The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann (2019) s01e01 Episode Script

The Beneath Truth

1 [insects chirping] Police in Portugal are searching for a three-year-old British girl who is thought to have been abducted from her bed.
Madeleine McCann was on holiday with her family in a resort apartment on the Algarve.
Her parents were having dinner a short distance away and they discovered she was missing when they checked on the room.
[reporter 1] The shutters had been broken open and they've gone into the room and taken Madeleine.
[reporter 2] Sixty staff and guests carried out a frantic search until four o'clock this morning.
As time passes, the likelihood of safe recovery grows less.
[reporter 3] Now is the time to be looking.
It's only really just happened.
They don't want the trail to go cold.
[reporter 4] The couple and their families are completely distraught.
[man] It's unexplainable.
[woman] Children just don't disappear from their beds in the middle of the night.
I don't remember any child abduction case globally larger, more high profile, more impactful than Madeleine McCann.
If you made a dozen movies out of this, nobody would believe them.
It's the worst thing that you can possibly imagine happening to somebody, that their child disappears.
[woman] They had tried for years to have a child, eventually resorting to IVF, and giving birth to their first little girl, Madeleine.
[woman, continued] We first got involved in this story because we were watching the news one night.
Kate McCann was asked how long she would look for Madeleine.
And she said that she would look for her daughter forever.
And our little girl, whose own middle name happens to be Madeleine, turned to me and she said, "Mommy, would you look for me forever?" And of course I said the thing that every parent would say.
"Yes, of course I'd look for you forever.
" [birds singing] But then I went away and I thought about it as a journalist and I thought about, "What did it mean? What had the McCanns done? What was the story?" [man] The case appeared to be a great jumble of allegations and counter-allegations.
You need to build a very careful chronology, devote all your time, go on a mining expedition into the story 12 hours a day to be able to lay out, in the end, what every story is, to answer the question, "What happened?" [reporter 1] We've got more on that breaking news this hour.
A three-year-old British girl has gone missing in Portugal.
[reporter 2] They believe she is still alive and that they have a suspect in mind.
[reporter 3] Police and sniffer dogs on the streets [reporter 4] disappeared from her bed when they were having dinner [reporter 5] said a Portuguese man who was involved in the early searches [overlapping reporters' voices] A Russian man 200 yards from where Madeleine McCann We all want to be here for the salvation of Madeleine's 100 days since Madeleine McCann disappeared -[indistinct radio chatter] -Certain things about his behavior Police and sniffer dogs Suspected traces of blood in the McCanns' holiday apartment Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home.
[man] How you feeling? How did you find the scan? [woman] Gerry had a good job in Leicester.
Kate was working part-time as a GP while mostly staying at home with, by then, three young children.
She felt a bit uneasy.
She felt sort of a bit odd about the coming vacation.
In the end, it was a vacation that should never have happened.
[Gerry] Hang on, I think we're on video.
Get everyone in.
[Gerry] Oopsie! You all right? [woman] We went on the 28th of April, and there was nine adults and the kids.
It seemed like the ideal balance, really.
Having a family holiday, the kids having fun and not getting bored, and for us to have a little bit of time as well.
Madeleine, in particular, was having a ball.
[birds cawing] [Robbyn] The Ocean Club was one of several complexes in the village of Praia da Luz.
It was made up of purpose-built apartments and small villas, mostly self-catering.
It had four pools.
It had numerous tennis courts.
It had a kiddie club where toddlers and smaller children could be cared for during the day.
Mark Warner were the company that ran the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz.
[woman] To say it's a middle class holiday would be fair.
The children make friends in the kids' club and then the parents make friends or the parents meet because the dad sails and the other dad sails and then they arrange to meet for a drink and then the wives meet or they meet on the tennis court.
So it's a very social holiday in that respect.
My sister and I have been on a lot of Mark Warner holidays together, mainly because we play tennis, and being two ladies of a certain age, you people watch.
And we had spotted them as a group because they were having fun.
[man] We arrived literally the same Saturday that the McCanns and their party arrived at Praia da Luz.
It was a typical family holiday, really.
It's a Mediterranean resort.
The sun was shining for late April.
We were happy with that.
We knew Gerry from our tennis group.
He was well dressed, great sense of humor.
You don't actually stand talking an awful lot because obviously you're worried far more about your backhand or your lob.
[chuckles] [Neil] This is Jessica, my eldest, who was four and a half here, and she benefited most from the holiday by being part of the kids' club.
So this is Jessie here, playing ringleader.
