The interim report of Tavares Almeida of the Portuguese Police, 10 September 200
Interim report for the attention of the Criminal Investigation Coordinator
Madeleine Beth McCann was born on 12 May 2003. She has been missing since the 3rd of May 2007, an event that took place in Praia da Luz, near Lagos.
She is the daughter of Dr Gerald and Dr Kate McCann. Her birth was desired and planned. The mother’s difficulty in becoming pregnant should nevertheless be mentioned, as well as the resulting necessary treatments and its cost. She was born from ‘in vitro’ insemination, but the tracing of the child’s DNA shows that she is in fact the McCann couple’s daughter.
It is a scientific fact that the medical treatments to overcome some of the causes for the lack of pregnancy increase the likelihood of twins being born from a so-called normal pregnancy. In this case, we can see that a pregnancy, although desired and planned, turned a family of three into a family of five. Moreover, caring for one child is not the same as caring for three, all of tender age.
We began with an abduction scenario:
At around midnight on the 3 May 2007, following a telephone call between the GNR [local police force] in Lagos and this police station, we were informed of the disappearance of a child, an English citizen. We went there to carry out the necessary judicial investigation. Faced with the fact of the disappearance of a child, the investigation sketched out several possible scenarios.
The child’s parents immediately attributed her disappearance to the action of a third party, promoting the scenario that she had been abducted. Abduction was only one of a number of possible scenarios, but the family publicised their claim that Madeleine had been abducted in a manner that had never been seen before. On the very next day, English television stations led their broadcasts with the news of Madeleine’s disappearance. The media presented the abduction as the truth, although we were looking at other scenarios.
As time went by, the abduction scenario was not confirmed. The abduction hypothesis did not stand up. For instance, no ransom was ever demanded in exchange for information by the alleged kidnappers or for the child herself. Nevertheless, and considering the evidence of one of the McCanns’ friends, Jane Tanner, we continued examining the possibility that Madeleine had been abducted. This went alongside the gathering of all kinds of information, working on a number of other possible scenarios.
The McCanns worked on their account of events:
The information that was initially collected from family and friends was uncertain. In addition, the McCanns and their friends worked on their account of events in order to strengthen and defend their version of what had happened Madeleine. According to their story, they all went out to dine each evening and all left their children asleep in their apartments whilst they were dining. The group told us that they held a meeting during which they agreed certain procedures for continuous checking of the children while they dined. Our files include a manuscript by one of the group’s members that backs this claim.
The group’s programme for checking the children:
This claim that the group had a shared programme for regularly checking of their had the effect on English public opinion that the whole group was exonerated from any blame. Their claim meant that any abnormal event that might last longer than 30 minutes was impossible, as they all agreed that that was the interval between the checks. The group could not sustain the claim that there was checking ‘every 15 to 30 minutes’. In fact the contradictions between their statements made it easy to see that they were all lying.
One individual in the group, wanting to make the group’s version about the checking more consistent, gave it a personal touch, stating that the checks on the children were carried out in two ways: the first method being just to listen to see if anyone was crying, in which case silence meant that all was well, and the second method by actually entering the apartment to check. For example, one of the group, Dr Matthew Oldfield, did just that - listen to see if all was well - apparently telling Dr Kate McCann that all was well, with no further explanation. This is what Dr Kate McCann herself recalls.
The abduction claim was strongly maintained:
The fact is that the claim of abduction plus the claims of regular checking led the investigation to meander, and to waste time and resources. It is hard to understand how the abduction claim was presented at the beginning and was maintained so strongly. Anyone can see that persisting with the abduction scenario for so long harmed our investigation. Even after all this time, both the McCanns and their friends and the general public believe the claim of abduction, while the McCanns and their friends claim that all they want to do is ‘assist the investigation’. In order to move the investigation forward, we were forced to assume that much information given to us was incorrect.
If someone [Dr Matthew Oldfield] checked on the children at 9.30pm on 3 May and all was well, then Madeleine’s disappearance must have taken place between 9.30pm and 10.00pm. If we could not rely on [Dr Oldfield’s] information, then her disappearance would have taken place between 9.00pm and 10.00pm., widening the time period (presuming that the father speaks the truth).
