Left: A poster issued as part of the search. Right: All smiles from Kate and Gerry McCann as they leave church on Madeleine’s 4th birthday, May 12 2007, just nine days after their daughter went missing.
Strange and unsolved, the case of Madeleine McCann who disappeared from Praia da Luz, Portugal, almost nine years ago has been thrust back into the spotlight by her mother leading a two-week appeal in a bid to get a million people in the UK to register for Child Rescue Alerts.
The free scheme – funded by The Royal Mail – sends early warning messages to mobiles, computers and tablets when a child goes missing.
Kate McCann said that the alert system, which she helped launch, could have “mobilised” people at the time of Madeleine’s disappearance.
The long investigation into Madeleine’s alleged abduction from the family’s holiday apartment while her parents were out enjoying dinner with friends, has always been controversial. There has been criticism of the handing of the investigation by the Portuguese police, accusations made against possible suspects and thousands of reported sightings from around the globe. Areas have even been excavated. But, during all this, not one concrete fact has ever been uncovered.
All that is definitely known is that Madeleine disappeared and is no longer with her family.
The mystery surrounding the case has brought forth much controversy with allegations of abduction and murder with some accusing Kate and her husband Gerry McCann of being involved in whatever happened to their daughter.
There are social media pages supporting the couple and others attacking them.
Whatever the truth is, Madeleine’s parents cannot be absolved of all blame. The fact remains that her abduction, if that really was what happened, took place while they were eating out with their friends having left their children in bed but without a babysitter or any other form of adult supervision or protection. Many people do not think that was an example of responsible parenting and I have to say that I agree with them.
Then, just nine days after their little girl disappeared, the couple emerged from church and were photographed smiling broadly. That only gave more ammunition to those who believe that they were complicit in the crime.
Regretfully and sadly, we will probably never know the full truth about what happened to little Madeleine McCann.