And, uh, this is Madeleine here.
They were of the similar age, months in it, and they became thick as thieves.
[Neil] I remember they'd been out sailing, which I thought was quite brave of the kids' club, but they took them out on the sea.
And, um, they were together in the boat.
Jess's only real recollection from the holiday was where Jess lost her straw summer hat in the sea and Madeleine launching herself in to recover it for her, much to the alarm of the kids' club staff who swiftly grabbed her and dragged her back into the boat.
[Robbyn] One of the reasons they had chosen the Ocean Club was that it was a family-friendly resort.
It operated a night creche.
All of the McCann group decided that this really didn't suit them.
[Robbyn] Kate and Gerry thought they'd have to put them down too early and pick them up too late and they'd just disrupt the children.
[Anthony] The tapas restaurant was across the other side of the swimming pool below the McCanns' apartment, apartment 5A, 60 yards as the crow flies, about 100 yards if you walked down the street, under an archway, and then along beside the pool to the tapas, which was a canopied, pleasant place to sit.
It would seem the most convenient place to have dinner while leaving their children to sleep in their own rooms.
[Gerry] It seemed a fairly natural sort of thing to do.
It was so close.
You can actually see the apartment.
It didn't feel that different to dining out the back garden.
[Robbyn] The McCanns and their friends decided amongst themselves that they would operate what they thought of as a baby listening service.
Every 20 minutes or half an hour, they would get up and check on their own children, and that is what they did and did successfully through much of their holiday.
[Neil] In the afternoon on the Thursday, nearly a week into their holiday, the kids were particularly tired.
Sea air and being out on the boats all day.
Our intention was to put the kids to bed and then get a takeaway from the tapas restaurant to dine on our balcony.
[Robbyn] About half-past five, Kate went to meet the children where they were coming back from their respective kiddie clubs.
And Madeleine was very, very tired that night, she noticed it, and asked to be carried home.
Kate said she started to read a storybook about animals that has a little song in it about if you're happy and you know it, shout your name.
And the children barely made it through and Madeleine was almost asleep before the book was even finished.
Kate then went and got ready for the evening and had a first glass of wine while Gerry was getting ready.
He had come in while the children were having their final story and said his goodnights.
[Robbyn] By half-past eight, they were walking down to the tapas restaurant and getting settled there.
They were among the first to arrive that night.
Matt Oldfield reported to the McCanns when he arrived around nine o'clock that everything was quiet as he passed the McCanns' apartment on the outside.
[Robbyn] About 9:05, Gerry got up from the table to make the first check on his own children.
[Robbyn] He went into the apartment through the back patio door, which was unlocked, and went to the bedroom door and had what he described as "one of those proud father moments," looking in at his sleeping children and thinking how lucky he was.
[Anthony] At 9:25, Kate was about to leave to check herself when Matt Oldfield offered to check for her.
[Robbyn] He went into the apartment, again through the patio door, but didn't go into the room.
He said he saw some light.
He heard a sound as if it was one of the twins rolling over, but there was no other sound and he went away satisfied.
[Robbyn] At ten o'clock, according to the timeline given of the evening by Kate McCann, it was her turn to go to the apartment and have a check on the children.
She went to the apartment, again going in through the patio door, and was surprised looking toward the bedroom to see more light than she expected to see, and the door open more widely than she recalled it being open.
She got to the door and then a wind slammed the door shut.
[Robbyn] She opened the door again and this time realized that Madeleine's bed was empty.
[Robbyn] And the window was open, the shutters raised.
[Kate] I then just went flying out down to the tapas restaurant, shouting, "Someone's taken Madeleine!" And that's when the nightmare started.
[Jayne] Our tennis coach was running past us, and, um, I just said, "You're going the wrong way.
" And he said, "No, I'll be back in a minute.
One of the kids has gone missing.
" I left my sister in the bar and I went back up to find out what was going on.
And as I turned round the corner and went up, there was a lot more commotion now.
[Neil] Someone called up to us, calmly called up to us, "Excuse me," you know, "can you see from there?" or, "Have you seen a blonde-- young blonde child?" And it was at that point where the alarm was raised.
[Jayne] We bumped into this chap Jez, who was on our tennis team, and he said, "Isn't it terrible about Gerry's little girl?" And we said, "Oh, my God, I didn't know it was Gerry.
" [indistinct yelling] [Jayne] And that's when I heard that terrible noise.
It was Kate howling.
I could hear Kate howling.
And it was an animal sound.
