Madeleine – 5 years and counting

“My grief lies all within; and these external manners of lament; are merely shadows to the unseen grief; that swells with silence in the tortured soul” Shakespeare

Praia de Luz – 3rd May 2007. An event that rocked a small tourist resort in the Algarve; and sent the world’s media into a frenzy.

And five years later – there are still no answers – and a little girl is still missing.

Madeleine McCann

I have held back from blogging about this – but in one sense it had a wide ranging impact upon the Algarve where we live; and it is a defining event in history. And everyone we meet who talks about this – rightly or wrongly – has a view about it. 

The facts – plainly put – are that a girl of 4 years old went missing in 2007 – and is still missing today. The why – and how – and most importantly – who did it – is still a mystery.

last photo of Madeleine

What makes her special is an interesting thought – children go missing every day. And many are never found. But the international media latched onto this story – and the haunting images of her mother, clutching the teddy bear belonging to Madeleine – combined with the sweet and innocent face of her missing daughter – were projected across the world.

Her parents have done everything humanly possible to find her – and keep her image at the forefront of the media.

And the despair they must feel at knowing that their daughter may still be alive – somewhere in this vast expanse of our planet – must only be equalled by the horror of the possibility of finding out that she is no longer alive. The nightmares must be a regular occurrence for her parents.

Kate & Gerry McCann

Picture from Daily Mirror – click for link

Talking to Portuguese people it is clear that they cannot conceive of a parent that would leave a child ‘home alone’ – the Portuguese sense of family and responsibility runs deep. Families dine together – often much later in the evening than would be normal in the UK – and children run round our local square playing together often until late in the evening as their families sit around talking and socialising together.

Add to that the whole Arguido status both the McCanns were placed under by the Portuguese police – as formal suspects – and the subsequent ‘no charges filed’ – and the ensuing ridicule of the international press targeted at the Portuguese policing system – and it is no wonder that the Portuguese media wish to see this story remain as ‘case closed’ with no further media or judicial involvement.

The British Police are currently conducting a full case review – at the instigation of the Prime Minister – and a recent TV programme would tend to hint at new evidence coming to light; and a terrifyingly large number of new leads and old evidence to sift through. As yet, the Portuguese authorities have refused to re-open the case.

There is a new web-site and Operation Grange is in full swing; with a large number of detectives and specialist officers assigned to the case.

There has never been a reconstruction of the events that night in May 2007 – a standard practice for UK policing as this can help – even now – to trigger people’s memories – and also – most importantly in a case like this full of media hype, hysteria and inconsistencies – a chance to show exactly what is known about the events that night.

They have recently released an age-progressed picture of what Madeleine may look like today – an important step as so many people will still ‘picture’ her as a 4 year old. The distinctive fleck in her right eye remains – however she may be vastly different to this if still alive – particularly her hair colour and accent (she may even now speak a foreign language more fluently than she ever spoke English) which may conceal a little girl who almost certainly is no longer called Madeleine.

age progression picture of Madeleine

So why post about this on Algarve Blog?

Well, I’ve read the book, watched the news with everyone else, and listened to lots of people’s theories and views about this.

And the bottom line for me is simple – there is a little girl that is still missing – an innocent little girl taken from her family and siblings. One of many, many children that go missing each week. But highlighting her plight also helps raise the spotlight on the wider missing children agenda – one that brings heartache and despair to so many families. Child sexual exploitation and child pornography are a reality – and we should do everything we can to eliminate these horrific crimes from our world.

So I post this as a small drop in the ocean – but a drop nonetheless – that might even make a small difference. Because someone – somewhere – has to know something about her disappearance – and may their conscience never be clear until they tell someone what they know.

So if you do know something – however small or insignificant you may think it is – please call your local police – or Operation Grange on

0207 321 9251 (in the UK)
+44 207 321 9251 (non-UK)

Or email

Operation.Grange@met.pnn.police.uk

Madeleine aged 9

Images taken from the Find Madeleine website
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14 Responses to Madeleine – 5 years and counting

  1. Sent to Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. Hope any small bit helps

  2. sami veloso says:

    It was and still is a sad story, hope someone somewhere speaks up. I wasn´t living in Portugal when it happened, but I´ve read there was a lot of criticism the way the case was handled by the Portuguese police, so I´m glad the British police have reopened the case and investigating further. Also sad is the fact that this seems to be almost the only case that gets attention to the detriment of all the other children that disappear every day.

    • ferragudofan says:

      thanks Sami – I’m glad that my approach resonated with you – and yes, there are too many children going missing every day – even one child is one child too many

  3. You’ve taken my breath away this morning. I hadn’t previously thought about how of course you have been close to the story! You have shared some important insights as to how it is that people with different cultural experiences might view the situation differently, and why the Portuguese people and police might be very reluctant to open the case. Your insight is valuable to increase my understanding. And whatever the truth, this is a heartbreaking story and I pray that possibly this child can be found alive. I’m so glad to read this today…it gives me an opportunity to remember and offer up a prayer! I’m touched. Debra

  4. Pam Gurney says:

    How refreshing to see a well balanced blog after the tedium of forums who unfortunately tend to be visited in great numbers by people spouting such dreadful things.

    A little girl is missing and may well still be alive. Knowing this to be so, we must al keep in mind that she may have had her features changed…indeed her hair may be very much darker or lighter. But Kate has said she sees the family resemblance in this new profile pic of Madelelne, so facially she may look very similar.

    I thank you people living in the Algarve who are willing to keep an open mind and heart as to what has happened. I personally do not feel for a second that Kate and Gerry McCann had a hand in their daughters disappearance. If they had, they would be foolish in the extreme to carry on with keeping Madeleine’s name out there …so high profile.

    And it has to be remembered that nobody is infallible and we all make mistakes in life we live to regret. The McCanns live with the guilt and sorrow of what happened to Madeleine each and every day. It is very sad for Madeleine and for them also.

    • ferragudofan says:

      thank you for your kind comments and for reading the blog
      I try to put a balanced viewpoint forward – and I have 13 years’ policing experience too so I have definitely seen both sides of this type of incident
      and the bottom line is as you describe – a little girl still missing.

  5. Tilly Bud says:

    Such a sad story, and one of many, unfortunately.

  6. Sandra Carter says:

    When it comes to missing children, we have so much to thank Kate for. She was instrumental in helping secure Amber Alert for Britain (on the lines of the American Amber Alert). Prayers and thoughts for Madeleine, her family and All Missing Children.

  7. restlessjo says:

    Please lets all keep tweeting this until she’s found.

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