Four months ago, a British couple, Kate and Gerry McCann, were holidaying with their four year-old daughter, Madeleine, and her two younger silblings in a resort in Portugal. One evening the McCanns were dining with friends in a tapas bar about a minute’s walk from their apartment. They checked on their children about every half hour. About 10 o’clock, to her horror, Kate McCann discovered her daughter missing and believed kidnapped.
Straightaway, the McCanns remained in Portugal and organized one of the biggest rescue campaigns in the history of child kidnappings. They held almost daily press conferences. They visited most of the countries in Europe and (the McCanns are both medical doctors and devout Catholics) in Rome they had a word with Pope Benedict who blessed a photograph of Madeleine. They promoted concerts featuring people like Elton John urging the return of their daughter. As a result their campaign to get Madeleine back was almost front page daily news in British papers and indeed papers around the world including the Montreal Gazette.
Now, in a bizarre turn that beggars belief, the Portugese police have named Kate and Gerry McCann as the prime suspects in their daughter’s alleged death. Kate has retained a lawyer who predicts his client will be charged.
Apparently police base their suspicions on blood matching Madeleine’s found in a car the McCanns rented 25 days after she disappeared. The supposition is that the McCanns had returned to the apartment and were disposing of their daughter’s body. The police also believe that Kate may have been sedating Madeleine and accidentally gave her an overdose. Kate McCann’s relative’s allege the police have offered Kate a plea bargain. If she will plead guilty to accidentally killing her daughter, she will do two years or less of jail time.
The situation as it now stands raises some puzzling questions. If the McCanns killed their daughter, accidentally or otherwise why did they hand around Portugal for four months. Why didn’t they just return quietly to England until the whole tragic business blew over which it would have. Secondly there has been enormous pressure on the local police to solve this case and get Portugal out of the international press. In pointing to the mother, are they grasping at straws?
Call me naiive, but I find it enormously difficult to believe that highly educated parents would mount a bogus campaign to get their daughter back knowing all the while that they had killed her. What would be their motive in such a fraudulent exerise?
Are you surprised by the incredible turn this case is now taking?
Can you think of any explanation that makes sense?