I've only heard it twice in my life.
One was when my mother died and one was when my nephew died.
It's horrible and it's-- it's soul-destroying.
[Jayne] Your child's gone.
You know, how can anybody feel when their child's not lying in their bed? [Kate] "Not Madeleine, not Madeleine, not Madeleine," and I just remember saying that over and over again.
[Kate sighs] And Gerry was the same, you know.
It's kind of-- I'm not used to seeing Gerry obviously that upset.
I remember our friends shouting, "We need to close the borders," and they were shouting, "Morocco, Algiers! Roadblocks! We need roadblocks!" I just felt so helpless.
[Jayne] By now, word's out in Luz.
Basically, everybody was being called in.
I mean, all staff were there and obviously a lot of the guests.
[dogs barking] [Anthony] They went back to the apartment and waited and got more and more agitated about it and still people were running around in the shadows around the apartment.
And then the police didn't come.
Gerry went with a companion to the reception of the Ocean Club and urged them to call the police again.
A message diverted a couple of policemen in a patrol car and they headed rapidly for the Ocean Club.
[Robbyn] There are two different branches of the police that are involved in the McCann investigation.
One is the GNR.
They are sort of the equivalent of a small town police patrol unit.
They're the first on the scene.
[Neil] We wandered over to the Ocean Club.
You just can't carry on your evening eating and drinking and laughing if a child's gone missing.
So, whoever was available just went on the search.
[Neil] I remember the police just saying that she's probably wandered off and fallen asleep under a bush [in Portuguese] Allegations are emerging through the Which, to me, sounded ridiculous.
[David] I was on my boat in the marina with my friends and I had to come back and there were no lights on.
It should be open till two o'clock and there was sort of nobody here, except I think the manager was clearing up.
And I said, "What's going on?" And he explained that there's a child missing and everyone had gone to look for the child.
[Jayne] All along the beach, the children's play area There was a circle of area near the adult pool that I thought-- I've always said looked like a fairy circle so I was thinking for a child's mind.
We looked all round there.
Instantly, we were all the same people.
We were all a whole group of people with one purpose, one aim.
Myself and the guys, we'd suggested that a group of us bundle into a car and head north and suggested that we would spread out as long a distance as possible and head south through the resort towards the sea.
[Robbyn] At about midnight, the local head of the GNR unit decided he needed to alert someone in the PJ, who are the major crimes investigative unit.
[Gonçalo, in Portuguese] When the case landed, I was the coordinator of the investigations.
I was at the peak of my career after 30 years in the Judicial Police.
The Judicial Police is the highest criminal investigative body in Portugal, like the FBI of Portugal.
[Robbyn] Gonçalo Amaral was out having a very late dinner and sent an inspector and an investigator out to apartment 5A.
[in Portuguese] We came as soon as it was communicated to us.
Well, not right away.
We arrived after the National Republican Guard, the GNR, who also got there late.
The GNR were notified late.
This lateness triggered a delay to the sequence of events.
[Robbyn] When the investigator and inspector arrived, they were pretty horrified by what they found in terms of the lack of preservation of the scene.
[Gonçalo, in Portuguese] What we found was an empty place.
It was very messy with clothes, which is normal, as they were on holiday, but it was messy.
Many, many people had been in and out of Madeleine's bedroom and in and out of apartment 5A, doors and cupboards opened and closed.
Evidence had been trampled.
[Gonçalo, in Portuguese] We inspected the place as if it had been a robbery.
It is what you might call the most "minimal" inspection in terms of detail.
We eventually ended up back at the Ocean Club, where there was quite a big gathering.
It suddenly felt very, very serious and very, very sinister.
Kate McCann was certainly insistent that Madeleine had not wandered off.
She was quite insistent that she'd been taken.
[Anthony] After Madeleine vanished, it dawned on a member of the McCann party, Jane Tanner, that she might well have seen something extremely important.
At about 9:15, on her way back to look at her own children, she had seen a man crossing the road at the corner by the McCanns' apartment.
[Jane] I was walking up here to do the check and probably as I got to It's hard to know exactly where, but probably about here, I saw the man walk across the road there carrying the child.
[Anthony] The child appeared to be wearing light colored pajamas and to have bare feet, and it dawned on her after it was known that Madeleine had disappeared, that just maybe she had seen the abduction of Madeleine actually taking place.
[sobbing] [sighs] [Robbyn] At around 10 p.
m.
that evening, an Irishman named Martin Smith and his family, who had been in Praia da Luz on the night of Madeleine's disappearance, had seen a man carrying a little girl wearing pajamas.
