I get it a lot. The raven. Why is there a raven? I don’t understand why there is a raven?
Anyone have any ideas?
Kate and Gerry McCann Suing Sunday Times over ‘Madeleine Clue’ Defamation – Internatrional Business Times
I get it a lot. The raven. Why is there a raven? I don’t understand why there is a raven?
Anyone have any ideas?
Kate and Gerry McCann Suing Sunday Times over ‘Madeleine Clue’ Defamation – Internatrional Business Times
By far the most disturbing “takeout” from the Netflix docuseries on Madeleine McCann is this contention [stated as fact]: that there’s no evidence linking the DNA in the blood traces found in the rented Renault Scenic and apartment 5A to Madeleine McCann.
Is that a fact?
You may remember that the advent of the dogs alerting in the apartment, the car, the villa and on Cuddle Cat led to the widespread belief that Madeleine was dead, and that she died in the apartment on May 3rd. But take away the DNA evidence and suddenly Madeleine is alive again, scuttling off in the streets somewhere in the great beyond, beyond apartment 5A anyway.
In this scenario one might as well look at the footage of the dogs and turn the volume off. They’re barking at nothing, right? They’re unreliable, right?
The notion fielded in episode five is not disturbing so much because there’s no evidence, but because I believe there is. It’s not disturbing because the media believe Madeleine McCann is alive, it’s disturbing because as a result of the twisting of this particular evidence, there’s now “proof” that she’s not dead.
Wow, what a mind job!
Going by the Netflix docuseries, it’s not surprising public perception around a complicated forensic issue would be as simple and straightforward as it’s presented in this article by Digital Spy by editor Laura Jane Turner:
Well, let’s start with the first issue here.
It’s not true that the docuseries provides an “exhaustive timeline”. The docuseries provides a little information in fairly large increments between 20:30 and 22:00 on the night of May 3rd, 2007. So the timeline aspect relating to the incident can basically summarised in a paragraph no longer than this one.
An exhaustive timeline would at the very least include the diary of the McCanns starting from their arrival in Praia da Luz on Saturday, April 28th, 2007, and meticulously examining and comparing what they did each day, day to day, and how this pattern of behaviour compared to those on the day and night night in question.
The docuseries makes absolutely no provision for the events earlier in the day of May 3rd. Nothing about the weather or the movements of the family from the moment they woke until they retired to wash-up and prepare for dinner. There’s zero mention of David Payne disputed visit in the late afternoon, supposedly catching Kate McCann in the shower or getting out of it.
We also don’t get a similar orientation around the activities of the Tapas 7. Who hung out with who, typically what did they do each day, where, how and when? What time did all of them typically go to sleep each night? What were the rituals regarding the children of the Tapas 7 like? Were there any incidents, accidents or illnesses among their children during the break?
So no, the timeline is hardly exhaustive; instead it’s skeletal, and not just skeletal, a few spare, bare bones skeletal.
Now to the dogs and the DNA.
The Digital Spy article highlights the “infamous footage” of the cadaver dogs, and rightly notes the entry of the dogs into the narrative “spurred a shift” in the narrative.
I think it’s a little slippery to say the shift that occurred in the investigation after the dogs was in terms of how the case was handled. The writer seems to think the dog evidence led to the case being handled worse than it had been, until that point, or mishandled. Really? By looking at the parents as suspects for the first time the case wasn’t handled properly?
There’s no explanation from Digital Spy for what the dogs were alerting to, if the evidence that was tested as a result of the dogs proved it wasn’t Madeleine.
Let me be clear about it. A dog trained to trace human blood found human blood, and it was sent to a British lab for testing. A dog trained to trace human cadavers found it, and here too more evidence was collected and sent to the lab. Then the lab returned with a verdict: the substances tested were human [well done dogs!], but they weren’t Madeleine.
So this raises two obvious questions:
There also seems to be some circular reasoning going on here. If the blood can’t be proved to be Madeleine’s, then there’s no proof she’s dead. Also, if a cadaver odor is found and it can’t be proved that it’s Madeleine, then it’s not necessarily proof that anyone died, including Madeleine.
I’m purposefully avoiding a more technical discussion for the moment, simply for reasons of brevity and to express the absurdity of the argument. I will deal with the scientific argument, and the sneaky way the evidence was processed at the FSS labs, in a follow-up post.
It should be noted in the meantime, though, that precisely the same sneaky scenario played out in the JonBenet Ramsey case. First there was no DNA evidence linking the family to her cadaver, and then 20 years later there was. In that case the DNA testing was handled by a company called Bode Labs.
From the Daily Camera :
“From my own experience, there is no case that is just a DNA case,” Dougherty said. “You could have a sexual assault or a murder and develop a full profile, but that full profile does not necessarily mean that the person who has that DNA was the perpetrator of the crime.”
In a case where the DNA evidence is inconclusive, that inconclusivity cannot be raised as a flag to claim “no evidence” exists. One can merely say the case needs to be investigated using other avenues, such as witness statements, circumstantial evidence, forensic accounting etc. I personally don’t think the DNA evidence in the McCann case or the Ramsey case is inconclusive, although the evidence was clearly difficult to come by. I do think the “inconclusive” aspect is a clever charade of smoke and mirrors.
To illustrate this, one ought to look at the DNA narrative of the Van Breda triple murder case. It’s difficult to imagine a crime scene more doused in blood than that one.
When I sat in court and listened to the defence case, it started off with the DNA expect running through a long list of all the hundreds of inconclusive DNA results. Never mind the hundreds more DNA traces that were valid and confirmed, the DNA fixated on arguing about all the traces that weren’t 100% conclusive. They were trying to argue that some uncertainty and doubt existed around whose blood belonged to whom, where. Within a crime scene bloodbath described by one witness as “a waterfall of blood flowing down the stairs…”
The DNA expert was roundly lambasted during her extremely lengthy and tedious testimony by the Judge, who accused and chastised for manipulating the data and then criticised again during the Judge’s summation of the case.
On Tuesday‚ Judge Siraj Desai raised the issue of Olckers scouring through piles of documents “merely to poke holes in the state’s defence” rather than doing an “independent analysis” [on the DNA evidence] which could inform her expert opinion.
For an indefensible case, Van Breda’s defence strategy was clearly to seize on the DNA narrative as a way to claim “no evidence” or that evidence was uncertain. All it required was for an expert to “conjure” on the evidence, thus recasting reality with a flick of the expert’s wand. Again, never mind the accused had the blood of the victims all over himself. The Judge also made the point that even if all the DNA evidence were omitted from the trial, Van Breda would still have been found guilty. But that’s how anal and fickle the DNA narrative can sometimes become when dealt with by experts in a court of law.
Of course the best “spokesperson” for the “no evidence narrative” [specifically no DNA evidence] is Gerry McCann himself. Below Gerry addresses the prospect of Madeleine no longer being alive:
“We just don’t have any evidence…that the child’s dead…”
Gerry seems to talk about the lack of evidence with a certain glee, doesn’t he?
When the McCann’s sued Goncalo Amaral, who speculated based on his investigation that Madeleine had died on May 3rd, they repeated the same narrative to the media milling around the court.
It can and should be argued that if there is little evidence that Madeleine is dead, how much evidence is there that she’s alive? I suppose one could argue that 10 000 sightings worldwide constitute “possible” evidence, but anything is possible. These possibilities ought to be weighed against the “possibility” of those blood and cadaver traces belonging to Madeleine – perhaps not possible to verify scientifically, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible that they are traces of Madeleine.
At Faro airport, on his way to court the point Gerry wanted to emphasise was the same “no evidence” catchphrase.