But there is another question about the timing which is this: The last time that the child was seen outside of the group, by someone who can prove they saw her, was at around 5.35pm, when the parents went to pick her up at the crèche. This may widen the time lapse between Madeleine’s ‘disappearance’ and the alarm being raised into more than four hours.
The evidence of Jane Tanner:
Continuing with our analysis of information offered to us, one of the group’s members, Jane Tanner, apparently became an important witness, due to what she told us. She said she saw someone crossing the street at dinner time from the location of the McCanns’ apartment towards Robert Murat’s house. [He was later made an ‘arguido’ (suspect)]. This information directed and occupied our work for a long time. This may be an example of how information that is not correct may not only delay the investigation but could even have led to losing the little girl. Jane Tanner insisted on the truthfulness of her account. This led to certain scenarios being developed. But these scenarios were not sustained in reality despite long and intense work being carried out on that arguido [Murat].
There was a discrepancy [about the moment Jane Tanner allegedly saw an abductor] between the statements of Dr Gerald McCann and Jane Tanner. They claimed to have passed each other at only two or three metres’ distance [7 to 10 feet], yet failed to see each other. How could they position themselves as both being together in quite a confined space, yet both fail to see each other walking by; or, more correctly, one sees the other but the other doesn’t see her. Even the exact 0location where they supposedly crossed each other’s paths is not very well defined by both.
The precise moment when Jane Tanner chose to make her statement about what she had ‘seen’ and the explanation for choosing that moment, is unreal. That is to say: it is not easy to accept that any witness (from the group), on seeing someone with a child in their arms walking away from the McCanns’ apartment, didn’t act and speak immediately acted or spoken. The there is her description of the abductor being altered, or ‘perfected’. These reasons mean there is little credibilty in what she says.
Dr Gerald McCann:
Up to now we have been analysing relatively minor discrepancies in the information initially given to us - small ‘alterations’ of the truth. We had to relate these to our investigation and the direction it had been forced to take [i.e. pursuing the abduction claim]. The investigation didn’t follow the command or the will of anyone. But the information from the immediate family and their group of friend which is fundamental in investigating this type of crime was always distorted. And the fact that the individuals were foreigners hindered us in collecting direct information about the individuals in the group.
The parents of Madeleine live in a demanding sector of British society. Both parents are doctors. The father is a cardiovascular surgeon. These facts increase the degree of demands on them and their consequent tiredness. In a society that is identified internationally and in the media as being so demanding ,and with many and tight rules to conform to, it makes it obligatory that such people rest; take a retreat from their day-to-day professional lives, and take their holidays.
In many moments of Dr Gerald McCann’s professional career he had to make decisions in thousandths of a second. This gives him a certain coldness, and certainly causes increased tiredness. The enjoyment of a period of holidays presupposes a rest from one’s normal professional obligations and the freedom that comes from not having to carry out one’s daily work routines.
The social life in such a holiday, in this case, was facilitated by the fact that they travelled together as a group, but equally that social life may, in a certain way, be affected by the presence of and constant of the accompanying infant children. The impact of the infants on the social life of the group’s holidays was clear in their decision to place their children in the childrens centres and crèches available at the resort (according to their ages). The holiday time was not shared between parents and children.
The events of 3rd May:
Until around dinner time, Thursday 3 May had passed by for the group in the usual way. After fetching the children from the nursery and the crèche the McCanns went to their apartment, shortly after 5.35pm. But Dr Kate McCann went running for half-an-hour on the beach and then went to the apartment, while Dr Gerald McCann went to play tennis.
While the tennis match was taking place, another member of the group [Dr David Payne] visited the McCanns’ apartment whilst Dr Kate McCann was there. He was there for a period of 30 seconds, according to Dr Kate McCann, but 30 minutes according to Dr Payne, until Dr Gerald McCann showed up.
If it was 30 seconds, than all we can do is ask if everything is O.K. and if anything is needed - little more. But if we have 30 minutes available, then we can go ahead and do something [during that time] that may be asked of us.
The McCanns put their children to sleep at around 7.30pm. They remained in their apartment until around 8:30pm, going to the Tapas restaurant afterwards. They were the first to arrive out of all the group.