They saw a man carrying a child on his shoulder.
Now, this was just before ten o'clock, about the same time that Madeleine McCann was discovered missing at the Ocean Club.
[in Portuguese] They crossed paths with a man who was carrying a child, as if the child was sleeping, blonde, around Madeleine's age, and the man was walking briskly.
She described the way he was dressed.
That last morning, May the 3rd, Madeleine said, "Mummy, why didn't you come last night when Sean and I were crying?" What had Madeleine meant and what had made her and Sean cry? If an abductor came, had he been there the previous night, been disturbed, maybe, or not gone through with his crime? [Robbyn] There was certainly a sense of frustration on the parts of both Kate and Gerry McCann.
They were understandably very, very anxious for things to be happening and happening fast and when they finally stumbled off to bed for a desperate hour at about four in the morning, alone, they woke early and went out before the first police officers returned and really felt that they were, you know, searching for their daughter on their own.
[Kate] Obviously, we were up all night and we just waited for that first bit of light.
It was about six o'clock.
[Gerry] And then we went out searching, the two of us, at daylight.
[Kate] And we were just searching through the undergrowth, through bushes.
[Gerry] We were saying over and over again, "Just let her be found, let her be found.
" [in Spanish] Good morning, Hector.
How are you? Good morning.
How's everyone doing? [in English] Hi, guys.
How are we getting on? All good? Funnily enough, I've kept the hotel bill from the first couple of days on the story.
Hotel Belavista, there you go.
From the beginning, right from the first day, from the 4th to the 5th.
I got a phone call incredibly early.
Normally if a job came in from the national newspapers in England, I'd get a call at 9:30 or half 8, perhaps, and it was 7 or 7:30 and it was the foreign desk at the Mail.
They quickly told me that a girl had gone missing, potentially kidnapped, in the south of Portugal in the Algarve and could I get there as quickly as possible to investigate? [male reporter] More on that breaking news this hour.
A three-year-old British girl has gone missing in Portugal.
It's thought that she may have been abducted.
She and her family were staying in a Mark Warner resort.
Obviously something awful has gone wrong there and we'll bring you more on that story as we find out [Sandra] In May 2007, the news came, a three-years-old girl disappeared from Praia da Luz and I was standing at my computer, astonished with the news.
"It's impossible, not in our country, not in Algarve.
Algarve is the safest place in Portugal.
" And my editor-in-chief told me, "Go immediately to Algarve.
" [female reporter] Praia da Luz in the Algarve.
We'll bring you more details on that as we While on the road, interestingly, I got phone calls from both the Mirror and The Sun also asking if I was able to cover this case, which is quite rare to have, you know, all the papers asking for you to cover it and so I agreed.
I said of course I would file for them as well and keep an eye on the story for them.
For me, these stories are often, you know, kind of mysterious, you know? Your job is to go and try and unravel what it is.
[Sandra] What motivates me being a journalist is to find the beneath truth that explains everything.
I have this feeling inside that I need to run for the news.
I need to be there and understand because that's my mission.
I just had time to go home, pick some clothes, and I was on my way to Algarve.
[Jon] I don't think they said whether it was a girl or boy.
I don't even think I had the age.
I didn't have any idea who the family were.
I fully expected to arrive there and for this child to have turned up and for it to have dissolved into a non-story.
[Sandra] I was thinking that we go there for two days, she was going to be found in the next hours.
[Jon] I remember driving in and thinking it was, you know, a fairly pretty place with nice sort of stone walls.
I'd never been here before, I didn't know anything about the village at all.
I'm pretty sure it's not famous for anything, really.
I don't think there's anything that any previous news stories or anything of particular note that's ever happened in Praia da Luz.
[Maria] I was growing up around this area all the time.
Me and all my friends.
That's me.
I loved it.
I loved being a child here.
[Barry] The real name is Praia da Luz.
It was Nossa Senhora da Luz, "Our Lady of Light.
" Well, you couldn't really get your mouth round that on a brochure, could you? So it's now been updated to Praia da Luz, which is "the beach of light.
" [reporter] The best thing about Luz is its beautiful, safe and sandy beach.
As you can imagine, it's extremely popular with British tourists in the high season but it's equally loved by the Portuguese.
In 1968, when I first came here, that is what this land looked like.
Just fields.
[Maria] My father was a fisherman.
But when the sea was rough, he couldn't make any money.
It was very hard.
There was no jobs.
