A former detective turned investigative journalist has drawn the unfortunate conclusion that it’s “unlikely” Madeleine McCann will ever be found, leaving the three year old’s fate a mystery.
Madeleine went missing from her bed at a resort while holidaying with her parents in Portugal on May 3, 2007. The case of the then three-year-old’s disappearance attracted considerable global attention. Despite a long-running investigation, Madeleine’s whereabouts remain unknown to this day.
A major breakthrough was made in the case when prosecutors from the Faro Department of Criminal Investigation and Prosecution (DIAP) announced in a statement on Thursday, April 21 that a “person was made an arguido” which translates to a person of interest or suspect.
“As part of the investigation into the circumstances surrounding the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in 2007, a person was made an arguido on Wednesday,” the statement said.
“The person was made an arguido by the German authorities in execution of a request for international judicial cooperation issued by the Public Ministry of Portugal.
“The investigation has been carried out with the cooperation of the English and German authorities.”
Despite the most recent breakthrough and the long running and extensive investigation, there have been no answers as to the toddler’s fate.
After examining the evidence himself, investigative journalist Mark Williams-Thomas believes the theory with the most weight to it is that Madeleine left the hotel room her family was staying in to look for her parents.
“My conclusion is that on that night of Madeleine’s disappearance, she woke up, looking for mum and dad, and she’d been told the following morning that if she were to wake up, the parents were only in the tapas bar, which was just across the courtyard,” he told the Extraordinary Lives podcast.
“What we do know is that her brother and sister had woken up on the previous nights a number of times, and I suspect as a result of that, Madeleine thought, well, where is mum and dad, as they’d been out on those previous nights as well.”
“So I believe she woke up, she left the apartment, we know the apartment was insecure, the back patio door was open to allow some flow of air, it was very hot.
“And so I believe she got up and went wandering looking for her parents.”
Williams-Thomas then claimed that given the evidence, Madeleine likely “would have been dead within 72 hours”.
“Evidence tells us, through the FBI child abduction manual, which is very detailed and very good, because they’ve got 10 times the child abductions/stranger-child abductions as we’ve had in the UK, that she would have been dead within 72 hours,” he claimed.
When questioned whether the protracted investigation would ever provide any solid answers as to the toddler’s fate, Williams-Thomas believed “it’s probably unlikely”.
“But I always use the caveat that we have to remain positive that one day we will,” he said.
Although what happened to Madeleine still remains a mystery after so many years of police work, her parents have never given up hope that she is “alive” and they will one day “be reunited with her”.
After authorities named a suspect in their daughter’s case, Madeleine’s parents took to Facebook to issue an official statement on the development regarding their “beloved daughter”.
“We welcome the news that the Portuguese authorities have declared a German man an “arguido” in relation to the disappearance of our beloved daughter Madeleine,” the statement said.
“This reflects progress in the investigation, being conducted by the Portuguese, German and British authorities. We are kept informed of developments by the Metropolitan police.
“It is important to note the “arguido” has not yet been charged with any specific crime related to Madeleine’s disappearance. Even though the possibility may be slim, we have not given up hope that Madeleine is still alive and we will be reunited with her.”
The investigation into Madeleine’s disappearance remains ongoing.