In the infamous interview when he was asked if he killed his daughter, Gerry also refers to the notion of “no evidence” when he says cryptically:
“There’s nothing to suggest anything…”
We get a darker sense of the utility of the “no DNA evidence” as a potential PR tool when we look at the Intertextual aspect. At 46 seconds in the clip below, Amanda Knox explains why she can’t possibly be the murderer of Meredith Kercher. Of course the first thing she does after being asked the question is she fails to hold back a DELIGHTED smile.
The weird thing about Knox’s argument is that one moment she’s arguing “my DNA wasn’t there, no trace of me was there…I wasn’t there” but she actually lived in the villa where Kercher was killed. So why isn’t she there? If her DNA’s not there, didn’t she live there?
A moment later at 1:12 when reference is made to DNA traces mixed with Meredith’s blood in the hallway, then it becomes “of course my DNA was there, I lived there!” So Knox’s argument is simultaneous “my DNA wasn’t there…I wasn’t there” and “of course my DNA I was there…I lived there!”
When Dr. Phil interviewed Burke Ramsey in mid-September 2016, he asked JonBenent’s 29-year-old older sibling:
There still are people that believe that you killed your sister? What do you say to that?
Look at the evidence, or lack thereof.
So if there’s no evidence to prove something happened, it didn’t happen?
There’s a difference between a lack of evidence and no evidence, also a critical difference between incomplete evidence, or evidence that wouldn’t hold up in court and the notion of “no evidence”.
Fact is, evidence was found in the McCann case [and in all the other cases cited above including Knox and Ramsey], but the “lack” was that so little blood traces were found it wasn’t possible to definitively link the DNA that was found to Madeleine [or in the Knox case, herself to the victim, in Burke’s case, himself to the victim]. In the Knox and Ramsey cases it wasn’t possible to definitively link their DNA to the cadaver/crime scene, but in both cases a lot other evidence did seem to link them – circumstantially – to the victim.
In Knox’s case there was some reason to believe in a DNA link. Both Knox’s DNA and Meredith’s DNA were found on a knife believed to be the murder weapon [located in Sollecito’s apartment]. Well, Meredith Kercher had never been to his apartment. Also, Sollecito’s DNA was found on a bra clasp under Kercher’s body in her room. How did that happen? Oh, it was a contaminated sample which also contained Knox’s DNA. After several appeals Knox and Sollecito were able to finally convince the court that the DNA evidence wasn’t definitive, and so this was the basis of her “exoneration”.
In the Ramsey case Burke’s prints were found on a bowl of pineapple in the kitchen, casting doubt on the notion that he went straight to bed that night, and indeed, whether JonBenet did. The Ramsey case is an extraordinary example of massive crime scene contamination, a scenario that replicated itself in the moments after Madeleine’s disappearance. The miracle isn’t that no DNA evidence was recovered three months after the incident, it’s that any was.
Curiously, the FSS lab in the McCann case originally said the sample was small but sufficient, and also that there was no way Madeleine’s DNA could be confused with that of either of her siblings.
Madeleine McCann DNA ‘an accurate match’ – Telegraph
The McCanns have vowed to fight to clear their names, and hired two of the country’s leading solicitors, Michael Caplan QC and Angus McBride, to advise them. Sources close to the investigation revealed that the DNA evidence – analysed by the Forensic Science Service in Britain – was regarded by Portuguese police as crucial. A sample that was a full match to Madeleine’s DNA was allegedly found on the windowsill of the McCanns’ apartment at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz. Although the nature of the sample was not disclosed, previous reports claimed that blood had been found by sniffer dogs.
One Portuguese newspaper claimed that “biological fluids” with an 80 per cent match to Madeleine were found under the carpet in the boot of the McCanns’ hire car, which was rented 25 days after she disappeared. Forensic experts in the UK have pointed out that if the samples found in the car were hair or skin they would be of little evidential value as they could have rubbed off Madeleine’s toys or clothing.
But there were fresh reports claiming that both samples were blood, and one source close to the inquiry told The Daily Telegraph that the nature of the samples led police to believe that they had come from Madeleine’s body being placed in the car.
The Portuguese police’s theory is apparently that Madeleine was killed by accident by one or both of her parents, and that her body was hidden before being disposed of a month later using the hire car. DNA samples that are a “100 per cent match” to Madeleine McCann have been found in her parents’ hire car and holiday apartment, it has been claimed.
Ultimately that narrative did a U-turn – the sample was subsequently judged too small and could thus be the DNA of Madeleine’s siblings Sean or Amelie. And an 80% match was judged to be “not-definitive”. And thus, through the miracle of science, the barking of cadaver dogs was silenced and Madeleine was resurrected into a pedophile sex-trafficking plot. Her inexplicable absence has a handy explanation, however. According to Netflix, Madeleine was taken by inexplicable shadows, and there’s every reason to hope she’s still very much alive somewhere out there…
“Fightback” is the title of episode 5, but I think “Popularity Contest” is more apt. In a scenario where their daughter is missing, and a criminal investigation is underway, you’d think the fight back would involve fighting for more police resources, getting more detectives working the case, or getting out there themselves and searching, or making Madeleine’s DNA available to the authorities in Portugal using DNA from her clothing or bed or soft toys in Portugal, or investigating for themselves the possibility that Madeleine had died [had the abductor killed her]?
Instead, the fightback is a popularity contest fought in the media. And the prize is nothing more or less than the McCanns’ rehabilitating their own image. Of course there’s also a cash incentive to this. When they’re considered suspects, the “income” of the fund drops, when they’re able to court public sympathy, they “income” of the fund shoots up again. And this income isn’t to be sniffed at, it eventually balloons to millions upon millions of pounds. With this war chest the McCanns can invest in even more media coverage, reputation management, legal representation, legal suits and expert advice, more PR, merchandising and all the rest.
During one spiel in episode 5 Kate McCann emphasises that 99% of people support them, and only 1% are trolls. There’s also a nice scene where they show large boxes labelled “Support” compared to a small battered, mostly empty little box where “hate” mail is kept. What the McCanns seem to be saying is they’re winning the fightback because they have popular support. Far more people love them and support them compared to a tiny minority of detractors.
In a recent poll conducted on twitter, over 90% of over 3000 people who voted sided against the McCanns, blaming them either directly or indirectly for Madeleine’s death.
Then it’s Gerry’s turn to make the case against those who have “nasty” attitudes to them.
Gerry looks bemused here, rather than hurt or stung, doesn’t he? One might even say he looks a little smug.
He’s still smiling as he places the solitary smidgen of hate mail in its sad, sorry, mostly empty box.
For all their bravado, one of very, very few instances where Kate McCann appears emotional and vulnerable, even slightly tearful, is when she talks about “what people out there” say about whether or not she loved or cared for her eldest daughter.
The docuseries then spends a little time dealing with the notion – which came from the public – that Kate McCann especially didn’t appear to be grieving, and didn’t appear very emotional after the loss of her daughter. The image below, of a shirtless Gerry McCann jogging beside Kate was taken on May 16, 2007, less than two weeks after Madeleine’s disappearance.
In DOUBT I’ve made the case that running plays more than an incidental role to the McCann case, and as it happens, to solving it.
Watch at 2:21 in the video clip below, as Kate McCann addresses the camera, begging and pleading for the safe return of her daughter.
Unfortunately the most damning “evidence” against the McCanns – certainly in the court of public opinion – is the least damning in an actual court. As so often happens, the public cotton on to what they regard as inappropriate affect. They did with Chris Watts [and were proved right]. They did with Burke Ramsey [and the jury is still out, and probably will be till the cows come home]. And they did the same with Amanda Knox [and were apparently proved wrong].
