The disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann, a British toddler who vanished while on vacation in Portugal with her family, has stumped the world’s greatest detectives for almost a decade. It was May 3, 2007 when Madeleine McCann seemingly disappeared without a trace after her parents had put her and her younger twin siblings to bed at the family’s Algarve region vacation home.
After getting the little ones to sleep, Gerry and Kate McCann say they left the children alone to go to a nearby tapas bar with friends. Reportedly, the bar was just 160 feet away from the sleeping children.
At 10 p.m., Kate McCann returned to the room to check on the children; she claims that when she got there, Madeleine was nowhere to be found. As Fox News reports, the parents of little Madeleine McCann reported their daughter’s disappearance to police in Praia da Luz, Portugal. By the next morning, police had launched a full-scale search for little Madeleine, including the use of police dogs and contacting airports and border control facilities. Even so, the department has been heavily criticized for the way they handled the scene of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. The room was not sealed off immediately, and the fear has long been that crucial evidence may have been tainted or destroyed.
On May 7, 2007, no concrete clues had yet been yielded in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann. It was then that her mother turned to the media in an attempt to find her daughter, and the case garnered international attention. For months, investigators from Portugal to Scotland Yard sought the three-year-old in vain, with several suspects being labeled but no trace of Madeleine being recovered.
In September 2007, the parents of Madeleine McCann became official suspects in their daughter’s disappearance, at least according to Portuguese authorities. The couple was brought in for questioning after investigators claimed that their DNA had been found at locations where search dogs had alerted during the investigative process
Despite being designated as official suspects in their daughter’s disappearance, Madeleine McCann’s parents were allowed to return to Britain within days. Ultimately, Portuguese authorities would present a theory in which Madeleine suffered a tragic, accidental death and her parents tried to cover it up with a staged abduction. Former investigator Gonçalo Amaral went on to write a book to that effect, which was published in 2008. In July of that same year, Portuguese authorities closed their investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, and her parents were cleared as suspects in the case.
However, in 2013, the Portuguese investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann was reopened, and authorities in the country released a drawing of two persons of interest in her abduction. Former investigator Gonçalo Amaral is ordered to pay €500,000 to Madeleine’s parents over his controversial theory that they covered up her accidental death.
The ongoing investigation into the case has cost over $14 million, and has yielded nothing substantial. Police invested in the case can’t even say whether or not the child, who would now be approaching her 14th birthday, is dead or alive, reports Telegraph.
They simply claim that she was abducted from that vacation rental in Portugal nearly a decade ago. The who, why, and how all remain a mystery.
“My hope for Madeleine being out there is no less than it was almost 10 years ago. I never thought we’d still be in this situation, so far along the line. It’s a huge amount of time… it’s a hard marker of time.”
Even so, Gerry and Kate McCann remain hopeful that they will someday be reunited with their daughter. Or, at the very least, that they will learn what happened to her on the fateful night nearly 10 years ago. The couple claims that they have tried to re-focus their energy on raising their now-12-year-old twins and that Madeleine is never forgotten when it comes to birthday and Christmas gifts.
“I obviously have to think about what age she is and something that, whenever we find her, will still be appropriate. So there’s a lot of thought that goes into it. But I couldn’t not, you know. She’s still our daughter, she’ll always be our daughter.”
While it has been nearly a decade since Madeleine went missing, investigators are still actively working on her case. In fact, Telegraph reports that detectives from Scotland Yard are now looking for an unidentified woman who “could hold the key” to unlocking the mysterious disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Reportedly investigators have looked “all over Europe” for the woman, and a source close to the investigation claims that they are now ready to “move in” and conduct an interview that includes “hugely significant line of inquiry.”
It is being said that the mystery woman was known to have been in Portugal, near the McCann’s vacation rental, on the night that Madeleine disappeared.
“After months of tireless police work they will soon be in a position to move in and finally get some answers after a decade of dead ends. It is a hugely significant line of inquiry that officers hope could lead to an arrest.”
The news comes just days after another Telegraph report that indicates that investigators working on the Madeleine McCann disappearance are now fearing that the toddler may have been abducted by slave traders and sold to a rich family in Africa. That theory emerged following sightings of the child in Morocco.
What do you think? Should Scotland Yard be continuing to utilize resources and time to investigate what appears to be the cold case of Madeleine McCann, or is it time to move on? Let us know in the comments below.
[Featured Image by Alastair Grant/AP Images]