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Gerry returns to Portugal, 13 Jan 2009
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McCanns Try To 'Gag' Gonçalo Amaral
Gonçalo Amaral - The Civil Court Injunction
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'A Mordaça Inglesa' - The English Gag
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The 'Victoria Beckham' Lookalike Suspect
The 'Victoria Beckham' Lookalike Suspect - 2
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McCanns Return To Portugal, 23/09/2009
Gerry McCann: IBA Conference, Madrid
'A Minute For Madeleine' Campaign
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Kevin Halligen & The Fund - 2008/2009
Kevin Halligen & The Fund - 2010-2012
Kevin Halligen & The Fund - 2013
Gonçalo Amaral's Court Hearing (adjourned)
McCanns Return To Praia da Luz
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Gonçalo Amaral's Court Hearing (Day Three)
Court Appeal Hearing - Live Text
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Temporary Injunction - Decision and Reaction
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Dossier Of Sightings Released To UK Press
Dossier Of Sightings Released To UK Press 2
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McCanns Return To Portugal / Fun Run / Aled Jones Interview
Three Years: GMTV & Age-Progression Image
Three Years: McCann Media Interviews
Three Years: Appeal Video & Services
Peace Service, Maddie's 7th Birthday, Gerry's Cycle Event
Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan - 1
Charles O'Neill and William Lauchlan - 2
Appeals Court Lifts Ban On Amaral's Book
McCanns' Appeal For Donations & Case Review (Media Reports)
McCanns' Appeal For Donations & Case Review (Videos)
McCanns Appeal To The Supreme Court
McCanns Announce Book Deal
WikiLeaks Release
Kate McCann and Claudia Lawrence
Alpha Investigations Group
McCanns: 'Miles for Missing People' 2011
Kate's Book & JK Rowling Denial
Four Year Anniversary
Serialisation Of 'Madeleine' Begins
'Madeleine' Media Opinions
'Madeleine' Media Opinions (2)
Media Interviews - 12 May 2011
Met. Police Review Announced
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News of the World Hacking Scandal
The Leh 'Sighting' - India
McCanns Appear At The Leveson Inquiry
McCanns' Evidence To The Leveson Inquiry
Leveson Inquiry: Crone, Myler and Sanderson
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The Leveson Report - Publication
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Madeleine Sightings / Searches / Leads - 2013
Met. Police Review - Jan to May 2013
Kate McCann: London Marathon 2013
Six Year Anniversary - Media Interviews
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Urs Hans Von Aesch
Met. Police Review - 2013 (continued)
Gerry McCann: London Triathlon 2013
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial
McCanns v. Gonçalo Amaral: Libel Trial - Day One
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SY Mobile Phone Traffic Announcement
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Scotland Yard Release E-fit Image
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Public Ministry Reopens Investigation
Euclides Monteiro - The Dead Suspect
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CMTV Reconstruction / Studio Debate
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Police Searches Announced - Praia da Luz
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The McCanns and the Conman - Channel 5
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SY Return to Portugal for Interviews
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Murat Libel Settlements
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Madeleine's Fund - Analysis of Accounts to 31/03/2013
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Paulo Sargento
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The Blacksmith Bureau - 2014
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The Cracked Mirror
A Sauce Said...
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Articles by Duarte Levy
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Reports Post-Arguido (September 2007)
Reports Post-Arguido (Oct-Dec 2007)
Reports Post-Arguido (Jan-Dec 2008)
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People magazine
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The Madeleine Foundation - 2010
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The Madeleine Foundation - 'Inside Out' Programme
The Madeleine Foundation - 163 Questions and 50 Facts
The Madeleine Foundation - 2011
McCanns v. Bennett - Contempt of Court (1)
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McCanns v. Bennett - Court Report
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Misc. Media Comments (03 May - 31 Aug 2007)
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Madeleine Related 'Art'
CBS 48 Hours: 'Where's Maddie?'
RTE: Mystery Still Surrounds McCann Case
RTP: 'Anatomy of a Mystery'
Sky: 'The Mystery of Madeleine McCann'
MSNBC: 'Missing Madeleine'
Al Jazeera: 'The McCanns v. The Media'
Madeleine McCann: Haunting Evidence
Las Mañanas de Cuatro - Spanish TV Discussion & McCanns Interview
2007: May (1-28)
June (29-58)
July (59-89)
August (90-120)
September (121-150)
October (151-181)
November (182-211)
December (212-242)
2008: January (243-273)
February (274-302)
March (303-333)
April (334 - 363)
May (364-394)
June (395-424)
July (425-455)
August (456-486)
September (487-516)
October (517-547)
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2009: January (609-639)
February (640-667)
March (668-698)
April (699-728)
May (729-759)
June (760-789)
July (790-820)
August (821-851)
September (852-881)
October (882-912)
November (913-942)
December (943-973)
2010: Jan/Feb (974-1032)
Mar/Apr (1033-1093)
May/Jun (1094-1154)
Jul/Aug (1155-1216)
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2011 - Jan/Feb (1339-1397)
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May/Jun (1459-1519)
Jul/Aug (1520-1581)
Sep/Dec (1582-1673)
2012 - Jan/Feb (1674-1733)
Mar/Apr (1734-1794)
Gerry's Blogs (Days 1-58) May/Jun 2007
Gerry's Blogs (Days 59-120) Jul/Aug 2007
Gerry's Blogs (Days 121-181) Sep/Oct 2007
Gerry's Blogs (Days 182-242) Nov/Dec 2007
Gerry's Blogs 2008-2009
Official McCann Updates, Mar-Dec 2009
Official McCann Updates, Jan-Dec 2010
Official McCann Facebook 2010-2011
Official McCann Updates, 2011-2014
Contact/Links
People magazine

A series of articles published in People magazine, in the USA

Articles from People magazine

 
Stolen in the night, 28 May 2007
 
People cover, 28 May 2007
Click image to enlarge

Stolen in the night People
 
By Bill Hewitt
May 28, 2007 - Vol. 67, No. 21
 
Cops and Her Devastated Parents Search for 3-year-old Madeleine McCann, Who Vanished from a Room at a Resort During a Family Vacation
 
Originally posted Thursday May 17, 2007 12:00 PM EDT

People, 28 May 2007

People, 28 May 2007

Click images to enlarge

Gerry and Kate McCann had been eagerly looking forward to celebrating daughter Madeleine's 4th birthday on May 12. As it turned out, there were pink balloons released that day for Madeleine, but there was nothing festive about the occasion. The balloon release was instead a symbolic plea for the safe return of the youngster, who had apparently been abducted in the night from her room in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz nine days before—leaving her parents swamped under a "tidal wave" of devastation, as father Gerry put it. Fighting back tears, Kate had earlier begged, "Please, please, do not hurt her.... Please give our little girl back."

The taking of a child always evokes a shudder of anguish and sympathy. But something about the disappearance of Madeleine triggered a deeper reaction, not just in Portugal and the McCanns' native Britain but throughout the world. Perhaps it was the chillingly sinister nature of the apparent crime, one that tapped into every parent's nightmare. (Although police say they have a suspect, they have yet to identify him.) Or perhaps it was the McCanns' early decision to use the media to keep the case alive in the public's mind. In any event, within days the horror was being played out on cable news and the Internet, and a host of celebrities had stepped forward to pledge money for a reward for Madeleine's safe return. Author J.K. Rowling, American Idol's Simon Cowell and Virgin Atlantic founder Richard Branson had all chipped in with substantial contributions, with the result that at press time the fund topped $5 million. Soccer star David Beckham did his part by taping a televised appeal.