The fact is, emotional affect is a powerful indicator in true crime, but it’s not necessarily evidence. One thing we can say, as human beings, is when we care about a victim more than the suspect [or imputed suspect], and when we feel grief more than we see them grieving [if at all], it’s only right that we raise our hands and ask about it.
It’s very difficult to cover up [which is a contrivance, and a way of masking authentic motives and feelings] and show genuine emotion at the same time. Covering up requires careful thinking and anticipating what the next question or move might be. It often happens in true crime that the suspect feels the best “face” to show to the crowd is nonchalance. They imagine grief will appear as guilt, but only a guilty person would think that way.
I love the way the docuseries has the McCanns PR person explain that the McCanns were “advised” not to show emotion, as this might be detrimental to their daughter. So imagine the abductor is sitting somewhere, with Madeleine in a cage, and he sees the parents looking unemotional. Is this going to encourage him to…do…what?
On the other hand, if the McCanns appear distraught and upset, this is going to make the abductor NOT want to return the child?
The reality is, whether the McCanns were instructed to be emotional or unemotional, there is a lot of inappropriate smiling going on, especially when they’re asked about whether she might be dead or not.
For all their posturing about the support, it’s clear the online vitriol [which continues today] is so severe, even newspaper editors felt they had to shut down the interactivity [the comments] of their coverage of the McCann case.
The docuseries neglects to mention that the McCanns felt so agitated and imperiled by negativity directed towards them, they elected to threaten British bloggers and social media users with lawsuits.
Kate McCann is poised to SUE social media users – Daily Mail
Madeleine McCann’s parents urge vile trolls to stop posting ‘awful abuse’ on their website as they back new rules BANNING criticism of their decision to leave the girl alone in an apartment – Daily Mail
Troll Who Harassed Madeleine McCann’s Family Found Dead – Psychology Today
It’s also more than a little disingenuous of the Leicester Mercury to cry “neutrality” and editorial standards after the fact, when anyone who dared to criticize or accuse the McCanns were sued.
Of the first five episodes, I found the fifth the most troubling and upsetting by far. Probably the worst moment was when the Portuguese journalist Sandra Felgueiras expressed her feelings of disdain to the Portuguese cops for lying to her about DNA evidence.
The DNA narrative was a HUGE PR and legal victory for the McCanns, and turned the tide of popular, investigative and legal opinion back in their favor, and as result, this remains the official status quo today.
Was Madeleine McCann last seen in her bed by her father, Gerry McCann, at approximately 21:15 on May 3rd? That’s the popular default narrative. That’s where Kate says Madeleine was taken from in her book, isn’t it? And it’s what the media mainstream believe, isn’t it?
It’s also the contention of the Netflix documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MADELEINE MCCANN that Madeleine was abducted from her bed and then through the bedroom window. Presumably this is also the main thrust of the theory of British investigators.
In the DOUBT trilogy I put forward a different theory.
There are a few reasons to believe 1) Madeleine never went to sleep on May 3rd, 2) if she died in the apartment, she didn’t die in bed and 3) after she died [assuming she did die] she wasn’t carried from where she fell or lay to her bed.
This is a slippery line of reasoning so try to follow me. We start by looking at the crime scene photos of Madeleine’s bedroom. Interestingly, the Netflix docuseries hardly ever refers to the original police photos.
It’s not terribly clear, but one can just make out a light pink object on Madeleine’s pillow. There’s also a darker pink object, a child’s blanket, in the foreground below the pillow. The light pink object is clearly sitting on Madeleine’s pillow and slightly obstructed from view by the darker pink blanket below it.
Madeleine’s soft, pink Cuddle Cat toy is more evident in the images below.
In dramatised versions of the scene, Cuddle Cat on the pillow and the pink blanket under it are more evident.
Now in theory, this picture is precisely what we’d expect to see. If Madeleine was sleeping or in bed when she was abducted, and she was always with her toy, then the toy would have been left behind precisely where it is left behind.
The problem is, cadaver odor was found on the toy – the pink Cuddle Cat – when it was searched in a separate area, the villa on Rua das Flores where the McCanns moved to a few weeks after the incident.
Goncalo Amaral describes in his book The Truth of Lie how Eddie, the cadaver dog, approached the wicker chair and alerted to the toy on it.
This is not the moment Amaral refers to [at 1:34] in the video below:
At first the toy isn’t on the wicket chair but seems to be inside a basket and under something. It’s not easy for the dog to get to because it’s sort of behind a jutting wall. The dog is nevertheless interested in the area, sniffing the curtains and the floor. Then Eddie hops up, grabs the toy, drops it, scurries off before snatching it again and dropping the Cuddle Cat in the middle of the lounge floor.
The videographer is obviously stunned by this, and fixates for a few seconds on the little girl’s toy lying – cadaver-like – on the gleaming slab of floor.
But the moment Amaral sketches in his book appears to refer to an alert in the kitchenette area at about 5:33. Here the dog also hops up to sniff papers before alerting loudly. Grimes clearly seizes the Cuddle Cat from behind the cupboard, in this instance, and holds it up to the camera.
There’s also a moment at 3:24 when Eddie enters the closet area of the parents’ main bedroom, and spends a long time inside it on the ground level [presumably where the shoes are]. When Eddie finally emerges Grimes bends down and briefly lifts from the floor and examines what appears to be a darker pink blanket, similar in color and texture to the one seen in crime scene photos on Madeleine’s bed.
Now we know that Kate washed Cuddle Cat and contaminated the toy every time she went out in public, which was a lot.
So the fact that the cadaver dog alerted to Madeleine’s toy after three months of washing, contamination [including by Amelie] and airing is pretty incredible in itself.
As soon as we regard the cadaver alert on the Cuddle Cat as genuine, we’re faced with a conundrum. It suggests Madeleine was clutching the Cuddle Cat when she died, or conversely, the Cuddle Cat was in contact with a dead person for an extended period of time. In this scenario, the deceased person was the likeliest to be Madeleine, not so?
So in this scenario, did Madeleine die in her bed, with Cuddle Cat beside her? It’s certainly a possibility except for the alerts – blood alerts – behind the living room couch in apartment 5A.
The mere suggestion of blood invokes the possibility of injury. And if blood was discovered outside the bedroom then there is an inference that Madeleine wasn’t in bed when she died.
The cadaver alert below the balcony in the flower bed invokes the likelihood of a fall. Did she fall with Cuddle Cat? If so, if she didn’t die in her bed, then how did Cuddle Cat end up in Madeleine’s bed?
There’s also another serious issue. If the dogs alerted to cadaver odor on Cuddle Cat three months after the incident, why didn’t they alert to the bed where we know Cuddle Cat was found? For that matter, why wasn’t any blood visible on Madeleine’s pillow or blankets?
Well, we know from Amaral’s book that the linen on the bed was stripped and washed soon after.
Amaral also raises another pickle, in the strange configuration of beds in the McCann’s bedroom. The single beds are mooshed together, but then both beds are pushed across the room leaving a great deal of space open on the wardrobe side. Enough space for the twins cots.
Amaral’s makes the astute observation that it appears the twins were kept in one room with the parents, while the third child was left on her own in another room. Perhaps because Madeleine had trouble sleeping, and would rouse the others when she was in distress.
Besides the possibility of Cuddle Cat developing Chucky-like self-locomotion skills and crawling back to Madeleine’s bed, there’s the question of whether the cots were trafficked back to Madeleine’s room. Why? To reinforce an impression that all the children were sound sleepers. When one slept, they all slept and they all slept together.
There’s also the strange set-up of the other bed in Madeleine’s bedroom. It looks more slept in than Madeleine’s bed does.
