Although I initially dismissed the sighting by the Smith family, I
do appreciate that in the absence of any
other information that this could be a
possibility. I do however remain
sceptical about this. This sighting was
about 400 yards away from the apartment,
which is a lengthy distance to walk with
a child if you have just abducted her.
If the plan was to take the child to a
car, this would have been parked far
closer. If the objective was to dispose
of a body, then this person has walked
past a lot of waste ground. Why increase
the chances of being caught.
If this was the person who abducted Madeleine, then there is a good
chance that he was either going home or
to accommodation very nearby, the route
being chosen by him in an attempt to be
observed by as few people as possible.
Was it one person, was it two, were they locals, were they there on
holiday or simply visiting, was she
taken by a paedophile or by someone who
wanted to raise her and look after her.
I obviously do not know. All I can do is
to provide a few thoughts and theories.
To answer the first question, was it one person or two. Although I
do not know, I  still believe that from
the nature of the crime, the manner in
which it was carried out and from
examination of the scene and area, this
would point to it being more likely that
there were two people as opposed to one.
This can obviously not be said for
certain, and as with all the other
points mentioned is simply my opinion.
 If the sighting by the Smith family
proves to be correct, then I accept that
in all likelihood, the person who took
Madeleine was alone.
Now to one of the most difficult points, was it a paedophile or
someone who wanted Madeleine as an
extended member of their family. Again I
do not know, but what can be done is to
look at it logically, and see what is
the most likely.
I remain of the view that Madeleine was not abducted with the
intention of some sort of long term
grooming and abuse similar to that
experienced by Jaycee Dugard or Natascha
Kampusch. In any event, both of these
girls were substantially older when they
A girl of Madeleine’s age is not the usual target age for a
paedophile; she is substantially younger
than most victims of these offences.
This however cannot totally be
discounted, as was seen from the
conviction in the UK in March 2012 of
David Bryant. In his case however, he
snatched his victims from the street,
and did not kill any of them.
Although it cannot be under estimated the amount of planning that a
paedophile without a conscience is
prepared to go, I believe in this case
that the choice of Madeleine and her
place of abduction underlines the fact
that this was not a planned or even
random paedophile attack.
I still believe on balance that when all the available information
is examined logically and objectively,
that Madeleine was  most likely taken by
someone who wanted her as part of his or
their family. Once they have made the
decision to carry this out, whoever was
responsible would be prepared to take
more risks than perhaps others would.
These risks however are mitigated by the
level of planning and control in the
If this theory is correct, certain inferences can be made. The
people responsible will not have a close
extended family as would it be feasible
that no one would make the connection to
Madeleine. I do not think that they have
any children of their own. I also
believe that they could have
rationalised it in their minds by
thinking “they’ve got three, we haven’t
got any”. In a perverse way they may see
this as being alright, as they have left
the family with two children. I am also
of the view that whoever took Madeleine
will speak English, albeit not
essentially fluently, and not
necessarily as a first language.
Now to one of the most significant questions. Were those responsible
local to the area, or visitors, whether
from elsewhere in Portugal or further
afield. Again no one knows. The reality
is that they could be either.
Whether they were local to the area or a visitor, I am of the view
that Madeleine was seen early in the
week, and from then the plan was
developed to abduct her. If local, they
could have initially stayed in the area,
and if from further afield, would have
left on Thursday, and possibly even
vacated their accommodation before this.
Talk of her being taken away on a boat from the beach, a local
marina or on a ferry to Africa is not
only unrealistic, it is also unhelpful.
 The sighting by the Smith family, if
correct, may indicate that the person
was heading towards the beach.
Regardless, I still do not accept that
she was taken away on a boat.
Some may say that the e-fit recently issued is similar to Gerry
McCann. Regardless, it cannot be him, as
at the time the Smith family saw the
person carrying the child, Mr McCann was
either at the restaurant, or the
apartment having just discovered that
Madeleine was missing. This is without
Regardless of whether the e-fit is of the suspect, it is clear that
the UK police review is the correct
course of action, in spite of what some
people may think. This is being
conducted by experienced investigators,
and hopefully any suggestions or
guidance they make will be acted upon,
and that where feasible they will
continue to be allowed to become more
involved in the investigative process.
Now to the main question. Where is Madeleine now, and why has she
not been discovered. Many have said that
with all the publicity, she would have
been seen. This is not necessarily
correct; there are many instances where
this has not happened. Also don’t forget
that whoever took Madeleine knows that
she could be recognised at any time and
therefore they will go to any means
necessary to ensure this does not
happen. Could her hair be dyed a
different colour, has she now got a tan,
is she speaking a different language,
has her hair been cut short and perhaps
being dressed as a boy. These are just a
few of the many possible ways in which
she could be being disguised to prevent
A child will often accept what they are told, particularly if said
in a caring way, and will therefore act
accordingly. Memories cannot be totally
erased but behaviour can be controlled,
influenced and  to a degree changed. I
also believe that there is a good chance
that whoever took Madeleine may in all
likelihood have subsequently moved, and
therefore have new friends and
neighbours who accept them for what they
are, and not necessarily be suspicious.
People generally accept what they are
told by others, and are not naturally
I do not believe she is local to Praia de Luz, or even the Algarve,
but if taken by someone who is
Portuguese, she could still be in the
country. It cannot be under estimated
the lengths that people would go to in
order to preserve their ‘family’.
If she was not taken by someone local, then the reality is she could
be anywhere.  I appreciate this is not
helpful, it is simply the reality. This
could particularly be the case if the
person who abducted her was a visitor in
the complex, or staying nearby. There is
also a good chance that whoever abducted
Madeleine had most likely driven there.
What can now be done by the police?  It is evident that the UK Police
are putting substantial resources into
the investigation. It is now two years
since the Metropolitan Police started
reviewing this case, and in this time,
we are told, they have interviewed 442
people, and examined a substantial
amount of telephone data from the days
around the offence. They have also
identified 41 people, who they claim to
be of interest, of which 15 are UK
nationals. These clearly cannot all be
suspects, but tracing them could
significantly assist in the
investigation. This is the correct
course of action, and should be allowed
to continue, until they either achieve a
result, whatever that may be, or totally
exhaust every avenue of investigation.
I would by now have hoped that everyone who was in the Ocean Club
and nearby at the time have been
identified and interviewed, whether they
were there as guests, residents or even
staff. However, it is my belief that
this is still not the case.
The reality is that as in any investigation and review what is
needed is going back to the basics. To
start at the beginning and work forward
and not the other way round. There are
three main avenues to solving any crime;
forensics, witnesses and interviews. In
this case, there are no reliable
forensics, there would seem to be no
apparent suspects, and therefore what is
left are the witnesses. This is where
the focus should continue to be.
Also, people both in the UK and throughout Europe should still be
asking themselves, what was their son,
brother or friend doing when they were
in the Algarve that week six and a half
In conclusion, I  still obviously cannot dismiss the possibility that
Madeleine was abducted by a paedophile
for a sinister purpose, and that she is
now dead. This is one line of enquiry
that the police must obviously continue
to investigate vigorously.
However I do not believe this to be the case, and have given my
reasons why. I’m sure many will disagree
with this; that is their prerogative. Is
believing that Madeleine is alive being
overly and unrealistically optimistic. I
do not think so, and until there is
categoric evidence to the contrary, I
will continue to believe this. Hopefully
those continuing the investigation share
this same belief.
14th October 2013