It's over fifteen years since the doctor Kate McCann first announced before the world that her daughter had been taken from her bed in the room she shared with her two younger siblings, whilst holidaying with her family at the Ocean Club, Praia da Luz on the Algarve, Portugal.
No sooner than the alarm had been raised at around 22:00h on Thursday 3rd May 2007, the news spread far and wide. Portuguese press agencies were alerted as was the British media and press - first contacted by the friends and families of the mother Kate McCann and the father Gerry McCann. This swift action on their part led to a flood of press reporters descending on the tiny fishing village of Luz, more specifically - the Ocean Club holiday resort.
A complex providing accommodation spread around the village in the form of small apartments, the McCann family occupying an apartment with front access on the ground floor and rear access up a small flight of stone steps leading to a veranda that overlooked the complex pool area, playground and a restaurant.
Journalist vied for primacy on arrival at the Ocean Club, some claiming to be the first on the scene, thus first hand reporting to relay to their respective contacts back in their homeland. To satiate the journalistic appetite, the parents McCann made their first appearance before the world's media on the evening of Friday 4th May 2007. With broken hearts and overcome with grief did they appeal to their child's abductor (for that was the presumed scenario) to return their beloved daughter to her family unharmed. Strangely as at that point in time, there could have been no way of telling what happened to the child, Madeleine McCann. The presumption of abduction by paedophile or a child trafficking gang quickly gained ground despite there being no evidence of such an event, it remains to this day.
There is cloud hanging over the actual time the police were called but even though the witness accounts conflicted considerably, thankfully the time was proficiently recorded by the police themselves, thus ruling out the many stories spread abroad. From that time forth, a major incident was declared and the Portuguese police got to work on their investigation. From Friday 4th May 2007, witnesses were taken to the nearby station to give their statements and the entire region and it's people, residents and holidaymakers, were thoroughly scrutinized and questioned.
The principal witnesses being the parents McCann and their group of friends. One such witness was said to have seen a man carrying a child not far from the apartment block occupied by the group, this was about the time Madeleine was presumed to have disappeared. This event was qualified by the British police some years later by the identification of a British tourist who confirmed having been there, at the scene, wearing much the same clothing as the witness described - even down the to the nightwear worn by the child. The witness must have been oblivious to the case of missing Madeleine McCann, otherwise he would have contacted the police at the time of her disappearance, or shortly after. The alleged incident witnessed by the McCann friend was henceforth filed and forgotten.
This single occurrence raised eyebrows across the continents.
Within hours the Portuguese police noted distinct discrepancies between the group's individual statements leading to questions about their respective accounts and their reliability as truthful witnesses.
An extensive search was conducted by the police with the help of local residents, fellow holidaymakers and Ocean Club staff. The only people who didn't assist with the physical search were Gerry and Kate McCann and their group of friends, a fact that raised eyebrows across the continents. Of course it could be said the parents were too distraught (?), immobilized by fear and anxiety - who knows how one would react under such circumstances. Kate McCann however provided a satisfactory explanation some time later .... there was a lot happening (?) and they were too busy working behind the scenes, alas she never gave any detail of exactly what they were doing behind the scenes.
Understandably, this raised a few eyebrows across the continents, in particular back in the UK.
It was only a matter of time before the tentacles of a protective force started to form. Friends and relatives arrived and left at an alarming rate, offering help, lending a hand, providing much needed support, whilst the Ocean Club resort management did their best to provide support and at the same time preserve the reputation of their resort and the reputation of the tour operator, Mark Warner. The tiny resort was swamped by the diplomatic corps, representatives of various arms of the British police and associates, media and press reporters and of course the friends and family.
The objective was successful, their protection was guaranteed from that moment forth - all within a matter of hours/days after Kate McCann raised the alarm, some might say acts of human kindness, some might say self preservation, some might say a cunning plan carefully constructed and maintained to deceive the world.
Lights .... camera .... action! And so the show began.
Hours days and weeks rolled on, one after the other, leaving a trail of very suspicious incidents and a lot of confusion. Press reports in the UK varied from one newspaper to another from one day to another. Some reports were very scathing, almost accusatory, about the circumstances of Madeleine's disappearance and the subsequent behaviour of her parents, Gerry and Kate McCann. Some reports were more favourable leading to reinforce the required narrative.
The trail was long and winding, from media interviews to press reports to witnesses with a new tale to tell. A tour of Europe and North Africa was orchestrated by the British governments Media Monitoring director seconded to Portugal to assist the McCanns with their media campaign, who also became a close friend, a confident and public relations guru.
Realising they would be staying in Portugal with a big job at hand for a very long time (foresight is always so helpful when arranging the unforeseeable future) they hired a car, a Renault Scenic, just hours before embarking on their magical mystery tour across Europe and North Africa. Why they chose to hire a car when they were leaving Portugal for a while has never been established.