The notion that the shutter was raised and the abductor fled through the open window of the children’s bedroom has a serious flaw as well. If all three children were asleep in the same room, then opening the metal shutter would have caused it to rattle loudly as it was lifted, a risk an intruder wouldn’t have wanted to take. It would have alerted passersby in the street, other folks in the apartment complex not to mention the two children in their cots the abductor needed to carry Madeleine past on his way out the window.
Kate McCann also claimed she looked under the bed for Madeleine. Not under the cots, under a bed where there was no place for a child to hide.
So let’s ask the question again, and this is a yes or no answer:
Was Madeleine McCann last seen in her bed by her father, Gerry McCann?
It’s pretty incredible, after the brief opening montage of cadaver dogs, that the PR person gives a voiceover “explanation” for the episode, summing it up as a “backlash”. Really? After three months of PR, when the dogs go in and find traces of a dead person, and this is the first evidence of what really happened to Madeleine, that’s a “backlash”?
Are dogs barking a backlash?
The fourth episode in the series, obscurely titled Heaven and Earth, is the best of the first four episodes which is another way of saying the most damning. A better title would be Backlash, or Putting a Nice Spin on the Cadaver Evidence.
I suspect the 4th episode is the most damning of the entire series. I haven’t watched the entire series, but I suspect from here the narrative turns and builds back up to Madeleine being alive, the McCanns recast as a model of British moral decorum before defaulting to “there is always hope”.
Six Useful Insights from Episode 4
1. I liked that episode 4 kicked off straight to the point, with no muss, no fuss. It went straight to the dogs and provided a smidgen of extra archive footage of Grimes and the dogs at work than I’ve seen previously. But I thought it was a little tricksy to show the cadaver dog in the opening clip with no context, thus psychologically conflating Eddie’s alerts with Keela’s.
2. I liked that they provided an accurate representation of where the dogs alerted inside the apartment, even if it was slightly misleading by leaving out the important alert outside [in the garden below the balcony at the back entrance].In a later post I will explain why an additional alert in Madeleine’s bed should have been made [and would have had the cadaver dogs been brought in immediately] but wasn’t. It should be noted that some of the media graphics are incorrect and inaccurate not only in terms of the layout of the apartment, including the McCanns’ bed and closet configuration, but also what constituted the “front” and “back” entrance. This is somewhat confusing. The front entrance faces the road and car parking lot, while the back entrance faces the front of the hotel, and the balcony.
An updated diagram from 9News.co.au provides additional context for what is the front and back entrance.
The “front door” opens up into the area depicted below:
3. Keela [the blood dog] is shown giving a silent alert behind the sofa. That footage is fairly rare, and thus useful. Usually when one looks at the evidence of the dogs, we see Eddie jumping over the blue sofa [2:22 in the clip below] and barking loudly from behind the sofa as Eddie gives a strong and unambiguous alert.
I do think it’s interesting that the Netflix docuseries seemed to concentrate more on the blood dog alerting, which benefits the “Madeleine is still alive” narrative slightly, whereas the cadaver alerts certainly do not. Of all the dog alerts in and outside the apartment, there were more cadaver alerts than blood alerts, and yet the docuseries chose to focus on the single blood alert behind the sofa.
Interestingly, although the dogs went in on July 31st, three months after the incident, it was only reported in the media on August 15th, 2007. At the time, an updated picture of Kate McCann was published sitting on the rocky shoreline on the western side of Praia da Luz [i.e. on the side of the beach opposite to the monolithic Rocha Negra]. Thanks to the archive protocols of Getty Images, we know for a fact that this image was taken on the same day the press revealed the cadaver dog evidence [August 15th, 2007]. Even so Kate McCann can be seen smiling in photos and greeting well-wishers. Both her and her husband are dressed in matching white and khaki, and as usual, Kate is carrying her daughter’s pink cuddlecat toy.
4. In point #1 I mentioned the tricksy editing of showing Eddie barking with no context, and then explaining what Keela was doing. It’s interesting how Robbyn Swan, the co-author of Looking for Madeleine [there’s a 2019 update to her book] is pertinently quoted saying Keela was “not particularly interested” too. This falsely implies that the blood dog just like the cadaver dog was “not interested” or didn’t alert. But the blood dog is trained to only alert to human blood traces, and the cadaver dog to human cadaver traces. If anything it’s a credit to the incredible sensitivity of these animals that one dog alerted to one set of distinctive traces, while the other did not. It should also be remembered that the apartment was visited after three months of summer, when the potential for the evaporation and dispersion of liquids and odors were at a maximum.
Then, when the narrative flips over to the traces in the vehicle, the cadaver dog becomes the focus, while the PR person ridicules the idea that the car was only hired several weeks after the incident, so how could a dead body “magically appear” in the vehicle. This is ridiculous, and ludicrous, is the inference. Of course, the blood evidence inside the vehicle [found by Keela] ought to be the focus of the dogs, but instead the focus goes to the cadaver dog. Interestingly, no mention is made of cadaver traces also found on the key of the Renault Scenic.
From Joana Morais’ blog:
More: Madeleine: Now Portuguese press claims scent of corpse was found on McCann’s keys – Evening Standard
In a story on page seven, Jornal de Noticias carried the headline: “Dogs detected scent of a corpse on the car key of Madeleine’s parents.” The following sub-headline read: “Policia Judiciaira suspects transportation of a corpse.”
The article – which is not attributed to anyone, not even unnamed police sources – added: “English dogs helping the Policia Judiciaria in the investigation of the McCann case detected a strong scent of a corpse on the key of the McCann couple.”The animals also detected a sample of blood in the boot of the Renault Scenic which was examined along with other cars belonging to the McCanns’ friends.”
The paper went on to claim that the person who hired the car the McCanns is also being investigated before speculating that the corpse scent on the key could have come from contimination with another item which had been in contact with a dead body.
It also reported that another British police dog scented blood in the car’s boot, which ‘precisely indicates that a corpse could have been in that boot’.
In a further sign that the Portuguese media are not letting up in their attacks on the McCanns, Diario de Noticias carried an article by a former director of the Policia Judiciaria, Francisco Moita Flores, alleging that British police have been ‘manipulating’ the Portuguese investigation and that there had been political and diplomatic interference from the UK authorities to protect the McCanns.
The latest outrageous claims in Portugal come after Mr McCann was forced to respond to claims that he and his wife accidentally killed Madeleine with an overdose of sedatives. A spokeswoman for the couple said last night: “This is just another example of the wild, unfounded speculation in the media which Kate and Gerry find very unhelpful.”
Police spokesman Olegario Sousa was unavailable to comment on the latest allegations. Meanwhile, Mr and Mrs McCann are becoming increasingly frustrated at the way the Find Madeleine Fund is being administered. During their 16-week stay in Portugal, the couple have been paying much of the cost of maintaining awareness of their missing daughter from their own pockets, with cash from the £1million fund being released to them on a piecemeal basis.
A friend of the family said: ‘They’re remarkably patient and know people are trying to protect their interests but it’s very different when you’re in Portugal from when you’re in the UK. “The people operating the fund clearly think they have to protect the fund because they don’t know how long it’s going to last but Gerry thinks now is the time to be spending money because this is the time when it’s going to be most effective.”
Although the fund is mostly run by friends and family of the couple, they are keeping a tight rein on how the money is spent and have released just £70,000 from the £1,005,000 donated.
This has gone towards setting up a Find Madeleine website, producing wristbands, posters and T-shirts bearing the ‘Look for Madeleine’ motto, the cost of a campaign manager as well as legal fees.
They are finding it increasingly difficult to cover the cost of staying in Portugal while paying the mortgage and bills on their home in Rothley, Leics, while effectively being out of work. This is thought to have prompted Mr McCann to declare last week that he will soon be returning to work.