After the entire group was at the table and after the meal started, the checking on the children began, in a way that is neither coherent nor acceptable. We could not confirm how the checking occurred. The McCanns’ group of friends defended their account of events that evening.
Although they say in their statements that their strategic position in the Tapas restaurant allowed them, the McCanns, to see the apartment where they’d left their underage children asleep, the examination of that spot revealed their claim to be false. It must also be noted that according to our investigation, everything points to their position at the table being with their backs to the apartment.
That night, at around 10.05pm according to Dr Kate McCann, she went to the apartment to check the children, coinciding with the end of the dinner. So her return to the apartment was about 1½ hours after she came down to the Tapas restaurant for the mail. She didn’t see the children during this period.
She was away from the table for about 10 minutes. She then showed up back at the restaurant and told the other members of the group that Madeleine had disappeared.
Leaving the twins in a dangerous situation:
It must be noted that Dr Kate McCann knew that, going back to the restaurant as she did, she would leave the twins, Amelie and Sean, in the same dangerous situation. It is beyond comprehension why she didn’t use her mobile ’phone to call her husband or another member of the group or, even simpler, why she didn’t walk out on to the balcony and shout out from there, where she could easily be heard by the members of the group.
The media coverage:
The authorities, the local police force the GNR, were alerted at around 10:40pm. It was after this that the population of the village were alerted to Madeleine’s disappearance and began searching for her. But the facts surrounding her disappearance were not kept within the proper authorities and the normal channels. On the following day, British and Portuguese televisions were already broadcasting the news [as the top item in their bulletins].
The McCanns’ group of friends gathered in the McCanns’ apartment which they searched, without result. Even before any search by the authorities in the surroundings started, the news about a possible abduction was already circulating.
The group’s initial informal statements given during the initial stages of the investigation immediately introduced the abduction hypothesis. But even simple things were the subject of misinformation:
1) was the window open or closed?
2) was the shutter up or down?
3) was the balcony door open or closed?
4) was the front door merely shut or locked with a key?
Because, they said, they needed counselling and support, Madeleine’s parents asked at between 2.00am and 3.00am on 4 May for the presence of a priest.
The McCanns suggest someone to the police who might be able to find Madeleine’s corpse:
Despite everything, until a certain time in the investigation, the family fed and sustained the abduction theory of abduction. However, on a date on which we cannot be precise, it was suggested by the McCanns themselves that a person should be consulted who might be able to, eventually, indicate the probable location of Madeleine’s corpse.
This suggestion was inexplicable to members of the investigation team. Why were the family themselves raising the hypothesis that little Maddie was dead? Nevertheless, for the purposes of the media, they continued (and continue to this day) to declare their hope of finding their daughter alive.
Our decision to bring in the cadaver dogs:
So, whilst still keeping open several lines of investigation, it was decided to advance the investigation in a new direction by arranging a new inspection of the place where Madeleine had disappeared. We decided to use a technique is commonly used in the United Kingdom and it consists of the use of the sense of smell of highly trained dogs.
A human has 5 million cells to assist the sense of smell while a dog has 200 million. We need to highlight that this kind of inspection is frequent in the U.K. and the dogs’ success rate is 100%. One of the dogs is trained to detect [human] cadaver odour and the other to identify traces of human blood.
We now need to emphasis that when the cadaver dog alerts to the cadaver odour, this does not signifies that the body is in that places, but it does signify that the body has been there at some time in the past.
As can be read in our files of this investigation, the dogs inspected the following locations and items, with the results described below. All the inspections were recorded in sound and image and were directed by our British colleagues that accompanied the dogs. Among the great number of items and locations that were inspected, the dogs marked the following locations and items:
Apartment 5A, Ocean Club resort, the McCanns’ apartment from where the child disappeared: The cadaver dog alerted to the scent of a corpse in the master bedroom, in a corner, by the wardrobe; in living room, behind the sofa, and by the side window, while the bloodhound alerted to blood in the living room behind the sofa, and by the side window (in exactly the same spot that had been signalled by the cadaver dog).
