

    “I gave my child Benadryl when he was mildly congested to guarantee he would fall asleep on time so I could get to bed at a decent hour.”

    A hit of Benadryl before a long trip is pretty standard practice, though it may not win you Mother of the Year award (except maybe from your fellow passengers on a cross-country flight).

    “I suspect that one in five is low,” said Dr. Nancy Snyderman, NBC’s chief medical editor, who says parents should talk to their pediatricians about proper dosage. (She adds that every doctor she knows who’s also a parent has tried this trick at some point, so don’t feel shy about telling your doctor.)

    Back to Ralph: Let me emphasize from that last sentence:

    “every doctor she knows who’s also a parent has tried this trick at some point”

    “EVERY”?? Remember that this is so socially unaccepted that we’re likely to see the “halo effect” in action here, where people routinely exaggerate what is regarded as “virtuous” and minimize what is regarded as “shameful”. And polls are notoriously squishy – people often report what they regard as “respectable” behavior, whether they’re engaging in it or not. For example, if a poll were asking participants if they’d ever murdered anyone, we shouldn’t expect any guilty parties to be admitting to that, should we? If they’ve gotten away with it to that point?

    Of course, a carefully designed questionnaire *can* get to facts that the participants typically would not reveal – see David Lisak’s paper on “Repeat Rape and Multiple Offending Among Undetected Rapists”. Also look up “WHOA: 4 Questions That Got 120 Rapists To Admit They Were Rapists”…but I digress…again…

    • Laura Thompson

      I, too, was horrified when I learned that the McCanns and their friends made regular practice of leaving their *little* kids alone, outside of earshot or sight, so they could enjoy adult time.

      Back in the day, when my youngest was still a baby/toddler, my cousin and her partner bought the house right next door. They would invite my husband and me to come sit on their patio and visit some evenings. From their patio, I had a view of our son’s bedroom window; plus, his baby monitor’s range was such that it worked perfectly next door. To top it off, we were living in the same house as my parents at the time, so there were adults in the house, plus my then-teenaged older boy. Even with all these precautions, I still went to look in on him every half hour or so. This kid was the best sleeper I’ve ever known. Seriously, other young parents were envious of how easily Liam went down at night, slept through the night, and was so “cooperative” in that regard. Never ever any drugging of my children, by the way. I can understand the desperation, but I could never do that. Even with all these factors taken into consideration, I would still feel a twinge of guilt when I took the monitor and went over there, so I usually begged off and just let my husband go for the evening. (That “baby” will turn 22 next month. )

      Then it became “common knowledge” that leaving one’s children alone like that was normal practice in Europe, but this turned out to be false. Probably something the McCanns spread around to avert criticism.

      Any other couple who had a child go “missing” in this manner would probably have at least temporarily lost custody of their younger children, but we never did that happen to the McCanns. They really put their PR machine and their spin doctors into high gear right from jump. I think even more so than the Ramseys, they focused on image control. (It’s close, though.)

      Common sense dictates that something happened to Maddie before they ever even left that apartment to join the Tapas Seven. This Netflix program doesn’t even sound like it’s worth a look, and it would probably just piss me off and cause me to yell at my phone as I watched it, so I’m personally giving this one a hard pass. I’d rather just read Nick’s recaps and analysis.

  3. Sylvester

    Here is what I can’t seem to get. Eddie, the cadaver dog, alerted behind the sofa. That would make sense if Madeleine was drugged, put to bed, later got out of bed and fell down the stairs – and the parents hid her behind the sofa so that they could stage their abduction scenario by keeping their dinner date and routine of checking on the children. But if she died long before her parents went to dinner then that implies to me that she was not given the sleeping medication and put to bed. Or another scenario is Gerry makes his first round checking on the kids and finds Madeleine at the foot of the stairs, staged the open window, put her body behind the couch – and goes back to the restaurant and doesn’t tell Kate – just allows her look in on her later and find her gone? This is why I think M. died before Gerry and Kate went to dinner (early) and from what I don’t know. Might Kate have had a short fuse where M. was concerned and lost it with her? The dog also alerted to Kate’s pants. All of their staging and hiding the body could have happened before bedtime. Kate strikes me as an angry person. Calling the dog handler an “f -ing tosser” whatever tosser means.

    • Ralph Oscar

      A “tosser” is a British male who loves to pleasure himself.

    • nickvdl

      But if she died long before her parents went to dinner then that implies to me that she was not given the sleeping medication and put to bed.>>>Good point, but there’s another way of thinking about it too. If the sleep medication was given early – too early – then exactly what one would expect to happen would be initial resistance to it because the child is still awake and not ready to sleep. The sleep medication isn’t a problem in isolation, it’s being medicated while ambulatory.