The fund, which was set up with four specific objectives – one of which is to ‘provide support, including financial assistance, to Madeleine’s family’ – has been established as a limited company rather than a registered charity because it does not have any public benefit. It is run by six directors.
Former GMTV presenter Esther McVey, who runs her own PR consultancy and is the Conservative prospective parliamentary candidate for Wirral West, is among the directors as is Mr McCann’s brother, 48-year-old pharmaceutical sales rep John McCann, and Mrs McCann’s uncle Brian Kennedy, 68, a retired headteacher.
Retired hospital consultant Peter Hubner, 64, hospital director Douglas Skehan, 54, and former Leicestershire coroner Philip Tomlinson, 76, are the other directors of the fund, set up within two weeks of Madeleine’s disappearance on May 3.
Ms McVey said: “The McCanns very much know and are aware of how the money had come together. They know it’s from pensioners and kids in schools and they want it spent as carefully as possible. Because we’re a not-for-profit limited company they are very much aware that we abide by the best practice charity laws.”
The tone of the above article clearly shows to what extent the British press were both drinking the Kool-Aid and making it for mass consumption.
5. The archive of newspaper headlines shown in episode 4 include some I haven’t seen before.
6. The media footage of the McCanns driving the Renault Scenic, entering and exiting the villa, and fleeing to Faro airport as soon as the media tide turned [coinciding with an end to the deluge of public donations to the Find Madeleine Fund] is also useful.
In one clip, we see an army of waiting press, and each time the McCanns appear it’s an opportunity for them to manipulate and/or influence their image.
So we see them constantly holding hands in a show of solidarity. But the point isn’t the solidarity, it’s the show, and the showmanship within the context of missing – or more likely [in my view] – dead child.
That’s six, that’s enough.
It’s probably also worth noting six aspects that the docuseries left out of episode four.
1. Danie Krugel, the South African dude whose idea it was to do a cadaver search. [I’ll be writing about him separately in a follow-up post.]
2. Gerry McCann’s 4-day trip to America in July.
Gerry’s USA Trip – Gerry McCann’s Blog Archives
Madeleine McCann’s father visits the US – Telegraph
Gerry McCann is in the US on a four-day fact-finding visit to learn about the work of specialist agencies in preventing child trafficking and sexual abuse. He and his wife Kate have mounted a vigorous campaign to find four-year-old Madeleine since she disappeared from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3.
Mr McCann, who flew to the US yesterday, will spend most of the day in talks with American child protection bodies. Accompanied by the family’s campaign manager, Justine McGuinness, he will discuss tackling child abduction with experts from the National and International Centres for Missing and Exploited Children.
Tomorrow Mr McCann and Ms McGuinness have meetings scheduled with US senators, congressmen and a senior member of First Lady Laura Bush’s staff. Mr McCann said in a statement: “We hope our efforts will help make the world a little bit safer for all children. Kate and I believe there is a strong, public feeling that crimes against children, wherever they may occur, are totally unacceptable.”
Mrs McCann will remain in Portugal with the couple’s two-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie. Meanwhile, posters of Madeleine are being displayed at booksellers in more than 200 countries around the world thanks to Harry Potter author JK Rowling, whose final instalment of the boy wizard’s adventures was published on Saturday.
3. None of Madeleine’s DNA was ever found in Portugal. In order to find a reference sample, Madeleine’s DNA had to be sourced from her pillow in Rothley.
4. The docuseries makes no mention that the British lab which did the DNA testing was later closed down. It’s more than a little tricksy for the docuseries to interrogate the trustworthiness and prognosticate on the processes of the Portuguese police, but not do the same due diligence on a dodgy British lab which handled a critical aspect of the McCann case, and was subsequently shut down.
5. Madeleine’s paternity was called into question following the release of DNA results. Such heresy! The publication that printed this allegation was later sued, weren’t they? And the FSS could theoretically be cited as a contradictory scientific source “proving” the allegations of paternity were unfounded, couldn’t they?
None of this was touched upon or even hinted at in episode four of the Netflix documentary. Obviously where there is a contention that Madeleine’s paternity might be in any doubt, this could potentially go to motive, and could possibly explain conflicting emotions and responses and a range of psychologies and dynamics to a particular child that is not the biological offspring of one of the parents, and who might also be difficult to raise or troublesome putting to sleep [conceived we know through IVF].
According to 24 Horas, Madeleine, who was conceived using IVF, was the child of his wife, Kate, and an unnamed sperm donor. The newspaper claimed that the four-year-old’s parentage meant her DNA could not be confused with that of two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.
The supposed revelation would prove that bodily fluids found in the family’s hire car had come from Madeleine and not from her brother or sister, the tabloid said. Portuguese police are seeking evidence that the girl’s body was transported in the Renault Scenic, which was hired 25 days after she disappeared. The sperm donor story was dismissed as ‘unwarranted, unsubstantiated and totally inaccurate speculation’ by the family’s spokesman Clarence Mitchell.
In a strongly worded statement agreed by the couple and their lawyers, he said: ‘For the record Gerry McCann is the biological father of his daughter Madeleine.
Mr McCann’s mother Eileen, 67, from Glasgow, said: ‘To say Gerry is not Madeleine’s natural father is utterly ridiculous. Madeleine is my natural granddaughter. Her eyes and nose are the same as mine. These allegations are totally unfounded. They are pure speculation and a load of nonsense. Whatever will the Portuguese papers make up next?”
The McCanns underwent IVF treatment near their Leicestershire home before Madeleine was conceived. They had further IVF treatment to conceive their twins while they were living in Amsterdam. A friend said the 24 Horas report was published without any contact with the family.
The newspaper has run a series of articles this week which have all strongly denied by the McCanns.
Its co- editor, Luis Fontes, insisted he stood by the sperm donor story. He said it was confirmed by the Forensic Science Service in Birmingham, which has carried out analysis on samples taken from the McCanns’ apartment and hire car. The FSS denied it had made any comment on the case.
Mr Fontes said he was not aware of any threat of legal action from the McCanns over the article and added: “It is absolutely true. Our sources are rock solid.”
He added: “If they [the McCanns] think they can sue us, bring it on.”
Friends also denied claims in another Portuguese newspaper, Diario de Noticias, which said Mrs McCann, a 39-year-old GP, flew into a fit of rage after she was made a suspect in the case. She was said to have broken crockery, pictures and “anything she could get her hands on” in the couple’s hired villa in Praia da Luz.
Kate and Gerry were “horrified and devastated” by the latest “absolutely untrue” slurs in the Portuguese press claiming Madeleine’s DNA was different to that of her twin siblings – all three of whom were conceived by In-Vitro Fertilisation – because she has a different father.
The tabloid 24 Horas claimed British police visited a sperm bank the couple used and tracked down the four-year-old’s natural father to rule him out of any involvement in her abduction. But family spokesman Clarence Mitchell described the reports as “unwarranted, unsubstantiated and totally inaccurate”. He said that the couple planned to sue 24 Horas over the allegations about Madeleine’s paternity as soon as their official suspect status was lifted.
It appears the McCans didn’t sue 24 Horas.
6. The Last Photo controversy is not highlighted in episode 4, although, curiously, it makes a few appearances, including inside the church in Praia da Luz. The tip of Gerry’s left elbow is strangely missing from the image.
There are many more insights and omissions to highlight, but for me one of the aspects that stood out the most were the PR people skulking around in the background, and featured so prominently as important narrators in the docuseries.
There seems to be something patently unsavoury about characters whose job it was to provide publicity protection of a sort to the official suspects, and who later emerge as virtual self-styled celebrities, once again cast in the role of the shaper of the narrative.