[upbeat orchestral music playing] [announcer] Destination, the holiday coast of the Algarve.
[Barry] You wanted to give it the air of paradise and continental and summertime, making it look like it was a great place to come to and it was, no doubt about it.
[announcer] There are apartments, single and double story blocks in one part of the village.
They come fully equipped with all cutlery, crockery, and linen, and they have the benefit of maid service.
[Maria] It gave more work to everybody.
Like my sister, she was able to get a job being a maid and have a wage.
It gave more jobs to the local men as well because they were building more houses.
[Gonçalo, in Portuguese] There have been interesting episodes.
I remember many years ago when the tourists discovered that region, there was a British citizen who hoisted a flag by the beach.
He had a house by the beach and everyone was outraged.
All the fishermen said, "That is Portuguese territory!" [Barry] People like coming here and people like the thought of having a holiday home.
You know, saying, "I've got a villa in the Algarve," has a certain cachet about it.
[laughs] And people like that.
They say that the Algarve is Europe's best-kept secret.
Perhaps they're right.
[birds chirping] [David] This is the Mirage.
I built this 30 years ago.
We have a terrace with-- with sea views.
What has happened over the years is this town has grown and grown and grown so we have not much sea view left.
But that's progress.
For 25 years, it was the most popular bar in the area.
I met a lot of people.
So many bizarre people.
[David] Praia da Luz is a honeypot of unusual people, which I find very interesting.
A lot of people lie about who they are and what they've been.
They come down here and reinvent themselves.
There is a poem, it's called "Liar Land.
" "All silver shores and golden sands And every morning, every day, Another liar comes to stay.
" And it's true! [laughs] [Sandra] Algarve was always the paradise of the year.
I was so free there.
Very, very safe.
And this is the thing that doesn't fit in my mind.
How could this happen in the place where I was when I was a child and when I felt so, so secure? [Gonçalo, in Portuguese] The first time I went to the Algarve was on holiday.
The next time I went to the Algarve was to work.
They knew me from Lisbon, from prior investigations, and needed a good man and a good team there to fight drug trafficking.
[inaudible] [in Portuguese] Gonçalo Amaral, when he trained, was the best student in his year.
In fact, he trained under the current National Chief of Police.
So he was an intelligent guy.
[in Portuguese] There are lots of murders in the Algarve and in our country and bank robberies also occur and other violent crimes.
[Jon] The main opportunities here are involved in drugs and that's not necessarily for here, that's coming through here by the nature of its geography, by nature of how easy it is to land it.
[Gonçalo, in Portuguese] The Algarve is mainly a coastline of beaches and it's not far from Morocco, which is the center of production of cannabis or hashish resin for Europe.
In two and a half hours, they can get to the Algarve coast.
[Jon] In southern Portugal, the Eastern European gangs, the Balkan gangs, you've got four or five big gangs from the UK, from Germany, from France, everyone vying for attention down here, everyone finding opportunities.
[in Portuguese] Seventy percent or 80 percent of the hashish that was trafficked to Portugal was apprehended in the Algarve.
[birds calling] [Murat] I was living with my mother at the time.
I was in bed when she came and knocked on the door and she had told me that she had, um, heard it on the news that a child had gone missing in Praia da Luz.
[reporter] A very serious story is developing and is coming through to us.
We can speak now to Jill Renwick, who's a family friend.
Have they got any thoughts as to what might have happened? [Jill] She's been taken.
She's been taken.
That's all they know.
[Murat] Praia da Luz is very small.
We lived in a house called Casa Liliana, which was in the middle of the Ocean Club set-up.
I can remember them mentioning Ocean Club, so one of the things we discussed was having a look around the garden, um, because we have low fences, some of the fences are low.
So had a look around to see if we could see anything in the garden, which there was nothing.
We're at Casa Liliana, my mother's home here in Praia da Luz.
While I was in the garden, I'd met up or had a conversation with over the fence an English gentleman, um, and asked him if he knew what was going on, and he said that a, um, a three-year-old had gone missing and they were having problems communicating with the police.
That's when I suggested maybe I should go over there and he said, "Yes, that would be a very good idea.
" They were struggling making themselves understood and other people that were there with them were struggling to make themselves understood, and actually that's what I did have, the language skills, so that's the only thing I could bring to the table, were the language skills.
[Murat] I was driven, that's for sure.
I have a daughter that was relatively the same age as, um, Madeleine and I felt that everybody should do as much as they could to find her.