Front garden of Apartment 5A: Cadaver dog alerted to the scent of a corpse on one of the flower beds (the dog handler however commented on the ‘lightness’ of the odour in this location)
Apartments where the rest of the group were staying: Nothing detected by either dog
McCanns’ present residence in Praia da Luz at that time [July 2009]: Nothing was detected by either dog
Elsewhere in the Praia da Luz village: Nothing was detected by either dog
McCann family’s clothes and belongings: Cadaver dog alerted to the scent of a corpse on two pieces of clothing belonging to Dr Kate McCann, one piece of clothing belonging to Madeleine (a red T-shirt) and on Madeleine’s soft toy [Cuddle Cat].
The cadaver odour was detected when the toy was still inside the McCanns’ residence in July 2007; the scent was later confirmed outside the house as well
The vehicle that was used by the McCann family: The cadaver dog alerted to the scent of a corpse on the car key and on the inside of the car boot, while the bloodhound also marked the car key and the inside of the car boot
Car that was used by a family friend that was staying in the same resort, on some of the same days: Nothing was detected by either dog
All the cars that were used by arguido Robert Murat and the people that are close to him: Nothing was detected by either dog.
In a total of 10 cars examined [in an underground car park) the cadaver dog and the blood dog only marked the car of the McCann family, first rented on 27 May). The locations and items that were marked and signalled by the blood dog are being subject to forensic examinations, part of which are already concluded.
No less relevant is the refinement of the results that point towards Madeleine’s DNA as being present in Apartment 5A, behind the sofa, a spot that was marked by the both cadaver and the blood dog. In every place marked by the blood dog, the laboratory confirmed that this DNA was present.
The McCanns evolved their story to adapt to the police questions:
The media attention that has been given to the case and the search for information by the said media has led to an evolution in Madeleine’s parents’ statements. All the information that has been made public has contributed to the McCanns rebuilding and adapting their story to fit the eventual police questions. They have attempted to explain the forensic evidence that we have collected and are collecting.
Were the children sedated?
For example, the media suggested the possibility that the children could have been sedated to be kept asleep and allow the parents some rest. Later in time, Dr Kate McCann’s father, Madeleine’s grandfather, Brian Healy, admitted to the press that Dr Kate McCann could have administered some medication to the little girl, namely Calpol, to help the child or the children to sleep, contrary to what his daughter Dr Kate had hitherto been stating.
Later, Dr Kate McCann, via the Portuguese Police Inspector that acted as liaison officer for the family, asked why samples weren’t taken from the twins in order to test the hypothesis that they had been sedated.
She knew well enough at that time, more than 3 months later, that such an examination would be worthless.
However, she went even further and said that we - the investigation - should verify that the abductor had sedated Madeleine, in order to accomplish his action and that he had also sedated the twins so as to be bale to abducted the twins. But she didn’t bring up these things at the appropriate time.
What we know for certain is that the sedatives have periods in which to act as a sedative and timings at which they are normally completely expelled from the body, that vary between 6 and 200 hours. The McCanns’ medical knowledge is enough to know this, even if their professional activity never included performing toxicology examinations.
Excuses for blood in the apartment and the car:
When the media first informed the public that blood had been detected ‘in the car and in the apartment’, Dr Kate and members of her family made statements to the public with the simple excuse that it had been someone, who had access to the apartment, that had deliberately placed this evidence there.
Now they even say that it was the criminal investigation team that placed this ‘false’ evidence (i.e. blood and cadaver odour in the apartment and in the car). In an attempt to justify the finding of [Madeleine’s] blood in the apartment, Dr Kate McCann went even further, stating on that occasion that Madeleine sometimes suffered nosebleeds.
On the day that the house search was performed, at the McCanns’ later residence in Praia da Luz, written papers were found in the master bedroom, as well as a Bible, written in English. It was open on the pages whose copies are annexed to this report, with the translation.
Abduction is a situation with which, unfortunately, in the U.K., most of the public opinion is acquainted, due to the frequency of this kind of crime. Intelligent people should have a minimum of knowledge that publicity about an abduction damages the investigation of an abduction crime and is especially threatening to the safety of the abducted person. People should wait for decisions from the police authorities.