Is there an image more symbolic than Justine McGuinness repeatedly pawing microphones, pushing them away, as a metaphor for trying to push the media narrative in a particular direction, especially when the police narrative became unfavourable, as depicted in episode four?
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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!
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.
Another easy point to miss: immediately after Madeleine disappears, an awful lot of running happens. Kate runs, then “everybody sprints back to our apartment…”
Now let’s focus on a few observations in terms of the aspects the Netflix timeline implicitly doesn’t address:
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 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.
True Crime Intertexuality is a valuable tool for understanding one case through the known circumstances of another. It does require more than a little expertise in true crime to understand how a reference case matches up, and how it doesn’t. Obviously if one’s understanding of either case is flawed, biased or bogus, then the reference itself is flawed, biased or bogus.
In the misleadingly titled Netflix Documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MADELEINE MCCANN two American reference cases are cited: firstly, the disappearance of Etan Patz [in 1972, in Soho Lower Manhattan], and secondly the murder of Adam Walsh [in 1981 from a mall in Hollywood, Florida].
The expert prognosticating on these references is the head of a large missing person’s organisation in America. An expert in missing persons may seem like an expert in true crime and criminal psychology, but alas, true crime isn’t nearly as simple or obvious as it seems.
The obvious similarities between the abduction-sex-trafficker scenario punted by the makers of the Madeleine McCann documentary vis-à-vis the two American boys [the reference cases] are in four extremely broad, basic areas:
That’s really where the similarities or “references” end. A proper true crime analysis reveals not so much an overlap between the Patz and Walsh cases to the McCann case, but in fact why the cases are distinctively different to what happened to Madeleine.
Although no bodies were found in all three cases, in both the Patz case and the Walsh case it is generally assumed that both boys are dead, both boys were murdered and the identities of their murderers isn’t mysterious or unknown.
In the Walsh case the boy’s decapitated head was found within a few weeks, however his body has never been recovered.
It should be noted that when it comes to children abducted by sexual predators who are strangers, the children must be disposed of quickly or else the perpetrators face a real risk of alerting family members or passersby to the taboo of an adult keeping a small unrelated child in their possession and raising suspicions. The same situation doesn’t apply when the predators are family, familiar or otherwise trusted by the victims.
The destruction of their little bodies is meant to completely conceal the circumstances surrounding their final moments, and death, from the public’s view. In a scenario where the children become famous in the media, the necessity to dispose of them, and destroy their bodies completely is even more urgent. It’s vital for the predator to make sure no connection can ever be made between the eviscerated corpse and himself.
In a genuine abduction scenario, a case can clearly be made not to alert the media and to alert the authorities discreetly, in order not to provoke, alarm, aggravate or frighten the abductor into doing something rash.
The Ramsey Ransom Note alludes to this cliche, and does so because it’s so typical.
This is why in kidnapping cases the kidnappers insist that the authorities are not contacted, and that if they are, the victim will be killed. The situation for the kidnapper becomes untenable if the victim becomes a public figure. The same applies to an abductor, except there is less incentive to return the victim [now a potential witness] to the custody of the family and/or authorities.
When I researched the JonBenet Ramsey case I was surprised at the persistence of the pedophile narrative in that case. Sure, pedophiles exist. They’re a scourge in our society. But pedophiles more often tend to lurk INSIDE families.
Where family members prey on family members this is especially true when the victim is much younger and more vulnerable. The custody and trust situation of the guardian relative to the child is what is abused, and is both a smokescreen for the crime and the cover-up [which can often go on for years, even an entire lifetime].
When the victims are very young, as in the case of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, the perpetrator tends to be younger as well, often children themselves. Crime statistics confirm this. Thus the common abusers of very small children tend to be older children, not adults, and often older siblings.
JonBenet was abused, but she was a six-year-old beauty queen. Madeleine McCann was three-years-old when she “disappeared”, but there is no forensic evidence of abuse. The closest symptom to anything approximating a molesting scenario is that she had difficulty sleeping. [JonBenet Ramsey also struggled with insomnia and chronic bedwetting, according to the housekeeper Linda Hoffman-Pugh]. Well, so do many three-year-olds.
The notion that a criminal would target a three-year-old child for sexual purposes as a typical scenario is absurd in the extreme. Although – tragically – grooming of young children for sex-trafficking is not completely unheard of in our society, if the child is abducted as a toddler this means the child has to be adopted and raised [fed, housed etc.] for several years, a scenario well beyond the scope of most if not all pedophiles or traffickers.
In a high-profile scenario, the costs to prevent or avoid discovery of the groomed victim skyrockets, making the “investment” worthless. Madeleine McCann is world famous, the most famous missing child in history by a substantial margin. So, even following the theoretical concept to its conclusion [and assuming she’s still alive], the likelihood of any transaction with such a high-profile-high-risk candidate is untenable, to put it mildly.
Back to the reference cases.
Both children in the reference cases were boys, and both were twice the age of Madeleine when they were abducted. Both boys were also cute kids, which is why they were targeted both by the men [probably closet homosexuals] who abducted them, and by the media who covered them.
Those men who abducted these boys didn’t traffic them – the abuse was very brief and intended for discreet, private consumption.
But the area I want to emphasise cuts to the specific circumstances of both theses cases that are pertinently NOT similar to those in the McCann case.
The McCanns’ absolute conviction so early in the investigation knowing exactly what happened is a lot more sinister when juxtaposed alongside the responses of parents in genuine abduction scenarios. [Incidentally, Patsy Ramsey shared the same absolute certainty during her 911 call, although the bogus Ransom Note provided some reinforcement to her certainty. JonBenet’s body meanwhile was lying in the basement of the house all along. In other words, Patsy’s “certainty” was misleading, and arguably more than that – misdirection.]
Although Patz was “missing” for decades, and declared legally dead as late as 2001, 22 years after his abduction, the mystery of what happened to him was finally solved after 33 years even in the absence of recovering his remains. In other words, even though no body was recovered, there’s no doubt that the child is deceased. As such, is the Patz case really an approximate reference case for Madeleine McCann?
In May 2012 the New York Times reported:
A New Jersey man was arrested in the killing of Etan Patz, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced on Thursday, an extraordinary moment in a case that has gripped New York City’s psyche ever since the 6-year-old boy vanished in SoHo on his way to school in 1979. The man, Pedro Hernandez, told investigators that he lured Etan to the basement of a bodega where Mr. Hernandez worked at the time with the promise of a soda, Mr. Kelly said. Once Etan was inside, Mr. Hernandez choked him, stuffed his body into a bag and took the bag about a block and a half away, where he left it out in the open with trash, Mr. Kelly said.
…It is unclear whether investigators have been able to corroborate the account Mr. Hernandez has provided. Without any trace of human remains or other forensic evidence, any possible prosecution of him would face significant evidentiary hurdles.
…Mr. Hernandez, who was 18 at the time Etan vanished, worked as a stockboy in a bodega at 448 West Broadway that is now an eyeglass store, Mr. Kelly said. Etan disappeared on the first morning his parents allowed him to walk alone from the family’s home on Prince Street to a school bus stop on West Broadway.
Mr. Hernandez was working in the basement, which had a separate door to the street, Mr. Kelly said. Etan was at the bus stop when Mr. Hernandez led him away and to the basement, Mr. Kelly said…Mr. Hernandez’s name was mentioned in a 1979 detective’s report as part of the investigation into Etan’s disappearance, Mr. Kelly said. The report listed him as an employee of the bodega, but Mr. Hernandez was never questioned by investigators, Mr. Kelly said.
“I can’t tell you why, 33 years ago, he wasn’t questioned,” he said. “We know that other people in the bodega were questioned.”