The incident took place under eerie circumstances. The McCanns, both 38, and both of whom are physicians from the village of Rothley in Leicestershire, England, had been staying at the Ocean Club resort in Portugal's Algarve region with Madeleine and their younger twins, Sean and Amelie, 2. On the evening of May 3, the couple put the kids to bed in the ground-floor apartment and went to a tapas restaurant with friends about 50 yards away. They say they checked on the children every half hour. But when Kate arrived at 10 p.m. she found Madeleine missing. Police speculate that an intruder may have entered through the rear patio doors. Over the next several days a dragnet turned up no sign of the child. Early on, a distraught Kate appeared before news crews clutching Madeleine's pink stuffed toy, looking on as Gerry declared, "Words cannot describe the anguish and concern we are feeling."

Some of the initial British press coverage questioned why the couple had left the children with no babysitter. But friends of the family's said the parents, who had struggled with years of infertility before having their kids through in vitro fertilization, felt safer by not entrusting them to a stranger's care. "They did everything to protect those kids," says Gerry's sister Philomena McCann. "It's not like they'd gone out gallivanting—they were just having something to eat." Indeed, those closest to the McCanns described Kate as a devoted mother who had scaled back to working only a day and a half a week as a general practitioner (Gerry is a cardiologist) so that she could be with her children. "She misses her daughter so much," says Philomena McCann. "She's working to keep her career up but spends the majority of her time with the kids."

The McCanns and Madeleine have a particular love of sports and the outdoors. Madeleine, who had recently started taking tennis lessons, also doted on her younger siblings. "They were desperate to be parents, and when Madeleine came along they were walking on air," says Jon Corner, Amelie's godfather. "She's an amazing, charismatic child. She's one of those kids who just commands attention." As the days dragged on, the ordeal of awaiting word on their daughter clearly took a toll on the couple. During their public appearances Kate looked drawn and seemed almost on the verge of a breakdown. "Kate's always full of life, full of smiles," says Corner. "You can tell she's going through agony. They are trying to be strong. If they're not strong, they can't continue to battle to find her."

They weren't battling alone. Back in Britain friends quickly mobilized to do what they could from afar to aid in the search. When he first heard that Madeleine had gone missing, Corner, who runs a media production company, went to his office and uploaded home-movie footage of Madeleine to British police and major British news outlets. "At least I thought I was doing something practical," he says. Others organized numerous vigils across Britain. Meanwhile in Portugal authorities devoted 130 police officers, as well as hundreds of personnel from the national guard, fire services and maritime police, to the case and blanketed the region with posters of Madeleine. The effort drew some grumbling from local Portuguese journalists, who suggested that such a huge search would not have been mounted for a Portuguese child. "The disappearance of a child is the same, whatever the nationality," replied an inspector. "The resources are justified the same."

The McCanns emphasized how much they appreciated everything being done on their behalf. "[We] will leave no stone unturned in the search for our daughter," said Gerry at one news conference. "We are very grateful for all the efforts and offers of support that we have had from home and from around the world." All the same, supporters of the McCanns wondered whether police could have deployed more officers the first night to search for Madeleine—a charge Portuguese authorities likewise dismissed.

Investigators admitted that they had no idea whether Madeleine was alive or dead. They had received no ransom demand, and they were operating on the possibility that she may have been abducted for the purpose of sexual abuse. At press time police had questioned many people, but only formally declared one man a suspect: a 33-year-old British citizen living near the resort with his mother. Officials released him anyway—and it wasn't clear what connection, if any, he might have with the case. All of which only increased the sense of tension and dread. "We're just praying and praying and praying," says the youngster's grandmother Susan Healy, "and hoping that we'll get Madeleine back."
  • Contributors:
  • Reported by Margaret Roberts/Portugal,
  • Sara Hammel/Lucerne,
  • Ellen Tumposky/London,
  • Courtney Rubin/Rothley.
 
MORE FROM THIS ARTICLE
 
Some Famous Names Get Involved
 
Rowling, Branson and Cowell have donated money to a fund for Madeleine. Beckham made a TV ad. Kate McCann voiced "sincere gratitude" for all the support that has been shown.
 
J.K. ROWLING DAVID BECKHAM SIR RICHARD BRANSON SIMON COWELL

 
Madeleine McCann's Parents Create Missing Kids Site on YouTube, 10 August 2007
 
Madeleine McCann's Parents Create Missing Kids Site on YouTube People
 
By Ellen Tumposky
 
Originally posted Friday August 10, 2007 12:00 PM EDT
 
The parents of missing child Madeleine McCann have launched a new channel on YouTube to allow people to post videos, images and information about their missing children.
 
The site, youtube.com/dontyouforgetaboutme, which kicks off today, has been created by Gerry and Kate McCann, the British doctors whose 4-year-old daughter disappeared from their vacation apartment in Portugal on May 3. They are working with Google, YouTube and the International Center for Missing and Exploited Children (ICMEC), a U.S.-based organization.
 
"Because of what has happened to Madeleine, we have become aware of so many other children that have gone missing and also a lot about how many children are abducted and the extent of child sexual exploitation," Kate McCann told the British newspaper the Guardian.

Gerry McCann says he approached ICMEC to regulate the channel to make sure any child on a video that is posted is really missing, that authorities know the child is missing, and that the images are not exploitative.
 
Ernest Allen, chief executive of ICMEC, said the new site is "completely revolutionary." The group had previously set up missing kids' sites in 14 countries, he said, "and then Gerry came along with this idea. We hadn't thought of using YouTube. Now it will allow us to have one worldwide clearinghouse for all the information on missing children."
 
The McCanns, who have remained in Portugal during the search for their daughter, have been conducting their campaign from a two-bedroom apartment lent to them by friends. Friends and family have raised money, distributed pictures and a DVD of Madeleine to the press, and celebrities including soccer star David Beckham and author J.K. Rowling have helped publicize their search.

 
Hoping for a Break, 27 August 2007
 
Hoping for a Break People
 
By Alex Tresniowski
August 27, 2007 Vol 68 No. 9
 
As Police Test Possible New DNA Evidence, Gerry and Kate McCann Mark 100 Days Without Their Daughter—and Answer Press Speculation About Her Disappearance
 
On the 100th day, they did what they've done each and every day: They prayed. Gerry and Kate McCann dressed up their 2-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie, and went to mass at the Nossa Senhora da Luz church in Praia da Luz, the Portuguese resort town where they've been staying ever since their bubbly daughter Madeleine, 4, vanished from their vacation apartment while they dined with friends nearby on May 3. "Every day feels so hard without Madeleine," a shaking Kate McCann—clutching her daughter's favorite toy, her stuffed pink Cuddle Cat—said during the special prayer service Aug. 11. "We all miss her so much."

The faith of the McCanns, a devoutly Catholic family from Leicestershire, England, has been tested in the past 100 days, as the investigation into their daughter's disappearance has seemed to lead nowhere. But now, a possible break: British investigators, permitted by Portuguese authorities to re-examine the crime scene, used ultraviolet equipment to discover minute specks of blood on the wall of Madeleine's ground-floor bedroom at the Ocean Club resort. At press time the blood was still being analyzed, but the new evidence prompted Portuguese investigators to admit, for the first time, that Madeleine might be dead.

That news came on the heels of another jarring twist: unsubstantiated press reports that implied the McCanns might have had something to do with their daughter's disappearance. The McCanns, both 38-year-old physicians, had already been criticized for leaving Madeleine and their twins alone while they ate with friends at a tapas restaurant not far from their apartment. But then on Aug. 8, the Portuguese newspaper Diario de Noticias, a respected daily, ran a story claiming police had intercepted e-mails and phone calls between the McCanns and their friends that suggested Madeleine had not been kidnapped but rather had died in the apartment. Another story speculated the McCanns may have moved Madeleine's body in a rental car sometime in June (the couple's spokesman says police have already searched that car). "I know we are absolutely innocent," Gerry McCann said in an Aug. 10 interview. "I would ask people to continue to believe in us." Neither British nor Portuguese police have commented on the specific allegations in the press, though Portuguese Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa did announce on Aug. 11 that "the McCanns are not suspects in the case ... they are victims."

Still, there are questions about why the McCanns didn't hire a babysitter, rather than leave their young children unattended. "Every hour now I still question, 'Why did I think that was safe?'" Kate told reporters. "You don't expect a predator to break in and take your daughter out of bed."

And what about the only formal suspect in the case: British expatriate Robert Murat, who lived near the Ocean Club and helped translate for Portuguese police in the early days of the investigation—and who reportedly was spotted near the McCanns' apartment on May 3? (Police dug up Murat's garden on Aug. 4 but have said they don't have enough evidence to arrest him; Murat insists he is innocent.) Also, did Portuguese police hopelessly botch the investigation by not promptly alerting border officials, allowing the apartment to be rented out again and failing to properly question witnesses? And what does the discovery of blood traces in the apartment prove, if anything? "It could show the victim was violently assaulted," says British forensics expert Richard Leary, "but the blood could also have been there from the time the building was built."

For now, the McCanns will keep doing what they've been doing: hoping, searching, praying. They've vowed not to move back to England until Madeleine is found and have rented an apartment in Praia da Luz, ignoring pressure from Portuguese media to leave. "We're not going to be bullied into going home," said Kate.

Occasionally the twins will ask them about their big sister. On one recent trip, "there was an empty seat on the plane, and Sean said, 'That's Madeleine's seat,'" Kate told reporters. "Amelie asked me afterwards, 'Where's Madeleine?'" In their darkest moments, the McCanns admit they can barely stand not knowing the answer to that question. "This is the worst kind of limbo," Kate told the British weekly magazine Woman's Own. "In our heart of hearts, we'd both rather know—even if knowing means we have to face the terrible truth that Madeleine might be dead."
  • Contributors:
  • Sara Hammel/Switzerland,
  • Ellen Tumposky/London,
  • Wendy Grossman/Washington,
  • D.C..
 
MORE FROM THIS ARTICLE
 
Help Find Madeleine—and Other Missing Children
 
The McCanns teamed up with YouTube and the International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children to start a new site (www.youtube.com/dontyouforgetaboutme) featuring videos and photos of missing children. "The goal is to reach millions of people," says ICMEC President Ernie Allen, "and find the one person who knows something."

 
UPDATE: Mom Is a Suspect in Madeleine McCann's Disappearance, 07 September 2007
 
UPDATE: Mom Is a Suspect in Madeleine McCann's Disappearance People
 
By Ellen Tumposky
 
UPDATE Posted Friday September 07, 2007 03:45 PM EDT
Originally posted Friday September 07, 2007 09:00 AM EDT
 
The mother of missing child Madeleine McCann has been named a suspect in her daughter's disappearance and could be arrested, a family spokeswoman said Friday.
 
Kate McCann, 39, was named an official suspect in order to be asked 22 detailed questions by Portuguese police, the family spokeswoman, Justine McGuinness, told reporters.
 
"They have suggested that blood has been found in a car that they hired 25 days after Madeleine was taken," McGuinness said. "Anyone who knows Kate would say to make an allegation of this kind about her is just completely ludicrous."
 
McCann was questioned for 11 hours Thursday and returned to the police station in Portimao the next morning for further questioning. Gerry McCann, who, like his wife, is a doctor, was also to be questioned, and the couple continued to strenuously profess their innocence Friday.
 
Gerry McCann's sister, Philomena, told ITV news that Kate McCann has been offered a plea deal of two years or less in jail if she admits to accidentally poisoning the child, ABC News is reporting.
 
"They tried to get her to confess to having accidentally killed Madeleine by offering her a deal through her lawyer – 'if you say you killed Madeleine by accident and then hid her and disposed of the body, then we can guarantee you a two-year jail sentence or even less,' " the sister said.
 
The British family was on vacation when Madeleine, who would have turned 4 on May 12, went missing.
 
The focus on the parents came after forensic tests revealed traces of Madeleine's blood in a car they rented 25 days after Madeleine's disappearance in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3.
 
Her apparent abduction from the bedroom of the family's two-bedroom villa while her parents and friends dined at a nearby tapas bar sparked an international search including the creation of a YouTube channel for missing children.
 
McGuinness said "there is a fear" that Kate McCann might be arrested.
 
"They believe they have evidence to show that in some way she's involved in the death of her daughter, which of course is completely ludicrous," McGuinness told reporters. "Kate is a lovely mother to her children. She'd never hurt them."
 
Gerry McCann is also expected to be named a suspect, family friend Clarence Mitchell tells the Associated Press.

 
The Madeleine McCann Mystery, 24 September 2007
 
People cover, 24 September 2007
Click image to enlarge

The Madeleine McCann Mystery People
 
By Bill Hewitt
September 24, 2007 - Vol. 68, No. 13
 
Could Kate and Gerry McCann Have Had a Hand in Their Own Child's Disappearance? In a Shocking Twist, the Portuguese Police Now Consider Them Suspects

People, 24 September 2007

People, 24 September 2007

Click images to enlarge

For the past four months Gerry and Kate McCann repeatedly insisted on one thing: They would not be leaving Portugal without their daughter Madeleine, 3, who vanished on the night of May 3 from their rented holiday apartment. But by the early morning hours of Sept. 9 that brave front lay in ruins, as the McCanns, trailed by reporters, exited to England from the town Praia da Luz without their child—and suddenly and stunningly under suspicion that they might be responsible for her disappearance and death. To the couple and their many supporters around the world it was a turn of events that defied belief. "We're entirely innocent," Gerry told a British paper. "We thought we were in our worst nightmare, but now it just keeps getting worse and worse."

And far worse may be coming in the weeks and months ahead. Aside from formally naming the McCanns as suspects, Portuguese officials have declined to lay out their case. But now, according to numerous reports, they believe the McCanns may have sedated their daughter, that she died, perhaps accidentally, and that the British couple, both 39 and physicians, hid the body for weeks before disposing of it. Gerry McCann's sister Philomena told PEOPLE that in an extraordinary two days of interrogation, Portuguese investigators offered Kate a deal: Admit to killing your daughter and receive a sentence of no more than two years. Said Philomena: "They tried to get her to confess." According to police sources, the McCanns, who were free to leave the country as long as they promised to stay at their home in Rothley, England, could soon be formally charged in the death—a prospect that the couple insist is only diverting attention from the search for Madeleine. "It is ridiculous," said Kate of the cloud of suspicion. As Gerry's brother John McCann told PEOPLE, "It doesn't stack up. I'm trying to be calm but inside I'm seething."