      It’s interesting how in their narrative Kate insists how extremely tired all the children were, and couldn’t stay awake through the reading of the bedtime story. That snippet is of some psychological significance.

      What time do 3-year-old’s normally go to bed, assuming they have even younger siblings?
      She didn’t have to die long before dinner, between 18:00 and 19:00 is sufficient. That happens to be the lead detective’s theory too, time of death close to 18:00, but even if she died close to 20:00, there would be sufficient time for cadaver odor to form.

      • Sylvester

        And if she had been sedated before bed for a period of time it would take longer for it to clear out of her system. While Kate was in the shower it’s possible she could have wandered off or gone out to the patio with her cuddle cat, in a semi-drugged tottering way, then fallen down the stairs. The whole scenario would then have some truth to it in that Kate looked in the door and she wasn’t there, and felt a breeze from the open patio door, or saw that the door was partially open. Could be that when the doctor (forgot his last name) came over he accidentally left the door open – or of course he didn’t come over at all and is lying). The night before, wasn’t it, didn’t a neighbor hear Madeleine crying for hours then there was the comment the child made to her parents (mother) why didn’t you come? This is the one Kate wants the interviewer to shut up about, then Gerry must minimize it.

        I think every 3 year old is different – some settle down quickly, others are more active. If you have three children you want them to all go down at the same time regardless. Madeleine could have gotten up while the parents – or one parent – was still there too. I think the reason you see Kate rarely making eye contact, except when Gerry is speaking and she can gauge whether the interviewer is buying it, is because the incident happened on her watch. Gerry’s protecting Kate, but of course he’s involved with tampering of the body and disturbing a corpse and lying to the police, etc. It’s a very interesting case, and shows how a massive campaign to present a different truth to the public who is more than perfectly willing to have their heartstrings tugged at, can blur and perpetuate a myth for years and years.

  4. Maura

    @Sylvestter, Tosser = British slang for vulgar/obnoxious male.

    If Maddie died accidentally why didn’t the parents admit it as opposed to year’s long charade that she was abducted and/or still alive. My guess is because they don’t want their behavior scrutinized. It must be horrible for their other kids and no one gets closure.

    • nickvdl

      If sedation was part of it, and they’re both doctors, as Kerry points out, they could both have lost their licenses. And if the other doctors were doing the same thing, they would have lost their’s too.

      My guess is because they don’t want their behavior scrutinized.>>>You must be unaware that the McCann case is the most publicized missing person case in history.

      The “sheer professionalism of it … troubled journalists”, according to Matthew Parris.[93] Placing Madeleine on the front page of a British newspaper would sell up to 30,000 extra copies.[34] She appeared on the cover of People magazine on 28 May 2007,[94] on the front page of several British tabloids every day for almost six months, and became one of Sky News’s menu options: “UK News”, “Madeleine”, “World News”.[34][95][96] Between May 2007 and July 2008, the Portuguese tabloid Correio da Manhã published 384 articles about her.[97] By June 2008 over seven million posts and 3,680 videos were returned in a search for her name on YouTube.[98]

      • Ralph Oscar

        Funny, that little girl didn’t *look* like a cash cow…

        The McCann’s have probably made more off their “lost little girl” than that gross family of Honey Boo Boo made exploiting her.

    • David

      Maddie may have died accidentally; but what I see missing from the analysis is that Kate was an anaesthetician prior to becoming a GP.

      If she administered her children sleeping drugs, so she could happily enjoy tapas with her friends; why wouldn’t she administer something a little stronger as a “professional”?

      It’s mentioned in the Netflix show that she constantly checked on the twins’ breathing – exactly the behaviour of an anaesthetician checking on her parients.

      If Kate accidentally overdosed Madeleine, she could be charged in that case. Especially if she overdosed her daughter for something so shallow as time to herself on vacation.

      As parents of small children myself, we would never leave our kids alone like that for those extended periods of time. We don’t even do it in our house without baby monitors.

      We understand the preciousness of respite from the kids and how desirable adult socialization becomes when taking care of young kids.

      That’s why it’s easy for me to believe she drugged her kids so she could get some time alone from them. However leaving them along like that – without even a baby monitor, or a nanny, is negligent.

  5. Sylvester

    Oh, I see. What a scam these two are running. If they give up and say Madeleine is dead then no more money coming in to find her. Similar to John and Burke Ramsey’s schemes to put money in their piggy banks with lawsuits. With the McCann’s it’s an “international problem” – little girls abducted and used in the sex trade – and with the Ramsey’s JonBenet must have been killed by a pedophile from the pageant circuit.

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