[Jill] The trouble is that the authorities, the people that might want to help to look to start with, but the police haven't been doing anything since about three o'clock in the morning.
There's a police car sitting there, but nobody's out looking.
They really need help out there.
I think this is it.
This is it.
Yeah, this is it.
This is now what was the Mark Warner complex, the Ocean Club.
This one here.
5 5A.
Where are we going, please? [indistinct chatter] [Jon] I said hello to them.
I introduced myself as a reporter from the Mail and they said, "Hi.
" I think they may have said, "Thanks for coming.
" That was really, unfortunately, all I could get out of them at that point.
So there wasn't much opportunity, sadly, to talk to the family about what had happened the night before.
Initially, there was maybe just a small bit of tape here in front of the apartment, the front and then a bit at the sides, where the patio doors were.
[in Portuguese] What happened, then? Yesterday, around 7:30 in the morning, her parents-- In the night, actually [Jon] And then there was a note on the steps leading up, saying, "Don't go past this point.
" We went up and looked in, the door was open, and I think I tried to speak to them.
I didn't-- I didn't want to push my way through the door into the apartment, which would have been a crime scene, so it wouldn't have been appropriate to do that, but I got the impression it wouldn't have been difficult at all to have sort of have walked in and had a look around.
You know, I don't think it was It certainly wasn't Fort Knox.
[Gonçalo, in Portuguese] The initial approach, I won't say it was done badly, but inadequate.
Why? In Portugal, the disappearance of a human being, the disappearance itself, is not a crime.
It can't be punished.
So the judicial police can't trigger any kind of investigation or use certain techniques and procedures, like wiretapping, for instance, or surveillance, et cetera, otherwise it would be treating it as a crime.
Disappearances continue to be considered, in Portugal, as merely something to be investigated.
[Robbyn] On the 4th, Kate and Gerry went into Portimão to give their statements about the incident to the police.
One of the things they had stressed was that their friend Jane Tanner had told them of having seen a man crossing the street carrying a small child in pajamas.
They firmly believed that Madeleine had been taken.
Kate and Gerry were interviewed, one at a time.
[Robbyn] The police officer sat laboriously typing up all of the answers.
The policeman at one point asked, "Kate McCann, is this your first trip to Portugal?" And she snapped back, "Yes, but it's going to be the last.
" The ground was being laid for what was going to be, in the end, a disastrous relationship.
[Gonçalo, in Portuguese] I witnessed the statements being given.
I didn't ask any questions, but I took part.
I did say to the mother of the child that, "Take it easy.
We will do everything in our power to find your daughter.
" [reporter] They've been searching all morning and last night, as have staff and guests.
For now, they have nothing to report.
Obviously, everyone here is extremely concerned.
One local I spoke to said that everyone who heard about it last night has been getting involved.
Photocopied pictures of the little girl are being handed out around town, and both the National Guard police and the crime squad are in.
So that's the state of affairs at the moment.
[woman] She's a doctor.
He's a cardiologist, a consultant.
Saves peoples lives and this is how he gets repaid? Somebody takes his kid! [sobs] [woman] Everybody was looking everywhere and the police were looking, everybody was looking.
I went looking to see if I could find anything.
I have six children and one of them was only three years old.
I was very sorry for the parents.
I prayed for the little girl.
I prayed a lot for her.
[Jon] This was a shop I went into, and as I came out of the shop, there was an expat woman.
She had a flyer, like a flyer, a picture of Maddy, and she was going round and they were putting them up on walls.
"Have you seen this girl?" And they had a few, a stack of them so I said, "Can I take one?" And really just started walking round the resorts.
[Jon] I'm a father of a small girl who was about to be two, in fact.
You felt it in the stomach.
It's a horrible feeling that, you know, someone's lost a child.
That summer, we'd been away in Majorca and we'd left a listening device in our room and gone down to a restaurant.
And you go, "By the grace of God" We were down the road slightly with our daughter upstairs in the room of a hotel, but 150, 200 meters away.
Everybody did that and all our friends would do that.
You know, it was just a case of as many people helping as possible.
[Jon] The shops were going on as normal, everything was going on relatively normal, apart from a few expats and a few locals who were sort of helping in this search.
[male reporter] It is a striking community effort.
Whenever we've got the spare time, we've just got to chip in a couple of hours or anything every day.
It's just got to be done.
There wasn't any any doubt in what we had to do.
We all We all started looking.
[Jon] There was a sense that a girl had walked off at night and maybe she was just gonna be found wandering around the field, she'd fallen down a hole, she'd tripped up, banged her head, that she was gonna be found.