Certainly the McCanns make an unlikely pair of suspects. Married for nine years, they met when both were working at a hospital in Glasgow. Says Philomena: "After a night out Gerry returned home and told us he had met the girl of his dreams." Gerry went on to become a respected cardiologist, and Kate, who had wanted to become a doctor since she was a teen, a general practitioner. After years of struggling to conceive they used fertility treatment to give birth to Madeleine. Just over a year later they had twins Sean and Amelie. Their home in Rothley, in Leicestershire, is comfortable but hardly extravagant. Both are fitness buffs who enjoy socializing. "They have many friends," says Kate's father, Brian Healy, "but their main thing is their family."

That family is now at the center of their anguish. From the start the case has been fraught with puzzling or contradictory scraps of evidence. Perhaps the key element appears to be the car, a Renault Scenic, that the McCanns rented 25 days after Maddy's disappearance. When Portuguese investigators initially searched the vehicle in early August, they evidently found no clues. But when British police, who have been assisting on the case, brought in sniffer dogs, they discovered DNA linked to Madeleine under the floor mat in the trunk. It is unclear what that DNA evidence is—whether blood, some other body fluids or, as a report in the Daily Mail on Sept. 12 had it, a large sample of Madeleine's hair. There have also been conflicting accounts of how closely any of the samples can be matched to Madeleine.

If the DNA is in fact blood, and it came from the missing girl, it could provide damning evidence that her body was placed there. But there are also major difficulties for prosecutors with that scenario. Experts say that generally—though not always—blood needs to be fresh in order to be transferred to another surface. But the McCanns didn't have the car until long after Madeleine disappeared. Not only that, as McCann supporters point out: How could the McCanns have managed to hide the body for nearly a month and then get rid of it—all while being under almost nonstop scrutiny from police and the press. "Even if they had the emotional capacity to do it, if you look at the time line, they could not have physically done it," says Gerry's brother John. Some prominent forensic experts in the U.S. agree. "Where in a hotel can you hide a child's body for 25 days?" says noted forensic pathologist Michael Baden. "And remember, a body, especially in a warm place like Portugal, would rapidly decompose."

Cadaver-sniffing dogs brought in by investigators, however, reportedly responded to Kate's clothing, then became agitated when they were given the scent of the McCanns' car key fob. During 16 hours of police questioning over two days, says Philomena McCann, "Kate was repeatedly shown the sniffer dog video." Kate McCann reportedly explained to police that, as a GP, she came in contact with six bodies shortly before leaving for Portugal. As a senior Scotland Yard investigator points out, cadaver dogs can't tell one corpse from another and have little value in tying a suspect to a specific body. "Dogs can sniff out death," he says. "However, you can't ask a dog to stand up in court and give evidence."

On the night in question, the sixth of their weeklong holiday, the McCanns say that they and three other couples and another woman went out for dinner around 8:30 p.m. at a restaurant approximately 100 yards—across a pool area—from the apartment they had rented for about $4,600 including transportation. Their rooms at the family-friendly resort, which resembles a development of beachside townhouses, were on the ground floor. There they had left their three children, Madeleine, whose birthday was nine days after her disappearance, and the twins. Despite the fact that the resort offered babysitting in a child-care center or in-room sitting for a fee for guests dining at the restaurant, the McCanns elected to leave the children asleep, but unattended, and check on them every half hour or so, evidently because Kate preferred not to leave them with strangers. But according to Portuguese news reports, an upstairs neighbor, Pamela Fenn, told police that the McCanns had not looked in that frequently. Fenn also told investigators that when the McCanns had discovered Madeleine missing about 10:15 p.m. she had offered to call police. She contends Kate told her the call had already been made, when it appears that police were summoned 40 minutes after that conversation took place. What's more, witnesses said that Kate's initial cry was "They've taken her!"—which some commentators have suggested represents a bizarrely hasty conclusion.

While parsing the words of a mother whose child has gone missing may be unfair, there were other wrinkles as well. The McCanns and their seven friends said they consumed four bottles of wine, leaving two others virtually untouched. But police reportedly have receipts showing that the group actually paid for 14 bottles of wine over the course of the afternoon and evening. In any event, the McCanns' friends have said that neither Kate nor Gerry seemed the least bit agitated during the dinner.

Questions of credibility abound on all sides. One Portuguese newspaper reported that police insist that Gerry acknowledged during his interrogation that he sedated his children on the night in question, for reasons that were not made clear. Kate was also questioned about administering a sedative. Friends told PEOPLE that if they ever did administer a sedative, it would be something mild like Calpol, a syrupy equivalent to children's Tylenol given to kids for colds and minor fevers. According to some press accounts, Kate declined to answer a substantial number of questions during her interrogation session, but a source close to the family dismissed the notion she was trying to hide anything. "Their Portuguese lawyer was saying there were certain questions they shouldn't answer," says the source, "either because they were not in a position to, or because it was the same question being asked in different ways." According to the source, the investigators simply appeared to be trying to rattle the couple in hopes of shaking loose a confession. "There were some things they said—'We have evidence of this or that'—which they didn't produce," he says. "There was a strong suspicion of an element of bluff about it."

The McCann camp believes that the local authorities are railroading the couple because their investigation is stalled and they are under intense pressure to show progress in a case that has become an object of worldwide attention. But Paul Luckman, a British expatriate who has lived in Portugal for 34 years and is the publisher of Portugal News, an English-language newspaper, argues that local authorities have far more effective means for defusing the bad publicity if that were their only intent. "The best way to make this case go away quietly was to let the McCanns go and let the case quietly, gently die," he says. "Say how sorry we are and wrap it up."

Still, there has been considerable criticism in the British press over the Portuguese handling of the case, with some newspapers slamming the police for not securing the McCanns' room as a crime scene from the moment that Madeleine vanished. But even the Scotland Yard official contends that is probably too harsh. "If Madeleine had just wandered off, which is what the general feeling was at first, there would be no need to seal the scene," he says. "Most people would think it over-the-top if you locked down the resort at that point." At the same time, though, there is widespread agreement that allowing Kate to walk around with Madeleine's special stuffed animal, Cuddle Cat, for weeks after the child's disappearance, and then wash it, destroyed any possibility of recovering DNA from the toy—potential evidence that conceivably could have been important.

Another key question, especially for those who know Kate and Gerry: Are the McCanns capable of killing their daughter, and if so, why would they do it? Forensic expert Baden points out that while parents are frequently the culprits when children are murdered, the circumstances are generally quite different in those cases. "That's where parents either don't want a baby or are drug addicts or teens," he says—a sharp contrast to the McCanns, who went through fertility treatments to conceive Madeleine as well as the twins. "It took them a long time to make their family," says friend Jon Corner, who is Amelie's godfather. "They were desperate to be parents, and when Madeleine came along, they were walking on air." Kate herself told one paper, "There she was, perfect. She was lovely, she had the most beautiful face. It made it even more special that she was a girl."

Susan Hubbard, the wife of the Anglican vicar in Praia da Luz, who got to know the McCanns as the tragedy unfolded, finds the notion that they could ever harm their children absurd. "They are the most unbelievably attentive parents," says Hubbard. "They slather up their kids with sunscreen—they practically have a sunscreen suit. They say, 'No, you can't have that, eat the fruit.' There's no doubt in my mind that they had nothing to do with this."

