Monday, September 10, 2007

Wild speculation

American readers may not be aware of the story, but you had to have been hiding under a rock for the past four months to not know a little girl named Madeleine McCann is missing.

She and her family were vacationing in Portugal when she disappeared one night, while her twin siblings slept on and while her parents were dining in a tapas restaurant within their resort complex.

In an effort to find Madeleine, her parents have mounted a well orchestrated media campaign. Posters, print and broadcast interviews, web sites, even advertisements in the cinema. They traveled all over Europe, David Beckham did an ad for them and they even met the Pope.

But time went on and no little girl. I suppose some might have given up hope, but the McCanns kept up the media pressure. But apparently folks in Portugal were beginning to get tired of them. The McCann case couldn't have been good for the local tourist economy and the pressure on the police must have been getting pretty hot.

And now the McCanns themselves are suspects according to the Portugese police. The McCanns imply they are being fitted up, and I would tend to believe them.

I've never been a supporter of the McCanns. Obviously, I hoped their little girl would be found - alive and unharmed. At worst, I wished that they might have closure. But I think they behaved terribly (leaving three very small children alone in a hotel room). I don't for a second believe that anyone could have foreseen that a child would be taken. But surely they could have reckoned that their children might wake up, alone in a strange place, scared or might just inflict some kind of injury on themselves. (They claim they were checking on them every 20 minutes, but this consisted of one or another adult listening at the door.) I understand that they wanted some time away from their kids - and that they'd rather not be trapped in their holiday apartment while the kids slept scanning the Portugese television for something to watch - but the resort did offer a baby sitting service. I've never understood why they got such an easy ride in the press for behaving so irresponsibly. Perhaps it's because they're doctors, professional middle class types, and very good looking.

All that being said, I really don't think that they murdered their daughter. There's little available information, but the evidence seems spurious - it kind of doesn't make sense.

  • Portugese police say they've found Madeleine's blood in a rental car that her parents rented 25 days after her disappearance. That means they would have had to disappear her - and then get her out of hiding (a cell or a grave) and transport her between media interviews.
  • It's been suggested that Portugese police wanted the mother to confess to over-sedating her daughter (plausible), but that doesn't fit with the supposed blood evidence in the holiday apartment or hire car.
Now here's the wild speculation bit. I reckon the police and the town were getting absolutely fed up with them. They had vowed not to leave Portugal without their daughter. I think they were offered a deal. Leave - and we won't frame you. Within days of the mother being named as a suspect, they're back home in England.

1 comment:

KathyF said...

I don't know about the deal bit, but the rest of it seems spot on to me.

I wonder if, ten years on, we'll look back at this and see an irresponsible press, irresponsible parents, or an irresponsible police dept? Or all three?