Thursday, 21 June 2007

Time line: What happened during the first hours after Madeleine’s abduction (I)

According to Times Online (May 27, 2007) “(..) Kate McCann went to check on her children, Madeleine and two-year-old twin brother and sister, Sean and Amelie, 30 minutes (…) after a a friend of the McCann saw a man carrying away "(..) a blonde-haired girl (..) from (...) the apartment, wrapped in a blanket at (...)9.30pm as she arrived late for dinner with Madeleine’s parents (...)" So, at 10.00pm, the McCann family found that Madeleine was missing.

The first call to Police Precinct of GNR (Portuguese Rural Police) in Lagos, reporting a missing child and asking for Police help was made around 10.50pm and a patrol was sent, arriving at Ocean Club 12/15 minutes later, according to Lieutenant-Colonel Costa Cabral, Head of Public Relations of GNR (email: cg.rep5@gnr.pt - Tel: (+351) 213 217 046). Between 10.00pm and 10.50pm, dozens of people came inside Mccann's apartment (friends, other guests, staff from Ocean Club) alarmed and willing to help in the search of Madeleine.

The GNR patrol, according also to Lieutenant-Colonel Costa Cabral, alerted Polícia Judiciária (Portuguese CID) immediately after they had the basic information to evaluate the situation, and they put on an alert of “missing child, possible kidnapping”. Crime scene, already heavily tampered, was isolated after police arrived, at a time that I couldn't yet confirm. First GNR Sniffers dogs teams arrive at the place during the night and, at the dawn, more sniffers dogs teams, who left from Lisbon at 3.00am, May 4, arrived at Praia da Luz.

This is confirmed on a story published by Guardian Online, at 2.30pm, Friday, May 4, and signed by “Mark Oliver and agencies”. Mark Oliver quotes Mr. John Hill, the manager at Ocean Club, as having said this:“(...) AROUND 60 STAFF AND GUESTS at the complex had SEARCHED UNTIL 4.40PM, WHILE POLICE NOTIFIED BORDER POLICE, SPANISH POLICE AND AIRPORTS (...) There is A CRIMINAL INVESTIGATOR HERE in charge of the situation and AROUND 20 OFFICERS (..).

Mark Oliver also wrote, on May 4, in the same story: “Assisted by sniffer dogs, police, who started the search last night, were today continuing to comb the resort and the village. Detectives were also speaking to guests at the resort, asking if they had seen anyone acting suspiciously last night (..)”

The next day, Saturday, May 5, Guardian Online published another piece, signed by Sandra Laville and Dale Fuchs. They wrote: “Police helicopters flew over Praia de la Luz yesterday as the hunt intensified for Madeleine McCann, who went missing from her bedroom in the apartment on Thursday night. Teams of officers used sniffer dogs to scour the resort, in the south-west of Portugal, where Gerald McCann, a cardiac surgeon, and his wife Kate, had taken their three young children (..)”

Mrs. Gill Renwick, a family friend, told BBC the McCanns, who had been holidaying with three other British families, had felt let down by police in Portugal. "I spoke to them this morning and they said the police had done nothing overnight and they felt as if they'd been left on their own. They just don't know where to turn", the Guardian Online wrote.