She adds that as their ordeal unfolded in Portugal, the McCanns tried to keep things as normal as possible for the twins, taking them swimming or to the zoo whenever they could. According to Philomena McCann, the couple had become concerned that their legal plight might prompt Portuguese officials to remove the twins from their care if they stayed in the country. "One of the main reasons for leaving Portugal was to protect Sean and Amelie from their social services," she says.

Where the legal case goes from here is unclear. They have publicly lamented that they have not been able to use any of the $2 million from Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned to pay their mounting legal expenses, though they have used it to pay some of their travel expenses in Europe. The McCanns have said that if charged they will return to Portugal. But their supporters are convinced that will only torment an already anguished family—and, more to the point, do nothing to solve the mystery of Madeleine. "It is so patently wrong," says Jon Corner. "It's heading down the cul-de-sac of nonsense and tragedy." Nearly everyone would agree he's at least half right.

  • Contributors:
  • Courtney Rubin/Praia da Luz,
  • Ellen Tumposky/Praia da Luz,
  • Sara Hammel/Portimão,
  • Portugal,
  • Pete Norman/London,
  • Simon Perry/London,
  • Dimi Gaidatzi/Liverpool,
  • Karla Adam,
  • Shelley Akers/Rothley,
  • Nicole Weisensee Egan/Philadelphia.
 
MORE FROM THIS ARTICLE
 
The Crucial Four Hours
 
INVESTIGATORS BELIEVE THEY KNOW WHAT HAPPENED ON May 3—BUT WHICH THEORY DOES THE TIME LINE SUPPORT?
 
MAY 3, 2007
 
6PM Staff report seeing Madeleine playing in the Ocean Club's child-care center—the last time anyone other than the McCanns are known to have seen her
 
8:30PM Gerry and Kate McCann say they left Madeleine and their twins alone in a bedroom of their apartment and joined seven friends at the resort's tapas restaurant 100 yards away. The restaurant is a brisk two-minute walk from the apartment, separated from it by a large pool. The window Madeleine's parents say she disappeared from is not visible, nor can one hear above the noise of traffic. A police report said the eight friends drank 14 bottles of wine between them, but the McCanns have denied this
 
9PM Some of the friends reportedly tell police the McCanns didn't actually arrive until a half hour later
 
9:05PM Gerry McCann says he checked on Madeleine and found her in bed
 
9:15PM One of the McCanns' friends, Jane Tanner, told police she went to check on her own children and saw a man carrying a bundled child near the McCanns' apartment
 
9:30PM Another friend, Matthew Oldfield, says he checked the McCanns' apartment but not the bedroom
 
10PM Kate McCann says she checked the apartment and found a shutter ajar and the bedroom window open—but no Madeleine. According to witnesses, she screamed, "They've taken her"
 
10:15PM Kate McCann says that after a quick search she alerted police. According to other reports, though, McCann called police later than 10:15—and after telling a neighbor that she had already called them
 
11:10PM Portuguese police arrive at the scene
 
Theories of the Case
 
ABDUCTION Kate McCann tells police she found Madeleine's Cuddle Cat toy on a high shelf only an adult could reach, suggesting an intruder kidnapped her. But police find no signs of forced entry and no evidence Madeleine was abducted.
 
ACCIDENTAL DEATH According to McCann family sources, police suggest Madeleine died accidentally after the McCanns sedated her so they could go to dinner; they also believe the panicked McCanns then covered up the death. One Portuguese paper reported Gerry McCann admitted to giving his kids sedatives on May 3; in other reports the McCanns denied ever giving their children anything stronger than Calpol, a common British painkiller. Another source close to the McCanns insisted, "They did not give the children sedatives that night.''
 
"HYSTERICAL" MOTHER Portuguese newspapers, quoting police sources, portray Kate McCann as mentally unbalanced, saying she is prone to "hysterical reactions" and "moments of aggressiveness towards her children"—and suggesting she may have killed Madeleine. One neighbor at the resort tells police she heard Madeleine's "screams calling for her daddy" in the days before Maddy vanished.
 
The Case So Far
 
THE CUDDLE CAT Is Madeleine's favorite toy, which Kate McCann keeps with her, the source of the DNA found in the McCanns' rental car? And why did Kate wash it four days after cops searched the car? (She said it was dirty.)
 
THE CRIME SCENE Portuguese forensic teams (above) originally found no blood in the McCanns' apartment, but British searchers later discovered blood traces that may have come from Madeleine. Forensic experts have cast doubt on the reliability of those samples.
 
THE RENTAL CAR Press reports say Portuguese police found significant samples of Madeleine's hair, and DNA that matched hers, in the Renault Scenic rented by the McCanns 25 days after Madeleine disappeared. They drove that car till the day they left Praia da Luz.
 
THE FIRST SUSPECT Witnesses tell police that Robert Murat, 33, a British property consultant who lives near the Ocean Club, seemed too eager to help in the investigation. Others reported seeing him near the McCanns' apartment May 3. Murat insists he is innocent.
 
The Law in Portugal: How It Works
 
What is an arguido? An arguido (formal suspect) in Portugal means a person is under suspicion but has yet to be charged with any crime. Police can question the arguido more pointedly than a witness, but he or she has the right to refuse to answer or have an attorney present.
 
Will the McCanns be charged? Apparently Portuguese authorities believe they have evidence that links the McCanns to their daughter's disappearance. Ultimately prosecutors decide whether to bring charges. Possibilities include charging one or both of the couple with intentional or nonintentional homicide, essentially the difference between premeditated murder and manslaughter.
 
Will the McCanns be allowed to stay in Britain? If the McCanns are charged with intentional homicide, the prosecution could ask them to return immediately to Portugal. Otherwise the couple may remain in Britain until their trial, which would most likely be heard by a judge or a panel of judges. No matter what, like all other criminal defendants in Portugal, they will be considered innocent until proven guilty.
 
Their Friends That Fateful Night
 
The night Madeleine disappeared, the McCanns met seven friends for dinner: Dr. Russell O'Brien (pictured below), 36, and his partner Jane Tanner, 36, who live in Exeter; Dr. Matthew Oldfield, 37, who worked with Gerry McCann in a Leicester hospital, and his wife, Rachael, 36, a recruitment consultant (far left); Dr. Fiona Payne (center), 34, her mother, Dianne Webster and Dr. Payne's husband, David, 41, a senior research fellow in cardiovascular sciences at University of Leicester. "We are really disappointed by these accusations," David Payne told PEOPLE. "Madeleine is still out there, and she needs to be found."
 
Madeleine's $2.1 Million
 
Madeleine's Fund: Leaving No Stone Unturned, established by her parents, has collected some $2.1 million in private donations. So far, the McCanns have used only about $132,000 for posters, T-shirts and travel expenses, but now the fund's board of directors—one of whom is Gerry McCann's brother—will have to approve their request to use the money to aid their defense.

 
The Madeleine McCann Mystery: Keeping a Brave Face, 01 October 2007
 

The Madeleine McCann Mystery: Keeping a Brave Face People
 
By Bill Hewitt
October 01, 2007 - Vol. 68, No. 14
 
As Portuguese Authorities Ponder Their Next Step, Gerry and Kate McCann Proclaim Their Innocence and Focus on Finding Their Missing Daughter 

People, 01 October 2007

People, 01 October 2007

Click images to enlarge

Emerging from Sunday Mass near her home in Rothley, England, on Sept. 16, Kate McCann flashed a fleeting smile, one of her first since daughter Madeleine, 4, went missing in Portugal in May. "They must have been nervous coming to church," says Father Keith Tomlinson of Kate and husband Gerry, who attended with twins Amelie and Sean, 2. "But they sang, they did the responses." Added Gerry after the service: "It was very comforting to be among friends and family praying for Madeleine today." But there was no mistaking the anguish that haunts the couple. In her tote, Kate carried Cuddle Cat, Madeleine's favorite stuffed toy, which has become a totem of the family's ordeal—a heartbreaking reminder of their missing child and of the surreal turn of events a week earlier in which the McCanns, both 39 and physicians, were named suspects in her disappearance.

