The family of Madeleine McCann has received hundreds of death threats over the last six years from online critics who believe they are somehow responsible for the young girl’s disappearance.
McCann disappeared in 2007 while her family was on vacation in Portugal. The 3-year-old girl was alone in her hotel room while her parents were nearby having dinner, and in the years since then police have made no headway in locating her.
During the years that Madeleine McCann has been missing, many people online have decided that her family is to blame. This week police in Britain have looked into a catalogue of death threats against the family, including more than 80 pages of tweets, Facebook posts and other messages on online forums.
Many of the messages suggested that the girl’s parents be tortured or killed while others told them to “burn in hell.” Some of the hateful messages were even aimed at Madeleine’s now 9-year-old sister.
Sky News caught up with some of the people leaving the messages, confronting on Twitter user going by “Sweepyface” who sent many hateful messages.
When asked why she was attacking the bereaved couple, the woman replied: “I’m entitled to.”
Last months a new report indicated that missteps from investigators may have hindered the search for Madeleine McCann. The author of a British federal government report indicated that competition between police chiefs may have set the investigation back.
The author, Jim Gamble, said that during the search a number of police forces expressed “frustration” and “resentment” and that Portuguese officials felt British police were on the side of McCann’s parents, The Telegraph reported.
“There was chaos, and as it went on it was haphazard which was alien to the more structured police you would expect here in the UK,” Gamble told The Telegraph. “There was not a sense of order.”
Police have not indicated if there could be charges for those leaving death threats against the parents and family of Madeleine McCann.