IE 11 is not supported. For an optimal experience visit our site on another browser.

Maddie McCann: 'No body, no case'

Van Zandt:  We are just days away from the five-month anniversary of the disappearance of then three-year-old Madeleine McCann from the vacation hotel bedroom she shared with her 2-year-old twin brother and sister, and the investigative trail appears to have grown cold for Portuguese police. 

We are just days away from the five-month anniversary of the disappearance of then-3-year-old Madeleine McCann from the vacation hotel bedroom she shared with her 2-year-old twin brother and sister, and the investigative trail appears to have grown cold for Portuguese police. 

Three options were initially on the table to explain young Maddy’s disappearance on that warm evening in which her parents, both medical doctors, shared dinner with seven friends in a restaurant half the distance of a football field from the room where the three McCann children slept.  Option one was that Madeleine awoke and wandered off, perhaps falling victim to some terrible accident.  Option two: one or more pedophiles or hired kidnappers stalked and carried her away without a sound.  Option three, the one Portuguese police appear to have finally settled on, has Madeleine, an admittedly rambunctious child, being given a sedative by her mother to insure she slept while her parents dined, and that somehow before dinner that night she died.  The police theory continues that her parents then calmly hid her body, went to dinner and participated in small talk for a few hours.  After,  they “discover her missing” and announce her disappearance to the world, only to retrieve her body at some later date and take it to a designated disposal site where, to date, she has yet to be found.

While there is some confusion as to the sequence of events during the critical time period between 6:00 pm to 10:00 p.m. that fateful night, what we do know is her parents must share some element of guilt and responsibility as they left her and her siblings alone, especially since a babysitting service was available in the resort.  We also know that Madeleine remains missing to this date, with no known evidence to strongly support any of the above theories concerning her disappearance.

Maddie's parents under pressure from police
The last few weeks have seen the McCann’s come under increased pressure from the Portuguese police to “confess” to their role in their daughter’s disappearance and suggested death.  Information coming forth now suggests that the “significant amount of forensic evidence” the Portuguese police have said links the McCanns to Madeleine’s disappearance actually may be, as suspected from the start, just an attempt by the police to put pressure on the parents to either make them confess or chase them out of Portugal.

The British forensic lab that examined the evidence gathered by the police from the hotel room from which Madeleine allegedly disappeared and the rental car police have suggested was used by the parents to transport Madeleine’s dead body,  have stated that police “widely misused” the results of the forensic examinations, leaking tothe local Portuguese media false and damning information allegedly supporting the police theory that the McCanns were  responsible for Madeleine’s disappearance and death.  Meanwhile, Drs. Kate and Gerry McCann have allegedly secured the investigative assistance of England’s Control Risk Group, a company I have worked with, that employs former British military (SAS) and intelligence agents and similar personnel from the U.S. to find missing people.  It is something they are very good at doing. 

When will we get truth in the case?
We may finally be getting to the truth in this case, as a lead prosecutor in Portugal has said that police need to find Madeleine (or her body) to successfully make a case against her parents, now considered official suspects by the police.  At the current time, this prosecutor has stated that there is insufficient physical evidence to “prove” she was killed by her parents or by anyone else for that matter.  Evidently the concrete, slam-dunk evidence the police have been telling the local media about is actually inconclusive as to Madeleine, and may be consistent with her parent’s story that any physical evidence linked to Madeleine that may have been found in the rental car was simply DNA or hair of hers that had been transferred to the vehicle from the family’s possessions that have been moved by her parents in that car.

If the so-called “compelling evidence” is in reality far from compelling, the police may need to accept the local prosecutor’s opinion that, without a body or a confession, the parents cannot be charged in this matter.  They can, however, be kept under a cloud of suspicion, i.e., continue to be named formal suspects for up to one year without being charged by Portuguese police with any crime.  The initial suspect in this case, British ex-pat Robert Murat, has allegedly been told by police that he will be cleared of his suspect status.  This comees after authorities were unable to link him to Madeleine’s disappearance by any means other than his inserting himself into the investigation and his residential proximity to the resort from which Madeleine allegedly disappeared.

At this point, it is likely that the police, whom many blame for a sloppy and unprofessional investigation from the moment Madeleine was first reported missing, will draw out the McCann’s suspect status as a way try and con ceal their less-than-stellar role in this missing child case that has been seen around the world.

Clint Van Zandt is a former FBI Agent, behavioral profiler and hostage negotiator as well as an MSNBC Analyst. His web site provides readers with security related information.