Through it all, they've drawn strength from friends and family who have spoken out on their behalf—and let them know they're not alone. "They're amazingly strong; they're very together," says Linda McQueen, Sean's godmother. "They have their vulnerable moments, and their dark moments probably as well, but with us friends and very close family, it's a group holding each other together." That protective network has helped the couple resume the semblance of a normal life. "When they're not running around or in meetings," says Gerry's sister Philomena McCann, "they spend their time with each other and the twins." Beyond their inner circle, the McCanns continue to get support from Britain's A-list: mogul Sir Richard Branson just announced he was donating $200,000 to help cover their mounting legal bills.

Back in Portugal, a judge was reviewing 10 volumes of evidence, and was expected to get back to prosecutors with further instructions, possibly authorizing more searches or additional questioning of the McCanns in England. The dearth of new developments in the police case, however, did nothing to stop the continuing swirl of innuendo and criticism in the European press. "What happened to the facts?" says Gerry's brother John McCann. One of the latest press bombshells came in a report in a French newspaper, France Soir, which contended there was evidence Madeleine had swallowed "a large" dose of sleeping pills. The paper based the report on what it said was an analysis of liquid found in the trunk of the car rented by the McCanns 25 days after Madeleine went missing. But over the past month the material supposedly found in the trunk has been variously described as blood, fluid or hair—with still no confirmation that anything at all was discovered.

Indeed the Portuguese press has been merciless in its coverage of Kate. One paper said it would have been "immoral" if the McCanns had used donated sperm in their fertility treatment to conceive Madeleine. (Speaking to Flash! magazine Kate said, "The only thing I've ever been certain of in life is I've wanted to be a mum," adding that the first six months of Madeleine's life, when she had colic, were "very difficult.")

But now a backlash against the harsh coverage seems to be building. One spokesman for the Portuguese authorities reportedly resigned in protest over leaks from the police to the press. And Pamela Fenn, an elderly neighbor of the McCanns in Portugal, who was quoted in the press questioning the couple's conduct, tells PEOPLE, "Everything being written about me is rubbish."

For the McCann camp, a more measured approach cannot come soon enough. And now they must wait for a break in a case that could come at any time—if it comes at all. As Philomena McCann puts it, with all the suspicions the problem now is that "Kate and Gerry are on the front page and not Madeleine. It's all about them, which is not what they want."

  • Contributors:
  • Ellen Tumposky/Rothley,
  • Pete Norman/London,
  • Courtney Rubin/London,
  • Sara Hammel/Switzerland.

 
Desperate Days: The Madeleine McCann Mystery, 15 October 2007
 

People cover, 15 October 2007
Click image to enlarge

Desperate Days: The Madeleine McCann Mystery People
 
By Bill Hewitt
October 15, 2007 - Vol. 68, No. 16
 
A Behind-the-Scenes Look at the Tragedy: the McCanns' Battle to Keep the Search for Their Missing Daughter in the Public Eye, the Truth and Rumors Surrounding the Case—and New Insight into Kate McCann

People, 15 October 2007

People, 15 October 2007

Click images to enlarge

Taking your kids to nursery school isn't supposed to be a heartbreaking experience. But heartbreak is exactly what Kate and Gerry McCann found on Sept. 19, when they enrolled twins Sean and Amelie, 2, in their local day care facility, the same one daughter Madeleine attended before she disappeared in Portugal in May. "It was very emotional and distressing for them," says Gerry's sister Philomena McCann.

At home, they find a bit of respite, surrounded by the happy chaos of the children playing and the constant stream of friends who have pitched in to run errands and help with chores. The McCanns talk to their kids about their big sister often, in an effort to keep her alive at least in their minds. Madeleine's photos are everywhere in the house, as are her toys. "Kate and I have told them we don't know where she is," wrote Gerry on his blog, "but lots of people are looking for her and we hope they will find her."

Meanwhile, the agonizing journey of Kate and Gerry McCann, both 39, from the largely anonymous life of respected doctors to international symbols of the perils of parenthood, is entering a critical phase of its own. Still suspects in their 3-year-old daughter's disappearance, with photographers camped out nearby, the couple continue to deny any crime—and they are fighting to keep the focus on what they insist is the most important thing: finding their little girl. They are prepared to take lie detector tests, but polygraphs are not used in Portuguese courts. They will not comment on reports that they have hired their own investigators, but with the help of donations of more than $2 million, they will be launching a massive advertising campaign in Portugal and southern Spain, including remote areas, featuring billboards and newspaper ads with Madeleine's picture. As supporters of the McCanns tell it, the initiative offers the couple some badly needed reason for optimism. But there is no denying the toll already taken on their spirits by the seeming lack of progress in the case. "Some days are better than others," says the family's public relations representative Clarence Mitchell. "It is exceedingly hard and getting harder."

Certainly the crises and false leads of the past five months have worn them down. Despite numerous sightings around the world of children resembling Madeleine, including one in Morocco where a tourist's snapshot of a blonde-haired youngster triggered a media frenzy on Sept. 26, none have panned out. Though Portuguese authorities named the McCanns as official suspects on Sept. 7, a judge recently ruled there was no evidence that warranted further questioning of them. But that has not stopped the Portuguese press from continuing to flay the couple, with each day seeming to bring some new allegation or innuendo (see box, right). One recent unsubstantiated scenario: that Madeleine was killed as the result of an accidental fall down a flight of stairs at the resort in Praia da Luz where the family was staying and that Kate and Gerry then hid the body. As one source confidently told the paper 24 Horas, "The only thing to investigate is how the body disappeared."

Perhaps Kate McCann makes an easy target. Whether the McCanns are ever charged with a crime remains to be seen, but to observers, the couple are at the very least guilty of questionable judgment for leaving three small children on more than one occasion unattended while they went out for dinner with a gang of friends now referred to in the press as the "Tapas 9." Nor has it helped that in her public appearances Kate has at times appeared chilly or emotionless. "Kate comes across as being cold," acknowledges one acquaintance in Portugal.

But there is more to her steely demeanor than meets the eye. For one thing, in the early days of the investigation British profilers told the couple to remain calm when discussing the case in front of the television cameras. The reason: Madeleine's abductor might become excited by seeing them suffer—which could conceivably put the child in greater danger. "They were advised very early on that pedophiles get a kick out of seeing completely distressed parents," says family friend Jon Corner.

The other fact, say friends, is that she is not someone who feels comfortable in the limelight. Kate Healy, the only child in a Catholic working-class family in Liverpool, grew up somewhat shy and studious. She excelled at school and entered the medical program at the University of Dundee in Scotland. And yet for all her accomplishments she harbored self-doubts. "Kate has always been a quiet, sensitive person," says Linda McQueen, a longtime family friend from Liverpool. "She's not overly confident, despite her intelligence and good looks."