There was a big trench here, from about here going down, leading down from about here all the way down the road, about this wide and about six foot deep, and there were two or three guys working in the trench.
You kind of think, "Could she be down there? Could she have fallen down there? Could they have buried her by accident?" [man] The Algarve, once you leave the main road and the tourist areas, there are wells all over the place.
I could take you a ten minutes' drive where I live there and you can just go and look down a well, which is, I don't know, 100 feet deep.
Uh, I'm sure the child didn't wander up there by himself, but you don't know, accidents can happen.
[Murat] I worked initially with the GNR.
In Portugal, we have multiple versions of police and in Praia da Luz, we have the GNR.
They cover anything outside of major towns.
And it was small translations of people who may have seen sightings or what they thought might have been something of importance.
So I went around and worked with the police and just just, um, helped out.
Between myself and the police, we set up little groups to go and knock on doors.
In apartments, through the blocks that were around, and talked to people and asked them if they'd seen or heard anything.
[Murat] It wasn't deep searches.
It was just literally talking to them and asking them if they'd seen or heard anything and just having a quick look around.
[reporter] Well, police have just temporarily broken off their search.
They've been searching all morning and, as you said, last night, as have staff and guests.
For now, they have nothing to report.
Obviously, everyone here is extremely concerned.
One local I spoke to said that everyone who heard about it last night has been getting involved.
Photocopied pictures of the little girl are being handed out around town and both the National Guard police and the crime squad are involved.
[female reporter] Officers have launched a nationwide hunt, alerting ports and airports.
At the resort, sniffer dogs have been scouring the area for clues.
We're trying searching everywhere around here [male reporter] As news spread, holidaymakers, resort staff, and villagers joined the operation.
We set up a strategic search from the right-hand side of the village across to the left.
Okay, my name is José Dias.
 I am responsible for the Algarve Tourism Board.
There is a little bit of negligence from the parents leaving, but I'm very surprised.
This is, uh It's a strange case.
Now, how come a child disappears suddenly from a an apartment? I'm still very stunned with what's happening.
So, as the time goes by, I I feel a little bit worried.
[interviewer] It's not good for the reputation of the area.
Of course it is not, but I understand as well that after the first thought, after the first way of reaction, people will consider that what happened here could happen everywhere.
[man] I heard about Madeleine's disappearance initially via media.
At the time, I was running the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
And I was also simultaneously running the International Center for Missing & Exploited Children.
Today, if your child is reported missing, using technology and the latest information systems, we're getting missing child photos out to the public and to law enforcement almost instantly.
What we've seen in the United States and elsewhere, uh, and it's very frustrating to parents, is there's some cases that attract mass media, there's some cases that attract very little attention.
My view was always that the determiner was the circumstance of the case.
There was a transcendent case in the United States in 1979 in New York.
[reporter] Police and neighbors have combed the area around the missing boy's home at 113 Prince Street several times over to no avail.
[Ernie] A little boy named Etan Patz, the image of that child was seared into the brains and the souls of millions of Americans.
[reporter] What are your thoughts now? Do you think the kid is still alive? [Ernie] Six years old, abducted on the first day he was allowed to walk alone to the bus stop.
The chances-- Each day, the chances of the boy coming back alive are less and less.
I hope he's with somebody wiser than he, who will take care of him.
[Ernie] There were lots of other child abduction cases at that time.
What was it about that case? The circumstance.
Julie Patz says she took her son downstairs, she came back up and watched from this fire escape as he passed down West Broadway towards the bus stop, where a group of other children and parents were waiting.
She never dreamed he didn't get on that bus, not until four o'clock in the afternoon when he failed to return home.
Do average people, average parents identify with the circumstance? Does a parent think, "There but for the grace of God go I"? [Ernie] A little boy named Adam Walsh became a transcendent case in 1981.
[reporter] Adam vanished from a Sears toy department in a Hollywood mall.
The child wandered away from his mother in a Sears store in a shopping mall in South Florida.
We want to help them How many parents walk an aisle away from their child? [man] We were lucky.
We were lucky to have him for six and a half years.
He was a beautiful little boy.
His murder and abduction changed our lives forever Madeleine's story was like that.
If your child isn't safe at a resort, where people are having fun and enjoying themselves, where is she safe? So it translates to every parent everywhere, uh, and the circumstances made it news.
[reporter 1] More on that breaking news, a three-year-old British girl has gone missing [reporter 2] She was asleep in her hotel room at the Mark Warner Ocean Resort in Praia da Luz.