A woman interviewed by The New York Times last month who ran a playgroup in SoHo at the time Etan disappeared recalled seeing mounds of garbage bags in the days after the boy vanished, which included Memorial Day weekend. “I always thought there were so many garbage bags out and why did they not search them,” said the woman, Judy Reichler, who now lives in New Paltz, N.Y. “For three days everyone piled bags on the street and then they got picked up.”
In the McCann case it appears the McCanns have not been questioned by British authorities. And when Kate McCann was questioned by the Portuguese police, she refused to answer. That’s the real mystery behind this case.
British detectives open new investigation after reviewing all evidence into disappearance of three-year-old from Portugal
Redwood said none of the individuals was connected to Madeleine’s family or friends who were with her parents on holiday at the time. The Met team’s work leads them to believe Madeleine was abducted in a criminal act by a stranger.
When last did we see a documentary on Madeleine McCann that a) genuinely presented new, game changing evidence or b) was an authentic investigation with no “hidden” agenda? When last did we see a Madeleine McCann documentary that was unbiased, one way or the other?
Typically when the suspects in a case are “exonerated”, or cleared, or no longer part of an official investigation, any aspersions implying their guilt mean the producers can be sued for defamation. If it can’t be proven or tested in court, and if it hasn’t been, then the odds favor the accused/former suspects. And so does the money.
A documentary sympathetic to those at its center is also easier to make if those at its center are friendly in some way to the producers. Friendly meaning family, friends or witnesses participate in a particular narrative which in turn makes those in the narrative appear better than perhaps they otherwise would. A good example is Steven Avery in Making A Murderer Seasons 1 & 2. And let’s face it, sympathy tends to come before facts in True Crime Apologia.
In the opening to episode one of the documentary, an anonymous reporter refers to shutters broken virtually in the first minute…
On May 5th 2007, just two days after the incident, the Telegraph reported:
Jon Corner, a close friend of Mrs McCann and godparent of the twins, said she telephoned him in the middle of the night distraught. He said: “She just blurted out that Madeleine had been abducted. She told me, ‘They have broken the shutter on the window and taken my little girl.’
“They had left the apartment locked while they were having their meal, but when they went back the last time they saw the damage. First they saw one of the window shutters had been forced, and then they saw the door was open and the bed was empty – and Madeleine was gone.
Ten years later that story changed.
His theory is backed up by evidence that discounts claims someone broke into apartment 5A via the bedroom window shutters — because they could ONLY be opened from the inside. Collins says: “I came across no clear indication that a planned abduction took place that night. Madeleine awoke and took the opportunity offered by the open patio doors to leave the apartment.”
In the initial panic…Gerry and Kate reportedly believed someone had “jemmied open” the shutters to get into her bedroom.
This is why it’s laughable how the Apologia dresses itself under the guise of being a genuine investigation with no bias. OBVIOUSLY it is biased, and obviously those it supports provide some form of resources, whether archival footage, or access, or reinforcement or otherwise.
The new Netflix documentary kicks off its first frame by implying that there is still a case to solve, and information out there, because Madeleine is still out there.
Of course this is PRECISELY the same narrative the McCanns have maintained since day one. It was only three months after the incident that the cops began to consider that Madeleine was dead, and cadaver dog searches strongly confirmed these suspicions.
The law – including British law – holds that any person who disappears with no trace for a period of seven years is to be considered deceased. So to allege that Madeleine is alive is unreasonable at best, and technically unlawful at worst.
The call by the Netflix film for “any information” on Madeleine McCann is also misleading. In 2016, nine years after her “disappearace” over 8000 “sightings” had been recorded, which suggests that the number is closer to 12 000 currently. Whether there are 20 sightings or 200 000 sightings, the result is the same. The only difference is the reality becomes more and more muddled behind a curtain of false information and fake leads. Of course if you can claim that MAYBE the missing person is still alive because you’re still investigation, and 199 999 have still to be checked, then a technical legal argument could be made – in theory – that evidence COULD exist somewhere out there proving she may be alive.
Of course the parents can claim that any lead, whether it’s a “sighting” in Antarctica or Vladivostok, that’s not followed up shows police incompetence and evidence of an “incomplete” or “unprofessional” or simply an “insincere” investigation. But the converse is that the investigation into the McCanns wasn’t unfettered or without interference. An obvious example of interference is kicking off the lead detective in the case, attacking him and undermining him in the media, suing him and silencing him. Much of this assault was directly by the McCanns.
This should come as no surprise. Exactly the same process played out in the Ramsey case against Detective Steve Thomas.
Maddie ‘died’ in apartment, court hears – The Express
Of course the title of the 8-part documentary communicates the message even more clearly. It’s not called THE DEATH OF MADELEINE MCCAN, or even THE ABDUCTION, just the “disappearance”.
For as long as Madeleine is “disappeared” and not dead, it remains officially a missing person’s case [the most expensive wild goose chase in true crime history], rather than a murder investigation. If Madeleine is dead, and someone is responsible for her death, it must suit them just fine that a narrative is still being circulated exorting the public to “never give up hope”.
I’m thrilled that the producers of this film have decided to shine a massive magnifying glass on the popular theory that 1) Madeleine McCann is still alive 12 years after her “abduction” and 2) that the toddler was abducted by sex traffickers/pedophiles.
For some time I’ve felt this theory deserves a really good airing in the mainstream, and for folks who believe it to put up their hands, wave their flag of allegiance so we can see it, and make their voices heard.
It should be noted in Kate McCann’s book she makes the case for some sort of pedophile assault on her three-year-old child:
To date I’ve written a trilogy on the McCann case dealing with why Madeleine is certainly dead, how and why she died, and how and where her body was initially hidden before being finally disposed of.
In the DOUBT trilogy I didn’t want to contaminate the original hypothesis with conspiracy theories, of which there are many, just as there are in the JonBenet Ramsey case.
Just as in the JonBenet Ramsey case, the pedophile scenario invokes some sick, shadowy outsider breaking into the family home [despite the risk of others being home], and then abducts the child etc but forgets to leave any evidence of himself. No footprints, no fingerprints, no fibers, no DNA, no witnesses seeing him breaking and entering, or exiting. Zero. Zip. Nada. Oh but he exists.
In the Ramsey case the pedophile intruder breaks into the home to have sex with his victim, kidnaps her from her bed, bludgeons and strangles the little girl, but then forgets to have sex with her and escapes through a window and levitates over snow without waking anyone up. If no one heard or saw him, if his abduction was successful for all intents and purposes, why did he abandon the victim that he risked it all for before doing what he’d come to do?
Instead of removing his clothes and performing sexual acts, as is his nature, in the Ramsey case the strange pedophile attacker apparently elects to sit down to write a three-page Ransom Note [which takes roughly 20 minutes] using materials inside the house. This is what he chooses to do with his alone time with the victim. For a dude meticulous enough not to leave any trace of himself, not even a single fingerprint on the three-page note, leaving the note is a huge mismatch to the surrounding parapsychology.
Yet as absurd as that theory was, District Attorney Mary Lacy bought into it hook, line and sinker, and more than 20 years later, the mainstream media is still hopping from one pedophile suspect to the next in an endless game of “find the pedophile”.
Who does this benefit? Clearly it benefits someone.
Pedophile Confesses to Killing JonBenet Ramsey in Letters to Friend – Rolling Stone [January, 2019]
I killed JonBenét Ramsey!’ Convicted pedophile Gary Oliva has confessed to the murder of six-year-old pageant princess in prison letters to his friend – claiming it was ‘an accident’ – MSN [January, 2019]
Although Gary Oliva has suddenly been receiving a lot of press again in 2019, immediately following the recent settlement of the $750 million lawsuit between Burke Ramsey’s lawyer and CBS, he’s hardly a new suspect.
