The Smith family sighting or the Jane Tanner sighting; which is more
likely to be someone carrying off Maddie than the other? Or, could they
be, as the McCanns now encourage us to believe, the same man?
Let's start with a question we commonly hear about possible suspect
sightings: when someone is spotted near a crime scene who has nothing to
do with the crime but never comes forward and says, "That was me,"
doesn't that prove that the person spotted is indeed the suspect?
Not necessarily. First of all, the sighting may not even be a fact.
so is no surprise that some
innocent man carrying a child in his outstretched arms hasn't come
another British vacationer, admitted to crossing the road fifteen
minutes later with his wife and children). On the other hand, the Smith
family sighting at approximately 9:50-9:55 is very credible since nine
witnesses saw the man and they have no connection to the McCanns. So,
that no one came forth to admit being that man may be because he is
really the one carrying off Maddie.
Secondly, some people just don't want to admit it was them and then have
the unpleasant repercussions of having to deal with the police and the
media. Look what happened to Murat.
Next, we have the issue of how the child was carried. Dead or alive, the
Smith sighting suspect carried the child up against his body
in a more normal carry position. The child's arms were hanging down
which would be absolutely the case with a dead child (although it is
also possible with a live one). Mr. Smith later saw a video of Gerry
carrying one of his remaining children and thought the man his family
had seen could well be him. The Jane Tanner sighting has the abductor
holding a limp child in his outstretched arms. This is an odd way to
carry a child any distance as it is awkward and tiring. Also, if the man
abducted the child, he would be far smarter to carry the child up
against his shoulder where he could duck his head down alongside the
child's head and keep his own face somewhat hidden. Carrying the child
at waist level leaves one's face exposed and draws attention to the
person due to the odd positioning of the child.
And how does it make sense that the abductor would carry the abducted
child that way? If he scooped Maddie up from her bed, her head would
naturally end up over his right arm and Jane Tanner wouldn't have seen
two little feet. And how does the man get out the door and close it
behind him with both hands cradling the child? (Not to mention, closing
the door when you are in a hurry - since "the abductor" already have
left evidence of a break-in with the open window - it is hardly is worth
Mr. Smith believes Gerry McCann may be the man he saw on the Rua da
Escola. Some say this is an impossibility because Gerry was dining in
the Tapas Restaurant at the time of the sighting. Well, he is if you
believe some of the statements of the Tapas 9 but there is no
independent corroboration by any of the waiters that he was there
exactly when Kate sounded the alarm after 10 pm nor can any independent
witness put Gerry in the Tapas restaurant for the period of time prior
to Kate raising the alarm. So there is nothing to say that this wasn't
Gerry that the Smith's saw who then dumped the child he was carrying and
returned to take his seat in the Tapas just before Kate showed up.
But, could he have made it to the location of the Smith sighting and
back in time? Before I went to Praia da Luz I was told by some the idea
was laughable, that the Smith sighting was quite a distance from the
Tapas - half a mile is what the McCanns claim in their documentary,
Voice over: It is possible that JT is not the only person who saw
Madeleine being carried away by the abductor. 40 minutes after J(T)’s
sighting and half (1/2) mile away from the Mc’s apartment a family also
saw a man carrying a young girl away from the town.
When I looked at a map before I went to Portugal on Google and put in
the locations, I did come up with 800 meters (half-mile) but that was by
car and followed a rather circuitous route. the walking route didn't
seem that far and, indeed, Google said it would take six minutes.
This is the advantage of going to the location of the crime scene. I
walked the route myself from the McCann's apartment and the Smith
sighting and it took me exactly five minutes at a moderately fast pace.
It took me another minute and a half to reach the beach. So, the time
Gerry would need from the time the Smiths would have seen him and get
back to the Tapas bar and include a body drop off is about eight
minutes. He could be in his seat before Kate raised the alarm. And that
is eight minutes if he didn't run back, in which case, he could be
And, yes, it does take a bit
of time to hide the body,
in a pinch and a panic, I saw three good places to ditch a corpse in a
hurry; a storage shed right by the road only part way to the beach
(cutting an extra minute or so off the trip)
, a large clump of
reeds where the road accesses the beach and one could
quickly stuff the little body into, and, also at that location, a number
small boats one could temporarily store a body underneath. At this point
in time, if one would just trying to lose a dead child, any place might
do, including a dumpster of which there were a number of in the area. If
the body is later found in any of the those places, it could be
suspected that a sex predator dumped his victim there, and, if the body
wasn't immediately discovered and one had time
to find a better spot to prevent the child being found and an autopsy
done, any of these places could be revisited and the body moved in the
dark early morning hours. If there was no one out searching, these
locations are dead quiet and no one is around; I can testify to since I
spent from 3 am to 5 am wandering about Praia da Luz and never ran into
Which sighting is more likely to be Madeleine McCann? The Smith
sighting, clearly, but the McCanns will have none of it unless it is the
same man that Jane Tanner saw. I repeat what I stated in my
last blog; there is no reason for the McCanns to disqualify
the Smith sighting as a stand-alone sighting of the person who took
Madeleine unless Gerry does not really have an alibi for 9:50-9:55 pm.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown