missing: madeline mccaan (theory)

Typically, the true crime posts I write such as The Beaumont Children or Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm? are factually based posts with (what I hope) is a high level of objectivity.  However, I was requested to discuss my theory on the Madeline McCann case so this Missing/Unsolved will be opinionated.

I have decided not to go into extensive detail about her disappearance, although I will give you the basic facts and discuss the reasons behind my theory whilst talking about it. Her case is one of the most publicised in the world, so I believe most people will have knowledge of her disappearance that does not require me to write about it. If you are not familiarised with it, you can read about Madeleine McCann here.

Quick disclaimer: I am in no way stating that this is definitely what happened to Madeline, nor am I claiming to have any personal factual evidence regarding what happened to her. Regardless of what happened to her, a little girl is still gone and family members deserve to know the truth behind her disappearance. As ever, I hope that the true nature of what happened to her is discovered.

Madeline Mccann (aged three at the time of disappearance) went missing in May 2007, from a holiday apartment in Portugal. Herself and her two younger siblings were left alone whilst their parents attended dinner with friends in a restaurant 55 meters away, with her mother discovering she was missing at 10pm. There have been many theories regarding her disappearance, from a burglary gone wrong to the parents to an abduction of some kind.

Now, I was always stuck on the fact her parents had done it. Honestly, it is horrible to accuse a parent of hurting their child however it does happen, and it does seem like a plausible theory. I could comment on the fact two educated doctors leaving their young children alone in a hotel apartment in a country they do not know is an unbelievable thing to do, however, it wrongly does happen. What I find odd is the confidence that their children would sleep throughout the night without any disturbance. The suspicion starts when you look at the fact one of the people they were dining with went in to check on the children at 9:30pm that night, the final check before Kate (Madeline's mother) discovered she was gone. He states that he could see the twins breathing, but could not verify that Madeline was in the room at the time. Yet, to see the younger children breathing he would have had to look over Madeline's bed. However, he has also reported that he never went into the bedroom to actually check on the children. Although this does not prove anything, it just seems odd that he cannot confirm she was in the room at that time which could perhaps contribute to a bigger set-up.

Next, once Kate had discovered her daughter was missing, she returned to the restaurant screaming 'they've taken her' however, there was zero evidence to suggest an abduction, it was perfectly plausible at that point that Madeleine had simply woken up and gone on a walk. A couple of hours after the disappearance, Kate was put in contact with a member of the English Child Protection Services, where she told the woman she was talking to that a couple had taken her daughter. Once again, there was no evidence to prove an abduction at that moment in time, and why would she say a couple? As well as this, Kate was asked 48 questions following her daughter's disappearance, including questions such as 'Assuming that Madeleine was abducted, why did you leave the twins to go to the 'Tapas' and raise the alarm? The supposed abductor could still be in the apartment' and 'Who contacted the authorities?'. Mostly simply questions, which would not have required a ton of thought. During the search for Madeleine on the night she went missing, Kate simple sat on the bed and did not contribute at all, if that was your child would you not do everything to find them, especially as the first 72 hours in any police investigation is crucial. 

The same as in any missing persons investigation, police look for those in the area at the time that could help identify any persons of interest. On the night of Madeleine's disappearance, a family witnessed a man carrying a young child towards the beach at 9:55pm. They believed it was not unusual, as many fathers carry their children about late at night. However, they soon started to doubt themselves and gave a description to a sketch artist, a drawing that suspiciously looks a lot like Gerry McCann (Madeleine's father) who had also been seen just five minutes away from the spot the family saw the man carrying the child.

Like many other police cases, about two months after Madeleine's disappearance the sniffer dogs were sent in to see if they could discover any evidence. These trained sniffer dogs which alert police only to blood/human corpses took interest behind the sofa in the room, and under the veranda in the room of the parents. They also sniffed out the parent's rental car and alerted police to the trunk focusing on Kate's clothes and Madeleine's toys. What is also very odd about this case is that Kate washed Madeleine's favourite toy before the sniffer dogs turned up, saying it was to remove the smell of the sun-tan lotion. However, Kate had previously commented on how it was comforting as it smelt like her daughter if that was the case, why wash it?

Madeleine had a very unique birth defect in her eye, something the police told Gerry and Kate not to inform the press. If the abductor caught wind of a something possibly making her more recognisable, they would have more of a reason to kill her. However, the parents did not listen to this and instead made it the main focus of their pleas. Odd if you have been given expert police advice regarding the best possible way to keep your child alive. As well as this, there have been comments on how their body language in interviews to this day give common signs of deception. When asked if they hurt their daughter, Gerry (who takes the lead in all interviews) states all the reasons why they could not have done it instead of firmly asserting that they did not. Are they trying to defend themselves too much? An investigative criminal profiler has stated that he believes there is no evidence to suggest an abduction either at the scene or since as well as it being very unlikely based on the time frames. He believes that there was most likely an accident and Madeleine has been moved to a discrete location where she will never be found. He also argues that a sex-trafficking ring would not take a British girl as they know that it would attract a lot of public attention.

I agreed with this theory. For a very long time in fact. I thought that the parents had perhaps overdosed their daughter on sleep medication (especially as the young twins continued to sleep even when the apartment was packed with people) and had then dumped her body. Then I decided perhaps Madeilene had woken up in a haze, had tried to leave through the door and when she realised she could not, had gone over to the open window to look for her parents. From there, she had fallen behind the sofa, pulling the blinds as she fell, hit her head and died. The people in the bar with Kate and Gerry had helped them cover the murder up, or at least the one guy who went to check on the children at 9:30pm. They placed her in the car and dumped her body at a later date. I still think it is a plausible theory (as far as it can be, of course, there is evidence etc. that has not been released in the public domain yet) and if it turns out that the parents did have some involvement, I think it will be an accidental death. 

However, I have started to edge more on the side of a simple abduction. Yes, there are some odd things about this case. Kate has acted very strangely especially, however perhaps that is just her way of dealing with grief. Shouting 'they have taken her' may have been her first thought, as her mind just went straight to an abduction. Perhaps that possible sighting of Gerry is just an example of reconstructive memory gone wrong, where people base their recall on preexisting knowledge. The sniffer dogs never discovered any actual evidence such as blood particles in any place they searched, meaning there remains no concrete evidence surrounding a possible death. Getting quite a few people to agree on a story and cover up a child's death is probably difficult, did the people they went to dinner with actually have any involvement? Perhaps Gerry and Kate thought her unique eye would help the investigation and released it anyway as they thought that was what was best for their daughter. That leads to the theory that she was taken by a paedophile or sex-trafficking ring, most likely the latter. Although there were a string of sex attacks on young girls in the area in the years up to 2007, paedophiles are more likely to take older girls and rarely risk-taking children from inside of buildings. If their victim ends up dead, the body is more likely to be found nearby as they are likely to panic. However, a sex-trafficking ring has been the key theory surrounding her death for years. There are sightings that suggest in the days leading up to Madeline's there were many men acting suspiciously, perhaps even taking photos of her on the beach. It seems plausible that they could have been watching her, and took the opportunity to take her whilst her parents were out. Although there have been suggestions that the time frame would not allow for this, many people have suggested that the abductor was still in the room when Kate went in to check on her children and left once she ran to inform the others.

In a nutshell, my original theory is that she hit her head and died and that the rest was a cover-up. However, as the years ago by and the search goes on, it seems odd that the parents would continue to drag her disappearance on so publicly when they know the truth behind what happened to her. Obviously they would have to carry on pleading for her to make it seem more plausible, however, if you had hurt your daughter you would have a little more refrain from the public eye. That is why I have started to lean a little more towards the belief that the little girl was simply abducted. As I have previously mentioned, I am not stating this is what happened to her, it is simply an idea based on the facts open to the general public. Either way, I hope that the truth behind Madeline's disappearance is revealed one day.

What is your theory/belief surrounding her disappearance? Do you believe her parents had some involvement, or do you think it was just an abduction? Perhaps you have another theory? Let me know!



  1. Such an interesting theory, Elise!

    Shirley | https://shirleycuypers.blogspot.be

  2. This is such an interesting post! Xx
    Www. dellalovesnutella.co.uk

  3. This is such an interesting theory! I love how you formulate each and every possibility, go through everything that's been disclosed in the case and then come up with your ideas. You're clearly not coming up with random ideas; you clearly worked hard to get this theory done. I defiinitely appreciate the amount of work you've out into this and reading your criminal theory posts is always a pleasure because it's so much like watching a crime show but sadly about real cases. Loved this!

    I certainly hope the little girl's disappearance is answered soon, and I too believe her parents to not be guilty. They would not continue dragging about the case and continue defending themselves if they did make a mistake and want it covered up. It's sad if someone abducted the little girl or was taken by a trafficking ring, and I hope the culprit gets taken in soon.

    1. It means a ton to me that you enjoy my True Crime cases! Thank you so much for the lovely comment X

  4. Very interesting theory. This case has always grabbed me. You pointed out some really good things as well. It could be that she died and it was covered up, but still believe that abduction is very possible too. Some people even have claimed to see her at some point much later on.
    There's so many weird things going around in the world. It wouldn't suprise me if this was another Natascha kampusch situation. I hope the mystery will be resolved at one point.

    1. It would not surprise me if it was another one of those cases too! Thank you for the fab comment X

  5. I've done some research into this theory too and to be honest I think I agree with this theory!

  6. I'm still so unsettled as to what I think happened to Madeleine, I think deep down most people believe her parents had something to do with it whether it was accidental or not. This is how I find it so baffling that they seem to have been able to drag it on for this long and bring out books and whatever! It's a really sad thing to happen but I think it's quite unbelievable that the case is still going when so many others that are just as important if not even more so, are closed. This post kept me hooked until the very end though, great theories!
    Alice Xx

  7. Very interesting 🤔 I do think it was the parents and it was an accident like she had fallen or she had choked on her own vomit 🤔 They probably started out thinking we will make out that she went missing since then they've started to believe their own theory thats why they've been in the public eye for so long 😮 Didnt the police find blood in their car and a syringe? Or were they rumours? 🤔

  8. You might just want to go over this and change your spelling of Madeleine** as you missed out the E.


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