During medical school she did come out of her shell a bit. According to her yearbook, she was known as "Hot Lips Healy" and had a reputation for enthusiastic partying on Friday nights. She met her future husband while both were doctors in training at an infirmary in Glasgow. A year later she left to do a stint at a hospital in Wellington, New Zealand. Gerry had already been scheduled to continue his training in Canada, but at the last minute he got himself switched to New Zealand as well. As he quickly made clear, while his duties were medical, his intentions were romantic. "He told us he'd come for her, to woo her, really," Ian Gearey, a friend there, told a local New Zealand paper. "He won her heart." They returned home and in December 1998 were married in Liverpool. In 2000 they moved to the Leicestershire area, where Gerry had landed a job as a cardiologist. Though Kate was qualified as an anesthesiologist, she chose instead to work as a general practitioner, believing it would give her more flexibility when she had children.

But fertility problems put a crimp in that plan. "Being an only child, she always wanted a big family, lots of children," says McQueen. "Unfortunately, it didn't happen." The couple had to fall back on fertility treatments that entailed, says McQueen, "all the traumas you go through, all the ups and downs." With the help of in vitro fertilization, Madeleine was born on May 12, 2003. "If you look at what it takes to be a doctor and go through IVF, she must have some steel inside her," says Corner.

If so, say those who have met her, it does not appear to be the cold or inflexible variety. One British expatriate living in Praia da Luz who got to know the McCanns well says the image of Kate as an ice queen is all wrong. "She's a very warm, very kind person," says the source. "When local people would speak with her she'd always hug them." As for her handling of Sean and Amelie, the source found Kate to be a doting mother. "They would sit on her knee and she would read them stories," she says. "They were always huggy and she always put the kids first."

The same pattern seems to have continued back in Britain, where she and Gerry have endured much unwelcome attention just so Sean and Amelie can enjoy some of the simple pleasures of childhood. "They took the children to buy shoes a week ago and they were followed and people were staring at them," says Philomena McCann. "It's very difficult." McQueen says that during her recent visit to the McCann home she saw how the couple try to balance the needs of Sean and Amelie with their own emotional state. "If the twins showed an interest in going into Madeleine's room, then Kate or Gerry would take them in for a couple of minutes," she says, though the door is normally kept closed. "They want to keep things in place for Madeleine when she comes home."

At the same time, the McCanns have been deeply touched by the gestures of support they have received from around the world. For instance, many of the teams in Britain's Premier soccer league have showed up for games wearing T-shirts emblazoned with Madeleine's image; jockeys at Ascot racetrack did the same. As Gerry wrote on his blog, "The fact that so many people are prepared to show solidarity with us in our search for our daughter does help restore our faith in humanity."

As for the reports that the McCanns have hired private investigators to carry out their own search, much of the talk has focused on Morocco. "We feel it is as valid a place for looking for Madeleine as anywhere else," says Mitchell, without confirming anything. "Suffice to say, Kate and Gerry will leave no stone unturned in their search for Madeleine." Mitchell adds that one thing the family has not done is hire any investigators in Portugal, which would be illegal in that country because there is an ongoing official investigation.

Ironically, the couple have seized upon the dearth of clues as grounds for encouragement, however faint. "As the massive investigation and extensive search did not find any evidence of serious harm to Madeleine," Gerry wrote on his blog, "we started to hope she would be found alive." Those in their camp say they still cling tenaciously to that hope. Walking home from church this past Sunday, Sean and Amelie scooting on ahead of them playfully, the McCanns put their arms around each other's waist. Then Kate could be seen rubbing Gerry's back, as if consoling him. How much it helped in these darkest hours, perhaps even they could not say.

  • Contributors:
  • Pete Norman/Praia da Luz,
  • Sara Hammel/Praia da Luz,
  • Ellen Tumposky/Rothley,
  • Shelley Akers/Rothley,
  • Simon Perry/London,
  • Dimi Gaidatzi/Liverpool.
 
MORE FROM THIS ARTICLE
 
The Case So Far: a Mix of Rumors and Reality
 
Madeleine McCann
 
RUMOR: Madeleine was spotted in Morocco.
 
RESPONSE: The little blonde girl featured in the photo (at right) taken by a Spanish tourist proved to be the daughter of an olive farmer in Morocco. Authorities continue to investigate other possible sightings in the country while the McCanns plan to launch a new TV and print campaign in remote parts of Spain and Portugal.
 
RUMOR: DNA evidence indicates Madeleine's body was in the McCanns' rental car, which was first hired 25 days after she disappeared.
 
RESPONSE: After initial press suggested hair and body fluids in the couple's Renault were definite matches with Madeleine, Portuguese police now say the evidence is far less conclusive. The McCanns say DNA traces may have come from Madeleine's unwashed pajamas when the family moved belongings into a new apartment.
 
RUMOR: In retaliation for being fired, a maid at the Portuguese resort snatched Madeleine.
 
RESPONSE: Police in the U.K. are investigating an e-mail sent to Prince Charles's Web site claiming an ex-employee kidnapped the child, according to News of the World. The tabloid, quoting a police source, says the e-mail is "incredibly detailed" and "significant."
 
RUMOR: Kate McCann's diary proves she couldn't cope with a hyperactive child.
 
RESPONSE: Portuguese press say that Kate complained of Madeleine's "excess activity" in a spiral notebook. Though Kate kept a journal, it is not clear what she wrote about. Gerry McCann has described his daughter as "Normal, vivacious"; family friend Linda McQueen says, "I've never, ever seen Kate run ragged in her life."
 
RUMOR: Madeleine died after falling down stairs outside the Portuguese villa.
 
RESPONSE: A Portuguese paper reported this alleged leak from high-ranking police officials. Although two British cadaver sniffing dogs reacted positively to Kate McCann's clothing, no forensic evidence from the stairs has emerged. "They are theories and nothing more," says the McCann spokesman.
 
RUMOR: The McCanns drove to Spain to dump their daughter's body.
 
RESPONSE: Portuguese cops, say local newspapers, are studying video footage of the couple's trip to Huelva, Spain, on Aug. 3, on the theory that they were looking for a place to dispose of Madeleine's body. A McCann spokesman insists the journey was designed to keep their daughter's face in the public eye. "It was conducted in the full glare of journalists," he says. "Gerry and Kate are innocent. They have nothing to hide."

 
Still No Sign of Madeleine, 28 April 2008
 
Still No Sign of Madeleine People
 
By Alex Tresniowski
April 28, 2008 Vol 69 No. 16
 
One Year After Young Madeleine McCann Vanished, Her Parents Are Shaken by New Twists—but Still Hope to Find Her
 
On the morning of their last day together, Kate McCann was having breakfast with twins Sean and Amelie, age 2, and 3-year-old Madeleine. "Mummy," Madeleine suddenly asked, "why didn't you come when we were crying last night?" The question struck Kate as odd, she would later tell police. Yes, she and husband Gerry had left their rented vacation apartment in Portugal, but they had checked on the children frequently. And a neighbor had been home the whole night and heard nothing. Still, Kate and Gerry talked it over, and "we decided to watch over the children more carefully at night." Just hours later, Madeleine was gone.
 
This May 3 it will be one year since Madeleine vanished from her bedroom as her parents dined at a tapas restaurant a hundred yards away. Since then, an investigation has yielded plenty of twists but precious few answers. "We want Madeleine back, and we continue to feel hopeful because there's no evidence of any harm being done to her," says her uncle John McCann. "But we need a lucky break."
 