Strong evidence that the crime scene was altered:
There is strong evidence that the crime scene was altered, and some furniture was moved around. Those changes are indications of that the adduction was a stage-managed simulation.
In the night that Madeleine disappeared, the McCanns were contacted by a lady that identified herself with documents that credited her as somebody that worked professionally with children in the U.K, in hospitals and childrens’ centres.
She offered her help in whatever was needed. No doubt this person could have been of valuable help, even about such things as procedures, but she was dismissed by the McCanns, who rejected her offer of help.
The facts point to Madeleine dying on 3rd May in Apartment 5A:
From everything that was established, the facts point in the direction that the death of Madeleine McCann occurred on the night of 3 May 2007, inside apartment 5A, at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, which was occupied by the McCann couple and by their three children. There is a coincidence between the markings of cadaver odour and blood [by the two dogs], according to the (partial) Laboratory Report that has been annexed to the files.
The said marking occurred behind the living room sofa (cadaver odour/blood/DNA), which unarguably proves that said piece of furniture was pushed back by someone, after the death of Madeleine McCann was confirmed. Because of the few traces that were recovered on location and subject to examination, it has to be admitted as a strong hypothesis that it [the room] was subject to a clean-up operation at some time following the occurrence of death.
In the same manner, the soft toy that was used by the dead child, which was found at the top of the bed where she usually slept (see the photos from the initial inspection) reveals that someone put it there at a moment after Madeleine’s death, given the fact that the bed itself doesn’t have any cadaver odour.
This is to say, an intentional alteration of things in that apartment took place, in order to create a false scenario that doesn’t match reality, in an attempt to develop opportunities to create a bogus abduction scenario. It must be added that the cadaver dog strongly signalled the bedroom where the McCann couple slept, which may indicate the moving of the corpse from the actual death spot (the living room) into a non-visible part of the said master bedroom of the McCanns.
Furthermore, a strong marking of cadaver odour was made on Kate McCann’s clothes, which may indicate that she was in touch with the cadaver. There was also a strong marking of cadaver odour in the car that was used by the McCann couple after 27 May 2007). Taking together the blood dog’s marking, and based on the forensics that are included in the process files, which indicate the presence of Madeleine McCann’s DNA in the car boot, we cannot exclude a strong hypothesis that this vehicle may have possibly been used move the cadaver, 24 days or more after Madeleine’s death.
The indication from the cadaver dog, as well as from the blood detection dog, on the key of the aforementioned vehicle, where the laboratory would confirm the existence of Dr Gerald McCann’s DNA, cannot be dismissed. This last signalling was obtained by the dogs after the key was put far away from the vehicle, in a non-visible location.
From everything that we have discovered, our files result in the following conclusions:
A. the minor Madeleine McCann died in Apartment 5A at the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, on the night of 3 May 2007
B. a simulation - a staged hoax - of an abduction took place
C. in order to render the child’s death impossible before 10.00pm, a situation of checking of the McCann couple’s children while they slept was concocted
D. Dr Gerald McCann and Dr Kate McCann are involved in the concealment of the corpse of their daughter, Madeleine McCann
E. at this moment, there seems to be no strong indications that the child’s death was other than the result of a tragic accident, yet;
F. from what has been established up to now, everything indicates that the McCann couple, in self-defence, did not want to deliver up Madeleine’s corpse immediately and voluntarily, and there is a strong possibility therefore that it was moved from the initial place where she died. This situation may raise questions concerning the circumstances in which the death of the child took place.
G. Therefore, we suggest that the case files are sent to the Republic’s Prosecutor, in the Lagos legal district, for:
1) possible new questioning of the arguidos Dr Gerald and Dr Kate McCann, and
2) an evaluation of the measure of restraint to be applied in this case.
During the house search at the McCann couple’s residence, a diary style manuscript was found, already photocopied, possibly authored by Dr Kate McCann; admitting that it may contain information that may help to reach the material truth of facts.
We therefore propose that the photocopies of the said document are presented to the illustrious judge for the purpose of its apprehension (if legal), its translation and eventual collection of information to be included in the files, as necessary for the investigation.
At this date, I submit the case files for your appreciation, for you to determine whatever you may see as convenient.
10 September 2007
Chief Inspector Tavares de Almeida