As early as 2002 Oliva was identified, investigated and apparently cleared as a suspect by the cops in Boulder. Of course, confirming Oliva as an official suspect or not is quite complicated. The information is there, it’s just muddy and muddled, that’s all.
From Daily Camera:
In the 2002 jailhouse interview that was part of the “48 Hours Investigates” broadcast, Oliva denied hurting or killing JonBenet. He also said he had never used a stun gun on a child. But Oliva did admit to an obsession with the Ramseys’ youngest child. “I believe she came to me after she was killed and revealed herself to me,” he said. “I’d like to see a memorial set up for her. I haven’t seen that, anywhere.”
In an interview with the Daily Camera after the 2002 CBS broadcast, then-Boulder Police chief Mark Beckner said Oliva remained a suspect in the Ramsey case.
Interestingly, although Oliva is making the headlines now, the cops gave no credence to Oliva in October 2002.
In fact CBS reported:
Smit is convinced that a pedophile came into the Ramsey home and killed their daughter. “I’ve probably got 25 good leads. And I probably have another 50 pages of other leads to follow,” he says.
Among the files he’s keeping on sex offenders in Boulder, Gary Oliva’s name stands out. Police said that in 1991, months after he sexually assaulted the little girl, Oliva tried to strangle his mother with a telephone cord. And in December 1996, Oliva, then a fugitive and a homeless drifter, may have been less than a block away from the Ramsey’s house.
Why aren’t the Boulder police taking these leads more seriously? Police have dismissed Oliva because his DNA doesn’t match evidence at the scene. The Ramseys say police have a double standard: While some suspects have been cleared because their DNA doesn’t match, they have not been cleared for the same reason.
Just this week, police said Oliva is not a suspect. Sources say his DNA doesn’t match evidence at the scene.
Now we’re seeing a similar narrative play out in the McCann case, except the pedophile abduction theory isn’t new here either. The #1 suspect originally on the sex trafficking conspiracy radar appeared to be one Robert Murat – basically the McCann version of Gary Oliva – except Murat’s a lot more of an upstanding citizen. Unlike Oliva, Murat had no criminal record and no convictions at the time he was falsely fingered as a suspect.
In fact if anything, Murat participated in the investigation as a volunteer translator, far more than can be said about the McCanns who were [like the Ramseys] less than co-operative with the local authorities, to put it mildly. In fact on the evening Madeleine vanished, the only people not looking for the little girl were Kate and Gerry.
The false “tip-offs”, meanwhile, started as early as May 2007, the same month as Madeleine’s disappearance. One of those tip-offs came from the Tapas 7 [the McCanns’ pals] who mistakenly identified Tannerman as key abductor suspect. Even though Tannerman had played tennis with Gerry, and came forward to say “hey, it was me” it took six years for him to be officially cleared.
Murat formed an important part of the false tip-offs extravaganza during the crucial first days of the investigation.
False tip-offs hamper hunt for Madeleine – The Guardian
As such, Murat successfully sued several newspapers for defamation for printing slurs about him as early as one year after Madeleine’s “abduction”. At the time, Murat won a record settlement of 600 000 pounds.
But because Murat lived quite close to the crime scene [like Oliva], he remained a sort of default choice as prime suspect, aside from the original prime suspects of course. As long as the crime remained unsolved, suspicions hung like a cloud over Murat.
Based on the Netflix trailer, it seems Murat will be mentioned as part of the pedophile narrative not so much implicating him, but implicating 1) the pedophile conspiracy narrative and thus giving it some substance and 2) accusing the authorities [presumably the Portuguese cops] of an improper investigation, thus undermining their allegations [including those identifying the parents as arguidos/suspects].
I have made passing remarks in my three narratives to debunk the pedophile/abductor theory, starting with the obvious. If a stranger abductor wants to steal a child, the easiest way to do that is in a public area like a beach or a park. What an abductor won’t do nine times out of ten is break into a locked or secure home, grab the child [leaving traces of himself], and then break out again, all with the threat of being caught in flagrante delicto.
But more important than imputing the typical profile of a stranger abductor, is looking at the behavior of the parents following the abduction. In the Ramseys’ case, following the murder of their daughter by a random kidnapping pedophile, what did they do – they sent their other child to another nearby residence and never seemed particularly concerned for Burke’s safety. By January 1997, within a month of his sister’s murder, Burke was back at school and his father back at work, back to business as usual.
He continued going to the same school, and security protocols at the school were casual, to put it mildly. Not the sort of thing a parent convinced their child was attacked by a neighborhood monster still-at-large would do, and of course, Burke Ramsey himself wasn’t in the least bit frightened either. No nightmares. Not much concern that his sister had been killed in the basement. In fact when Burke was asked why he wasn’t at school during those first weeks, it wasn’t to hide away from an attacker, but the press.
In the McCann case, it’s not often reported that the McCanns continued to stay in the Ocean Club hotel for an additional two months following the “abduction”. Besides that, their other two children continued to be dropped off at the Ocean Club creche [Kids Club] as per normal, immediately following the abduction.
When the McCanns left to see the Pope in May 2007 [less than a month after Madeleine’s “disappearance”, they left both their children behind in the pedophile paradise of Praia da Luz before continuing a whirlwind tour of Europe.
They have left their two-year-old twins in the Algarve with Mr McCann’s sister, Trish Cameron, and her husband Sandy, deciding they were too young to take on the trip to Italy. The couple are also due to visit Spain, the Netherlands, Morocco and Germany to raise awareness of their daughter’s disappearance.
In fact the pictures the tabloid media were able to get of the couple in the weeks following the abduction were all at the same resort where Madeleine was “abducted”. All the pictures of the McCanns in the aftermath were taken as they went to drop off their other children at the creche first thing in the morning, so that they could concentrate on attending to the PR surrounding Madeleine.
But that’s not the most ridiculous aspect of this conspiracy. That is reserved for the idea that all evidence to the contrary, Madeleine is still alive. With zero confirmed evidence of Madeleine being sighted in twelve years, Madeleine still being alive is based on less evidence than that she isn’t.
Based on cadaver traces alone [in apartment 5a, in the garden below the apartment, in the villa, on Madeleine’s cuddlecat toy, and inside the rental vehicle’s trunk] it’s clear someone died. If it wasn’t Madeleine, was it someone else [in the apartment, in the rental car, in the villa…]?
McCann team tests car for traces of Madeleine – Telegraph 
Witness Statement of Alexander James CAMERON – PJFiles 
Detectives ask: Where did the car go? – Daily Star [September 16, 2007]
It’s this narrative that Madeleine is still alive that’s the reason I believe this documentary actually has the tacit support of the McCanns despite appearances to the contrary. The fact that the documentary is coming out a month before the 12th anniversary of her disappearance isn’t an accident. It’s been carefully planned and executed. So much of this case is about precisely that – appearances and PR. And after losing their latest lawsuit, the McCanns need some fresh impetus to their bogus “there is always hope” spiel.
Top British police officer Jim Gamble claims that they’ll find Maddie within his lifetime, according to Daily Mail reports.
“There’s huge hope to be had with the advances in technology. Year on year DNA is getting better,” Gamble has said, “Year on year other techniques, including facial recognition, are getting better. “And as we use that technology to revisit and review that which we captured in the past, there’s every likelihood that something we already know will slip into position.”
It’s been suggested that Maddie is still alive and was taken by human traffickers because of her financial value as a “middle-class British girl”, Metro reports. The long-awaited documentary is expected to be released on Friday, despite opposition from Madeleine’s family.
Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have repeatedly refused to take part in the show, according to The Guardian. They’ve also reportedly urged others to refuse doing interviews with production house Pulse Films, who’s making the series.