Sunday, 23 September 2007

My own two cents...on Madeleine

Getting sick and tired of the “smear” campaign that has Portugal and its police as a target lately, I thought of giving my own two cents on the Madeleine McCann disappearance.

Ok, so let’s see…don’t you think it is interesting to see how the PR campaign is shifting (or trying to shift the attention) from the McCann’s and the possibility that they are suspected only now? Let’s consider one thing: during all the time the McCann’s were not suspects, they spent their days launching balloons, visiting the Pope, going to the US as awareness about "missing children" or going to shopping sprees as stated in their blog BUT it is NOW that they are going to seriously make an ad campaign to find Madeleine?

Let’s go fact by fact:

1. Why do parents leave children of small age alone knowing that there is the risk that they will wake up and might leave the room?
2. Did the McCann’s sedate their children? They said no. However, on 9 September they told the Sunday Times that gave to their children Calpol (paracetamol) which does not have a sedating effect.
3. Why (according to a witness) does Kate McCann call Sky News about her missing child even BEFORE calling the police? Quite interesting don’t you think? Police reports (after studying the list of calls made from the McCann’s apartment) say that the call to Sky News was done at 22:00 while the call to the police was done at 22:40!
4. Why does Kate McCann remain in the room when everyone is out looking for Madeleine? If my child had disappeared from where she was supposed to be, the first thing I would do (and having witnessed those events several times, I know that is what usually happens) would be to go out to see if the child wouldn’t be wandering somewhere. Kate McCann chose to stay in the apartment.
5. One witness testified that Kate never cried, the neighbours only discovered it was her child that was missing when they saw the papers she gave to the police.
6. Why, if kidnapping, only Madeleine was kidnapped when there was 3 small children in the same room? Let’s be honest, that is not logical.
7. Does the blood found in the car belong to Maddie? The parents explained that Maddie had a cut in a leg when they were flying to Portugal, traces of blood could therefore be on her clothes which would have been in the car after she disappeared. Professor Antonio Amorim, Vice-Director of the Instituto de Patologia e Imunologia da Universidade do Porto (Institute of Pathology and Immunology of Porto University) says that the DNA transfer from a piece of clothing to the safe of the car is “virtually impossible”. According to him, the chance that happens is merely an “academic” one (forget the CSI series you’re watching!). The McCann’s guarantee to have innocent explanations for the blood in the car they rented 3 weeks after Maddie’s disappearance. All her things were transported in that car and therefore there was a transfer of DNA. Prof. Amorim says “in theory yes, that can happen, in the real world? No, it is virtually impossible since the quality of the DNA would have to be acceptable" (the DNA found had only 15 of the 20 required markers). Prof. Amorim continues saying that there should have been "perfect conditions of humidity for the transfer". And that the blood could have been from her twin brother and sister? Prof. Amorim’s answer: "when you try to reconstruct a DNA, you look for target areas. A person’s DNA has great diversity; it is something that is different even between brothers and sisters. It’s like a lottery result that is transmitted to us by our parents and it would be the most serious mistake a lab could do to confuse one DNA with another"! May I please remind that all DNA testing was done in England?
8. At a request of British police, Portuguese police had sniffer dogs come from England, sniffer dogs which can smell “dead bodies”. The dogs found traces of that smell in the car and in the apartment. Explanation from the McCann’s: Kate being a doctor and having handled corps in the morgue before her holidays, the smell stayed in her clothes. Say what? Three weeks later the smell would linger on? Even after having washed the clothing. Because let’s see, 3 weeks before her holidays and 4 weeks after Maddie disappeared i.e. 7 weeks later, the dogs would still be able to smell it? She doesn’t wash her clothes?

As I said above, it was the McCann’s who wanted the “media circus” to be able to search for their daughter. Ok, they got a private jet to go to the Vatican, to the US, to Morocco, all over Europe. All this disturbed the police work who could not work properly as it had to spend half its time avoiding the press!

Many Portuguese now believe that all this media frenzy was a smoke screen. The impression in Portugal is that all that served one purpose, that the McCann’s could not in any case be guilty. Little by little, the McCann’s had convinced the world that it was a kidnapping and that there was not much hope of recovering Maddie. However, they would not go back to England without her. Until…they were declared arguidos and “fled” to England.

("Arguido" is a person who is being formally charged of some crime. The legal status of “arguido” is used in criminal procedures only. If it is what is called a "civil" procedure the person is called "réu". You are an arguido after you are considered a formal suspect and until you are considered guilty or not guilty, or until the other part gives up on the process.

1. What rights does the status of arguido give to a suspect?
The arguido has the right to have a fair trial, to defend himself and he must have a lawyer. An "arguido" has more legal rights than a witness, including right to remain silent and have a lawyer. Some people request to be declared "arguido" to get this protection. Police must declare a witness an "arguido" before asking certain questions or making an arrest. Courts may restrict movements of an "arguido". An arrest or charge does not always follow someone being named an "arguido"

2. What obligations does it place upon a suspect?
The obligations are to be present in court and to respect the instructions of the judge before the trial occurs.

3. How long is it possible to be an arguido?
Can’t remember what the Portuguese law says about this because cases usually take so long...

4. What is the difference between being an arguido and a witness?
A witness is the person who testifies in court, the person who saw something or knows something, or is important to the case. We call it a "testemunha". Arguido is the person who is being charged of some crime)

The conclusion of the police: an accident might have happened in the apartment, Maddie died and the parents and their friends decided to hide the body, pretended there had been a kidnapping and to later dispose of her. In the meantime the media frenzy had got to such an extent that they could not come back on their declarations.

Was it then just a case of protecting a reputation? But who’s reputation, Kate’s or Gerry? After some search, the police discovered that Gerry McCann, a cardiologist, has powerful friends that he was aiming at an important job in the Ministry of Health and was hoping to start a political career. That must have weighted a lot in the few hours after Maddie’s disappearance.

Don’t get me wrong on what I have written, I would prefer that Maddie was kidnapped and that one day she could be found. I really hope this is what happened and that somehow, she is ok.
BUT… the bottom line is that parents left their children unattended and Maddie is still missing. The McCann will have to live with that guilt for the rest of their lives.

By the way, in a poll published by the Sunday Times, 48% of the British people asked to answer believe the McCann’s might be responsible of Maddie’s death.

1 comment:

  1. Completely agree with you on this issue. Have you read the news yesterday? An anonymous e-mail has arrived to the British Royal family saying that an employee from the resort of playa de la luz was having problems and decided to kidnap a child for revenge... I don't have words to explain how ridiculous this story is getting. As you say, let's hope for the best of little Maddie, and let's finish with all this theatre soon.