For Kate and Gerry McCann, who were first cast as victims and then named suspects before being seen as victims again, it has been a year of roller-coaster emotions. Most recently, on April 10, leaked documents revealed details of their first interviews with investigators soon after Kate discovered Madeleine was missing. The interviews—which the McCann camp claims were intentionally leaked by the Portuguese police to make the couple look negligent—include Kate's recollection of Madeleine's troubling question that morning. But the McCanns believe their daughter's anxiety suggests an intruder may have cased her bedroom one night before snatching her.
 
The conduct of the Portuguese police throughout has been controversial. Last summer, rumors surfaced that forensic evidence implicating the McCanns had been found in the trunk of a car they rented weeks after Madeleine disappeared. In September police named them official suspects. But investigators never revealed the results of any forensic tests, and on Feb. 3 Alipio Ribeiro, Portugal's chief of police, admitted to "a certain hastiness" in pointing the finger at the McCanns. The damning forensic evidence "doesn't exist," says the family's spokesman, Clarence Mitchell. "Madeleine was never put in their car. The police do not have a case."
 
Some British tabloids were equally distrusting of the McCanns, running dozens of stories suggesting they were guilty. But the McCanns won a libel judgment against the Daily Express and the Daily Star, which were forced to fork over more than a million dollars and run a front-page apology on March 19. "We acknowledge that there is no evidence whatsoever to support this theory," the Express declared, "and that Kate and Gerry are completely innocent of any involvement in their daughter's disappearance."
 
A victory, yes, but hardly a comforting one for the McCanns. With money raised through the family's not-for-profit Find Madeleine fund, they continue to pay private detectives to search for their daughter. They are encouraged by findings that show younger abducted children are less likely to be harmed than older ones. "We will not give up hope," Gerry McCann, who with Kate has been lobbying lawmakers for a European version of the U.S. Amber Alert system, recently said on their Web site. "Someone somewhere knows where Madeleine is." Back home in Leicestershire, England, the couple are "trying to give Sean and Amelie as normal a time as possible," says Mitchell. "The children know Madeleine is not there, but the family still talks about her and says that everyone is looking for her. But it's not a normal family life at all. It will never be normal until Madeleine comes back."
  • Contributors:
  • Sara Hammel/London,
  • Dimi Gaidatzi/London,
  • Simon Perry/London.
 
MORE FROM THIS ARTICLE
 
The McCann Case Timeline
 
• MAY 3, 2007 Kate McCann finds Madeleine is missing from their vacation apartment in Praia da Luz.
 
• MAY 5 Police question Robert Murat, who lives near the crime scene, and name him a suspect. He is now suing 11 British papers and a TV station for libel.
 
• AUG. 6 An unsubstantiated newspaper report says sniffer dogs found blood in the McCanns' vacation apartment. They are soon named suspects.
 
• JAN. 20, 2008 The McCanns release a sketch of a man they say might have taken Madeleine. He has yet to be found.
 
• APRIL 2008 Police reinterview the seven friends who dined with the McCanns on May 3. Leaks suggest the interviews produced no new clues.
 
A Cruel Kidnapping Hoax?
 
When 9-year-old Shannon Matthews went missing on the way home from a school trip Feb. 19, British tabs ran stories calling her the next Madeleine McCann. But on March 24, after massive police manhunts in West Yorkshire, Shannon was found—cramped but alive—in the base of a bed in the nearby home of her stepfather's uncle Michael Donovan, 39. Less than a month later, police arrested Shannon's own mother, Karen Matthews, 32, in connection with her daughter's abduction (she was charged with perverting the course of justice and child neglect). The motive? It's possible Matthews hoped to coax some cash out of the McCanns and their Find Madeleine fund to help locate Shannon. McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell confirms that someone claiming to be acting on behalf of the Matthews family contacted the McCanns asking for money. "We are aware of it, and we're looking into it," says a West Yorkshire police spokesman. The McCanns expressed relief Shannon was rescued. "Although the circumstances may be different," said Gerry McCann, "finding Shannon alive does give Kate and me renewed optimism."

 
Cleared, 04 August 2008
 
Cleared People
 
By Alex Tresniowski
August 04, 2008 Vol 70 No. 5
 
Portuguese Police Call Off the Search for Young Madeleine, but Her Parents—No Longer Suspects—Aren't Giving Up
 
Gerry McCann was at work when it happened; his wife, Kate, was at their home in Rothley, England, taking care of their 3-year-old twins, Sean and Amelie. By then they already knew that the big announcement on July 21—billed by Portugal's attorney general as a "solution" to the disappearance of the McCanns' daughter Madeleine 14 months earlier—would be considerably less than that. The case "has been archived," said Att. Gen. Fernando Jose Pinto Monteiro, "as no proof that any crime has been committed by the arguidos [suspects] has been obtained."
 
In giving up the search for Madeleine, Portuguese officials also cleared the McCanns as suspects—after months of making them the focus of the investigation. Being named suspects "has been devastating," an emotional Kate McCann, 40, said in a July 21 press conference. "It has had a very negative effect on the search for Madeleine."
 
The pretty, boisterous girl was just days away from her fourth birthday when, on May 3, 2007, she vanished from her family's holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, as her parents dined with friends at a nearby tapas bar. Despite rumors of DNA evidence linking the McCanns to the crime, Portuguese police apparently had no solid leads or evidence. Now that they are cleared, the McCanns can examine all of the police files kept from them when they were suspects, so that they can keep searching for Madeleine. "We want ... to see what still can be done," said Gerry, 40, a cardiologist. Added Kate, a doctor who has yet to go back to work: "We can assure you we will never give up on Madeleine."
  • Contributors:
  • Pete Norman/London.
 
MORE FROM THIS ARTICLE
 
The McCann Case Timeline
 
• MAY 3, 2007 Kate McCann finds Madeleine is missing from their vacation apartment in Praia da Luz.
 
• MAY 5 Police question Robert Murat, who lives near the crime scene, and name him a suspect. He is now suing 11 British papers and a TV station for libel.
 
• AUG. 6 An unsubstantiated newspaper report says sniffer dogs found blood in the McCanns' vacation apartment. They are soon named suspects.
 
• JAN. 20, 2008 The McCanns release a sketch of a man they say might have taken Madeleine. He has yet to be found.
 
• APRIL 2008 Police reinterview the seven friends who dined with the McCanns on May 3. Leaks suggest the interviews produced no new clues.
 
A Cruel Kidnapping Hoax?
 
When 9-year-old Shannon Matthews went missing on the way home from a school trip Feb. 19, British tabs ran stories calling her the next Madeleine McCann. But on March 24, after massive police manhunts in West Yorkshire, Shannon was found—cramped but alive—in the base of a bed in the nearby home of her stepfather's uncle Michael Donovan, 39. Less than a month later, police arrested Shannon's own mother, Karen Matthews, 32, in connection with her daughter's abduction (she was charged with perverting the course of justice and child neglect). The motive? It's possible Matthews hoped to coax some cash out of the McCanns and their Find Madeleine fund to help locate Shannon. McCann spokesman Clarence Mitchell confirms that someone claiming to be acting on behalf of the Matthews family contacted the McCanns asking for money. "We are aware of it, and we're looking into it," says a West Yorkshire police spokesman. The McCanns expressed relief Shannon was rescued. "Although the circumstances may be different," said Gerry McCann, "finding Shannon alive does give Kate and me renewed optimism."