Timeline Of Police Hunt For Missing Child

Timeline Of Police Hunt For Missing Child
8 May 2007
Press Association National Newswire
Nicola Boden, PA

Here are the key moments in the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann and the subsequent police investigation into her abduction.

Thursday, May 3, 2007

:: Kate and Gerry McCann leave their three-year-old daughter and her two-year-old twin brother and sister Sean and Amelie in bed in their apartment and head for dinner at a nearby tapas restaurant.

:: The couple check on them regularly and at around 9pm, Mr McCann finds nothing amiss when he returns to their room in the seaside resort at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz.

:: His wife Kate goes to check on them again at 10pm and finds the shutter slid up, the bedroom window open and her three-year-old daughter gone.

:: They carry out their own quick search for Madeleine but find nothing and inform the police.

:: Fellow holidaymakers, staff at the resort and police spend most of the night searching frantically for the toddler.

Friday, May 4 2007

:: Sniffer dogs are brought in, the Spanish and border police and airports are notified and volunteer teams continue to comb the village, resort and beach throughout the day for any clues.

:: Fears grow that Madeleine has been taken against her will and her parents accuse the Portuguese police of not doing enough to find her.

:: Family friend Jill Renwick, in a television interview, says the McCanns do not know where to turn and feel let down by police in Portugal, who did 'nothing overnight''.

:: John Hill, the manager at the Ocean Club resort, describes the McCanns as 'distraught'' but says everyone is still hopeful Madeleine will be found safe and well.

:: The Policia Judiciaria - the Portuguese CID - refuses to comment on the investigation into the girl's disappearance.

:: Relatives including Madeleine's grandparents start flying out to Portugal to offer support to her parents as they continue to wait for news.

:: Madeleine's family release an official statement saying they believe she is still alive and that their focus is on assisting police to secure her safe return.

:: The British Ambassador to Portugal, John Stephen Buck, and Director of Mark Warner UK Operations Craig Mayhew also travel to the Algarve.

:: The McCanns later make an emotional plea to the gathered press, directly addressing their daughter's abductors, and speak of their 'anguish and despair''.

With his wife at his side clutching Madeleine's favourite teddy, Mr McCann asked: 'Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her Mummy, Daddy, brother and sister.''

Saturday, May 5, 2007

:: Police with tracker dogs scour the area as the anxious search enters its second day while hundreds of tourists, British expats and Portuguese residents also join the search.

:: Three Family Liaison Officers (FLO) from Leicestershire Police arrive in Portugal to support the three-year-old's family.

:: Madeleine's aunt Philomena McCann criticises the Portuguese police, claiming they had played down her disappearance and were being 'uncommunicative''.

:: Detectives reveal they do now believe the girl was abducted but is still alive and in Portugal, and that they have a sketch of a 'suspect''. Police also reveal they are considering she might have been abducted for sexual abuse.

:: Philomena McCann speaks out in another interview to say the family are elated about the police's belief Madeleine is still alive.

:: Mr McCann makes a fresh appeal for help and thanks the police for their efforts.

:: A colleague of Madeleine's mother offers a £100,000 reward for help in finding the missing three-year-old.

Sunday, March 6, 2007

:: The McCanns attend an emotional Mother's Day service in Praia da Luz and prayers are said for Madeleine and her family in both Portuguese and English.

:: Mrs McCann then breaks down with emotion as she addresses reporters to express her gratitude for the local community's support.

:: Questions arise about the Portuguese police's claim they have a 'suspect'' with the 24 Horas newspaper reporting the image they have put together is based only on the rear view of a man seen with a child in the area.

Monday, May 7, 2007

:: Police begin investigating a claim a man was seen dragging a girl towards a marina a short drive from the Portuguese resort where she went missing.

:: Portuguese media later report that police think the abductor may have been British but this remains unconfirmed by officers involved in the investigation.

:: Police and firefighters extended the search for clues to Madeleine's whereabouts to a nine mile radius around the resort.

:: Mrs McCann makes another personal plea to anyone holding her daughter, saying: 'Please, please do not hurt her. Please do not scare her. Please let us know where to find Madeleine or put her in a place of safety and tell somebody where.''

:: Her appeal comes as one public official, Marques Pereira, harbour captain at Lagos marina, conceded the possibility that Madeleine was dead by admitting they were also searching for a body as well as any other evidence.

:: Portuguese police later hold a chaotic press conference where they say they cannot give Madeleine's family any firm assurance that she is still alive or still in the region.

Chief Inspector Oligeario Sousa repeatedly says he cannot publish an artist's impression of a man seen acting suspiciously because he fears it could harm the case.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

:: Villagers in Madeleine's home village of Rothley, Leicestershire, hold a silent vigil to show they are thinking of the McCanns as staff at Leicester's three hospitals also join in prayer for the family.

:: Portuguese reports claim detectives are investigating British paedophiles with links to the Algarve.

:: Football superstar Cristiano Ronaldo makes his own appeal for help in tracing the missing three-year-old, and is later followed by fellow footballers John Terry and Paulo Ferreira.

:: An apparent sighting of the youngster is dismissed by Portuguese police as a false alarm. They say it was in fact a child that looked like Madeleine but lived in the area.

They also reveal the extent of their search, saying more than 350 suspicious incidents have been investigated.

:: British Ambassador John Buck moves to defend the Portuguese investigation as he emerged after an hour with the McCann family.
He reveals he has been in close contact with Portuguese Cabinet ministers and with the Prime Minister's office and Portuguese authorities, who have assured him everything possible is being done to ensure Madeleine's safe return.

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