I was a general correspondent in northern Spain, in Bilbao, to cover a completely different story about a sailing race.
[Hall] Thirty thousand miles behind him People started to talk about the fact that there was this story developing down in Praia da Luz.
It's a missing child in a holiday resort in the summer.
It's going to connect to an awful lot of people.
We are talking about a three-year-old girl.
Everybody has children.
Everybody's afraid of losing one.
For us, it was a no-brainer.
We needed to get there.
We dashed to the airport, flew to Madrid, Madrid to Praia da Luz.
Hired a car and drove like mad, and we literally pulled up at five to six, just in time for The Six O'Clock News that night.
Let's join Robert Hall, who's on the Algarve for us tonight.
Robert.
Well, Ben, Gerry and Kate McCann are still in shock tonight, awaiting news of their missing daughter.
We're heading towards 24 hours since she disappeared.
It's an event that shocked not only holidaymakers in this resort, but also the inhabitants of this little Portuguese town.
They've all been involved [Jon] At around five or six, there was build-- it was starting to build up.
There were already people arriving, journalists, someone may have come down from Lisbon.
I remember the local Portuguese press arriving.
[speaking Portuguese] [Sandra] When I've arrived there, we were not many journalists at that moment, maybe five or six.
We were all facing something that we didn't understand at all.
And the main question was, how on Earth was it possible for somebody to abduct a young child and walk away, or something, without anybody seeing it? Nobody found nothing.
[interviewer] Do you live here? Do you think it is safe to live here? Yes, it's very safe.
[Hall] This is a holiday resort.
There's people all over the place.
Not to do with us, people just wandering about.
[Sandra] From a safe resort in Algarve in our safe country In their conversations with the police, Madeleine's parents have made it clear that whilst they didn't take up the offer of child care, they were confident that because the restaurant was so close, it's just over this hedge, they could get back to the apartment regularly to check on the children.
The police are also trying to work out why, if little Madeleine did wander into the street, she wasn't spotted by somebody in the many apartments that overlook it.
I can't recall in my career going to a story like that where it had happened in those circumstances and in that environment.
It was a mystery.
[female reporter, in Portuguese] The English Ambassador arrived in Lagos with a team of British investigators specialized in cases of this nature.
-I have -[camera shutters clicking] been in touch with the National Chief of Police during the course of the day and also with the Chief of Police here in the Algarve, and they have assured me that everything possible is being done.
There is an intensive and extensive search and investigation underway and that will continue during the night.
We gathered here, hoping to, uh We were told that at some point, there would be an opportunity to speak to the family, that there was gonna be some sort of press conference.
[in Portuguese] A statement from the judicial police and a statement from the parents.
We know that in British and North American tradition, parents who go through such things make direct appeals via television to A lot of local Portuguese press and some British journalists, but it wasn't huge, it hasn't really exploded.
They moved the McCanns a couple of apartments down.
And they came out and this was where the press conference was, standing there.
[camera shutters clicking] [Hall] It was clearly very, very difficult for Gerry, that first night.
We've got a very short statement to make.
[man] Sir, could you step forwards, please? [Hall] It was very raw and very early.
[man] It's just for BBC and ITN because of the microphones.
We've got a short statement to make.
"Words cannot describe the anguish and despair that we are feeling as the parents of our beautiful daughter Madeleine.
We request that anyone who may have any information related to Madeleine's disappearance, no matter how trivial [Sandra] At that moment, all you see is suffering.
I remember that I was keep saying to myself, "You can't cry.
You are reporting, you can't cry," but at the same time, I feel that this is not news, this is not a story.
This is their life.
Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her mummy, daddy, brother, and sister.
As everyone can understand how distressing the current situation is [Jon] It was, uh, an incredible moment.
You had been working all day, trying to piece together what had been going on, and it just brought it home.
[Sandra] I saw a lot of male journalists not crying, but feeling in pain.
This is not solved.
This is not good news.
There's no body.
No one knows where she is.
It's almost 24 hours later and no one's any the wiser at all.
We ask that our privacy is respected to allow us to continue assisting the police in their investigation.
Thank you.
[male reporter] For the McCanns, it is now a matter of praying for a breakthrough.
You don't have a corpse, you don't have a lead, you don't have people to interview, you have nothing.
[camera shutters clicking] [reporter] Let's go to our top story, police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann in Portugal say they are now treating a British man as a suspect who lives just a few hundred meters from the holiday complex where Madeleine was staying with her family.
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