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When The Spotlight Fades...

Original Source: SKY: 31 MAY 2007
By Sky News crime correspondent Martin Brunt

Can't help thinking how the McCanns are turning - being turned? - into celebrities.

Meeting the Pope, offers of help from billionaires and pop stars, and ordinary people scrambling to kiss and touch them.

It's all getting the publicity they want and need to keep Madeleine's image in newspapers and on TV, but where will it end and how will they cope with the let-down after being swamped with so much attention?

They hope it will end in the return of Madeleine. But what if it doesn't? How long can they maintain their efforts to keep the media spotlight on the search for their daughter?

Our own crew are leaving Praia da Luz, along with other TV teams, though newspaper reporters will stay a bit longer. Soon the McCanns will walk out of their apartment and no-one will be there to take their photograph or film their stroll through the resort. And they will feel so deflated.

The publicity is being generated in the hope that all who are aware of the family's plight will look for Madeleine and report any potential sighting. But it's not easy.

On my last night in Praia da Luz I sat in a restaurant and saw two English girls who looked like Madeleine. Because they were playing happily as part of a family group I thought little of it and certainly didn't inquire more or report it. Nor did anyone else in the restaurant. What if I had? How quickly would the police have responded?

I remember, a few years ago, leaving a press conference in Sussex after police had appealed for help in finding missing Sarah Payne's blue dress.

A mile down the road I spotted some blue material caught in a hedgerow. I called the police, stationed my camera crew close by and waited for what could have been a great scoop. After several hours we gave up and I still don't know if the police ever responded to my call.

The publicity and 2.5 million reward must be prompting thousand of calls like that to the Portuguese police. They've told us about only one of them - and that was after pressure from the McCann family.

Remember to call police on 0800 0961233 if you have any information about Madeleine.

If you have holiday snaps taken at the Ocean Club resort in the two weeks up to May 3rd, the day she disappeared, you should upload them to


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