Early in the proceedings Gerry McCann took time out to leave his wife and two remaining children alone back in Portugal whilst he took a trip to Washington DC, the White House, with their appointed campaign manager. Here he met with prominent personages, no less than organisations closely involved with the abduction and exploitation of children which seemed inappropriate as the circumstances of Madeleine's disappearance was not known (?).
Still no evidence that Madeleine McCann was abducted, nor the circumstances of her disappearance.
For the remainder of summer 2007 the McCanns languished in the ambiance of the Portuguese Algarve and the luxury of a protection racket, normally known only to high profile personages - like royalty!
For some reason, never to be adequately explained, the British government and police took a very active interest in the case of little Madeleine McCann. According to the former chief executive of the CEOP in a secret report which was very soon after reported by the press, the various units and organisations all wanted to help in their own way - at the same time. When considering the circumstances this appears to be a rather feeble explanation for what seemed, from the outside, to be a massive cover-up of a very serious crime.
This simple fact raised eyebrows across the continents.
Again with the help of family, friends and colleagues back in the UK, a fund was created to manage the generous donations made by caring people who at the time couldn't see that something was very wrong. The remit of the fund (which didn't meet the criteria required of a charity, thus became a limited company controlled by a board of directors comprising the McCanns and their friends and family). A neutral transparent code of practice with specific provisions. One of these provisions turned out to be the hiring of private detectives (forbidden at the time by Portuguese law) to search for little Madeleine, none of whom produced anything productive apart from knocking a huge hole in the balance of the funds and rounding-up more bogus witnesses and sightings.
Nothing withstanding, according to parents McCann and their extensive support network, something was achieved by the various private investigators - new witnesses with new tales to tell. News of sightings across the globe, suspicious circumstances, suspicious people, named convicted peadophiles who had at some time lived or passed through somewhere close to the Ocean Club, Luz.
All these revelations fizzled out after a time, leaving nothing but raised eyebrows across the continents.
Back in Luz, at the end of July/beginning of August 2007, two highly reputable sniffer dogs arrived on the scene from the UK, accompanied by their trainer and handler. The dogs were commissioned to work in properties occupied by the McCann family, items of their clothing and the Renault Scenic. All the forensic evidence resulting from the dogs diligence was sent to a UK forensic science service, operational at the time. The evidence was studiously analysed and detailed in reports conveyed to the Portuguese police.
Again, despite a lot of interest, commotion, speculation and misinformation circulated by the British press, the forensic evidence wasn't enough to develop the investigation - thus it took a back seat in the overall investigation, particularly from the British angle.
It raised a few eyebrows across the continents.
At the time it did lead to a more focused look by the Portuguese police at the possible involvement of the parents Gerry and Kate McCann in the disappearance of their own daughter, Madeleine. Or more to the point, reinforced the general development of their investigation. Only weeks later early September 2007, the pair were again interviewed, this time as persons of interest. Through a mist of personal conflicting accounts, the pair quit Portugal with their two remaining children the very next Sunday despite having vowed never to leave until their daughter was found.
This fact raised eyebrows across the continents.
From there a continuation of more of the same. Hired private detectives producing more witnesses, more confusion, more deception. Various authors, reporters, commentators, journalists - investigative and otherwise, former police officers all with a tale to tell - alas, nothing to help Madeleine McCann but certainly everything to help the parents Gerry and Kate McCann!
Now, over fifteen years down the line the case of missing little Madeleine McCann is fading from public attention. Since the tenth anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance public interest in the case has been weakening but now, after the latest and hopefully last revelation - the German prisoner, also said to be a convicted paedophile (?), the end of the road has been reached. Leaving only a few loose ends to be tied before the case is well and truly buried for eternity.
There was never any chance of Madeleine McCann finally receiving the justice her memory so richly deserves, that hope had gone on Thursday 3rd May 2007, however thanks to good hearted people who have worked relentlessly in Madeleine's name from that day to this, Madeleine's name will not be so easily forgotten. So many good people who have given their time willingly and freely for many years in support of justice for Madeleine, trying to unlock the mystery that shrouds her memory and expose the truth that hides behind a bastion of lies and deception by the hand of the British authorities, who have gone more than that extra mile to conceal the truth - what really happened to little Madeleine McCann.
Sadly some very evil mercenary people haven't let their misplaced notoriety down either. They care not for a little lost child who did nothing to deserve the fate that took her life.
Gerry and Kate McCann failed their own daughter, their priority was focused almost entirely on destroying the career, reputation and life of the Portuguese senior police officer assigned to coordinate the investigation into the disappearance of their daughter, Madeleine.
That is more than enough to raise a few eyebrows ....
R.I.P. Bless You Little Lady