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Who Killed Madeleine McCann?

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who killed madeleine mccann?

It was the case that took the world by storm, probably because it touches on every single parent's great nightmare. A toddler, deeply asleep after a day of fun on the beach, is taken from her family hotel room and never seen again. This is exactly what happened to three-year-old Madeleine "Maddie" McCann, and while the events transpired more than a decade ago, this case is still unsolved. Thankfully, a recent Netflix docuseries, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, has brought Maddie's story to a whole new audience and could shine a light on new evidence that may help solve the case and finally find the missing little girl. 

So what exactly happened the night Madeleine disappeared? Who is lying, and who is telling the truth? Is Madeleine McCann still alive? If not, who killed Madeleine McCann? We answer all of these questions and discuss the most likely explanation behind her tragic disappearance that night so many years ago. 

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1. The Disappearance

Madeleine McCann was reported as missing on May 3, 2007, at 10:14 p.m. Madeleine was on vacation in the Portuguese beach resort town of Praia de Luz along with her parents, Kate, and Gerry, and her younger twin siblings. 

Kate and Gerry claim that Madeleine and the twins were asleep in their room when they decided to go to a nearby tapas restaurant for dinner. Leaving your children alone in an unlocked hotel room while you go eat and drink may be viewed as being irresponsible, but there are other factors that you should know.

Firstly, the restaurant in question was 150 yards away from the hotel room where the family was staying. In fact, it is technically visible from the outside area where Kate, Gerry and the rest of their party were sitting. That said, it was almost impossible to see if anyone was going in or out of the apartment from that particular vantage point. 

Something else worthy of note, the McCanns weren't traveling alone, they were on a group trip with two other families who also left their sleeping children alone when they left for dinner. The group decided to take turns during dinner making the rounds to check the children. When Kate went to take her turn, she claims she found Madeleine was gone and the window and the shade open. 

2. The Parents as Suspects 

In the initial period following Madeleine's disappearance, her parents were not considered suspects. That all changed after the police found that not only were Kate and Gerry's claims about that night inconsistent, but their friends at the table were also unable to tell a cohesive story about what really happened. Additionally, the McCanns' pediatrician told police that the parents had asked them about using the cough medicine Calpol on their children to help them sleep while they took the trip, leading some to suspect the McCanns may have accidentally overdosed Maddie, causing her death. Added to this was the turning tide of sentiment against the McCanns as they traveled all of Europe giving press conferences about Maddie, something that was deemed unusual and insensitive.

These factors led the Portuguese police to invite two trained scenting dogs to investigate the scene, a blood-sniffing dog and a cadaver-sniffing dog. The dogs were taken separately into both the garage where the McCanns left their rental car and into the villa where they stayed themselves. Both dogs found trace amounts of blood and cadaverine in identical places in the hotel room and inside of the car that the McCann's rented. However, the animosity between the McCanns and the Portuguese police led many to speculate that the police may have planted evidence to implicate the parents of the crime. 

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3. Other Suspects In The Case  

The McCanns were not arrested for the crime, though they both were named official witnesses. However, they weren't the only ones who were questioned or suspected in relation to the disappearance. British ex-pat Robert Murat, who lived with his mother just a quick walk from the beachside resort where Madeleine was staying, was the first suspect officially named by the authorities. Murat immediately volunteered as a translator, being fluent in both English and Portuguese.

He also cozied up to the press in a way that garnered notice. He confided in one reporter that he had a daughter Maddie's age and was, in fact, going through a painful divorce from her mother. Add to this the fact that Murat had a distinctive appearance due to being blind in one eye, and you had the perfect suspect. Murat was eventually cleared of all charges but still suffers from the way he was treated for simply trying to help a frantic family. 

Eyewitnesses reported seeing a man walking away from the resort with a sleeping child over his shoulder, but they were unable to give descriptions. In fact, countless people throughout the country and the UK reported seeing Madeleine, but none of these reports were ever corroborated. 

The most popular theory currently held is both positive and negative. The positive is that since nobody has ever been recovered, the police now suspect that the little girl is still alive. However, the negative side here is that they believe she may have been abducted and sold on the black market. Being a white child, she would have extreme "value" in the eyes of potential slavers. There have been reports of a young woman matching Madeleine's description seen in Mauritius, a known location in the white slavery market. 

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Rebecca Jane Stokes is a writer living in Brooklyn, New York with her cats, Batman and Margot. Her work focuses on relationships, pop culture and news. For more of her work, check out her Tumblr