There’s something fundamentally wrong with this search map of the east side of Praia da Luz, from 9News. Can you tell what it is?
On March 18, 2019, Mark Saunokonoko touched on the mostly unexplored country that is the search for Madeleine McCann’s remains – assuming she died and there is a body.
In If Madeleine McCann was killed or died, where might her body have been hidden? Saunokonoko cites Britain’s leading expert in locating missing persons, whether abducted or murdered.
Obviously getting expert information is just good investigative journalism, but let’s face it, 40 experts were interviewed in the £20 million Netflix documentary series. Do those 40 experts, individually or collectively, solve the case or even advance it towards where it needs to go?
Experts can give a narrative credibility whether in court, in a documentary or in a news story. One expert or 40 doesn’t, however, suddenly recast reality. Credibility isn’t reality. Reality is what it is.
Saunokonoko’s expert, Mark Harrison, was tasked to build a report based on the theory that Madeleine was dead and her remains were somewhere. It’s important to contextualize how Harrison came onto the scene. Who employed him? When did he come onto the scene? How did he investigate that was different and useful, and what ultimately did he find out?
Well he wasn’t employed by the McCanns. It wasn’t Harrison who first suggested using cadaver dogs and Harrison wasn’t the first to suggest Madeleine had died on May 3rd, either. He was brought in to investigate that possibility, rather than that he came in and introduced everyone to that possibility.
Kate McCann herself had hinted as much through a dream she said she’d had in late July 2007. This is very important, that the shift in this direction came from the McCanns although South African boyyhunter Danie Krugel seemed to be the first to a) recommend the use of cadaver dogs and b) suggest Madeleine was no longer alive.
Krugel’s visit and Kate McCann’s dream – that Madeleine was no longer alive – seemed to sort of coincide, didn’t they?
Kate had dream of where to dig – The Sun [April 6, 2016]
Understandably the Polícia Judiciária didn’t take Krugel’s advice to heart immediately, but when Kate tearfully called them up giving the impression for the first time that she thought Madeleine was dead, clearly they started to consider it. And the change in the McCanns attitude to the case in late July caused the cops to shift the focus of their investigation.
It seems when Harrison made the same recommendations as Krugel, he was able to provide guidance. He made specific recommendations – use cadaver dogs, and use specific dogs from the South Yorkshire Police Department with a track record in international cases. And so, that’s what the Polícia Judiciária did.
In Gonçalo Amaral’s book [published in August 2009], he emphasises this damaging claim from Harrison which contradicts the spirit of the Netflix documentary ten years later:
After a week of intense work, Harrison presents the results of his study to my coordinating group. Even if we were expecting it, his conclusions confirm our worst fears. The most plausible scenario is the following: there is no doubt that Madeleine is dead, and her body is hidden somewhere in the area around Praia da Luz. He praises the quality of the work carried out by the Portuguese authorities in trying to find the little girl alive. According to him, the time has come to redirect the searches in order to find, this time, a body hidden in the surrounding area.
Harrison also produces a map which, based on his research [of the witness statements, and of the McCanns themselves] suggests Madeleine’s body may be in one of these five areas.
But Harrison’s map is fundamentally flawed. Can you see why? Here’s a hint. At the time Harrison made his recommendations, the Tannerman sighting was considered both credible and “the most credible” sighting. We know the Tannerman sight suggested the abductor was heading east, away from the apartment, but we also know the Tannerman sighting has since been debunked.
And here’s another. This is the view from the Rocha Nechra [red circle on the far right] towards Praia da Luz…
In Kate McCann’s book, chapter 6th dealing with the morning after Madeleine’s disappearance [May 4th], a neighbor is mentioned across the road on the east side of the apartment [across the Rua Dr Gentil Martins]. This unidentified, anonymous neighbor tells the McCanns she saw a car going up the Rocha Negra at night. Kate notes there is a track going up the Rocha Negra but it’s not meant for vehicles. So what was a vehicle doing up there? There are several photos showing the McCanns running this same track.
It’s important to note that in the photo on the right, we can see a long way back to houses and apartments behind the McCanns. This also means folks in those houses and apartments have line of sight – over several miles to them.
Writing about the morning of May 4th, Kate – referring to strange lights late at night on the Rocha Negra – conjures “visions of Madeleine being disposed of somewhere on the overhanging cliff…” Kate actually uses the word “conjures” as well. Conjures visions. When Kate tells a police officer about it, he’s dismissive.
He has good reason to be dismissive. If someone as far away as the apartment block could see suspicions goings-on on the Rocha Negra, even at night, was it really the ideal place to surreptitiously “dispose of” someone?
And those words don’t particularly suggest Kate thinks her daughter is alive, does it?
If Harrison’s map was based on the testimonies of the Tapas 7 [including Jane Tanner] and the McCanns, and the map focused on the east side of Praia da Luz, what was the fundamental flaw?