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New Evidence Suggests Madeleine is Alive?
Aired January 29, 2014 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HLN HOST: For many years, the case of missing child Maddie McCann has been considered a cold case -- cold. But in a stunning reversal on our Independence Day, July the 4th, British Scotland Yard makes an official announcement that there is a possibility that Maddie McCann is still alive.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Now to a possible break in a 6-year-old cold case. Maddie McCann -- you remember that name and this face -- was just shy of her 4th birthday when she disappeared on vacation with her family while in Portugal. Now British police say they are targeting 38 people in the case -- 38 -- in the hopes that the little girl could still be alive. It`s clearly a bittersweet development for her parents, who have really never given up the search and given up hope that Madeleine could one day return home.
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GRACE: For them to go out on a limb and actually make an announcement is incredible. Very often, they conduct operations and investigations without anyone ever knowing it. But to come out and formally announce -- Scotland Yard -- to formally announce that Maddie McCann may very well still be alive was a shocker.
This is what we know. We know that the British PM, the prime minister, ordered the Yard to re -- Scotland Yard -- to reopen the case.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Madeleine McCann was 3 years old when she disappeared from a resort in Portugal six years ago. Now British police say they have new leads and are re-opening the investigation, called Operation Grange. They want to question 38 people across Europe, including 12 British nationals who they believe were in Portugal at the time.
Madeleine`s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, have campaigned tirelessly to keep her in the public`s memory while still raising two other children.
KATE MCCANN, MADELEINE`S MOTHER: I don`t want them to go through that emotion. And I don`t really want them to have the burden of -- of this, of having to keep looking and looking and looking and not being able to stop, you know? So we need to find her now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: British police say their help from private investigators has made a difference. And after 16 visits to Portugal and reviewing more than 30,000 documents, police are hopeful.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Police have released this photo of what Madeleine may look like at 9 years of age. She has now turned 10. And authorities are asking the public to help find this little girl, wherever she may be.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: They called it Operation Grange. We also learn that the Brits now say that they have genuinely new lines of inquiry, that they have new witnesses and they have new evidence. All in all, we have learned they believe that there are 38 -- repeat, 3-8, 38 -- POIs, persons of interest. At least 12 of those POIs are U.K. -- United Kingdom -- U.K. nationals.
Now, let me point out that from what we know right now, none of the 38 persons of interest are connected in any way to Maddie`s family, to the McCanns.
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KATE MCCANN: First of all and crucially, that it`s a real possibility that Madeleine could still be found alive. As you know, the Metropolitan Police released a new age progression last week. We believe this is what Madeleine would look like today, as she approaches her 9th birthday next weekend.
If you have seen a little girl who looks like this or if see a little girl who looks like this, please contact the police immediately. Please don`t hesitate. Just contact them straight away.
If you were in or around Praia da Luz between the 28th of April, 2007, and the 3rd of May and haven`t yet spoken to the police, police do so. Even if you don`t think you have any information that might be significant, all information is important. It helps the police to build a picture of who was there, where and when.
GERRY MCCANN, MADELEINE`S FATHER: I can`t tell you what a difference it`s made to us to know that the authorities in this country are now actively pursuing Madeleine.
KATE MCCANN: I actually felt really encouraged because I could see Madeleine in the image, so it didn`t look unusual. It didn`t particularly strike me as a child I didn`t know at all. Because of that, I feel like this could be a real useful investigative tool.
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GRACE: We have also learned in the last weeks that the Brits have formally asked to set up shop as an investigating unit in Portugal and that they are headed to Portugal as we speak.
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CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: It seems more like logic than leads that fuels their idea that she could still be alive. But your theory is that this case has never really been closed, right?
LOU PALUMBO, RETIRED NASSAU CO., NEW YORK POLICE OFFICER: That`s correct. That`s my assertion. I believe this case was never closed by the British authorities. I think they were less than impressed by the investigation that was conducted by the Portuguese authorities. And as they`ve indicated in certain articles and reports, they were reviewing how the investigation was conducted, and now they`ve opened their own. And as we now know, they have 38 people of interest.
CUOMO: Help me understand that number. It seems so large, 38 persons of interest, as we say in the legal language. How do you get to that number?
PALUMBO: People that know each other, associations. What they may have done, Chris, for example, is conducted their own investigation to determine who may have been in proximity of the McCann family when they were in Portugal and start to track and trace people through cell phone records or relationships.
And that`s how it just kind of grows like a tree. It`s kind of like making a watch list, in a sense.
CUOMO: You believe that the suggestion is this wasn`t some one random person who was looking to be a predator for a child. You believe this was more organized.
PALUMBO: Yes, I believe -- my theory is that this -- this poor little girl was abducted for the purpose of trafficking, which is rather common.
CUOMO: Now, that`s -- we hear about trafficking not so much in this country, though. But how prevalent is it in that part of the world?
PALUMBO: It`s extremely prevalent in many other parts of the world, like South America and Mexico, kidnapping capital of the world right now. Believe it or not, Rome was at one time.
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GRACE: The Yard currently has 37 police officers and other personnel assigned to the Maddie McCann reopened case. They`ve gotten about 37,000 items of evidence, documents that they are wading through. They`ve got about 3,000 leads that they are sorting through to determine if they`re any good, what to follow up on, what is the greatest priority.
We also know that Scotland Yard has decided to work this in two separate but equal investigations. Two parallel investigations are going down right now with Scotland Yard since they have reopened the case. One is assuming Maddie McCann is dead. One is assuming that the child is still alive.
PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): These are among the images the parents of Madeleine McCann say they did not see while Portuguese police were still searching for their daughter, CCTV pictures of girls said to resemble Madeleine taken in Portugal in the days after her disappearance last year. They make up some of the almost 30,000 pages of the police case file that has now been made public.
The file also contains these images compiled from witness descriptions of men said to be acting suspiciously around the place and time of Madeleine`s disappearance. They were never released publicly. Madeleine`s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, never saw them.
The girl had dark hair, and Madeleine`s parents say their daughter never referred to herself as Maddie. But the McCanns don`t know if the Portuguese police eliminated this possible sighting. It`s one more lead their private investigators must now follow up.
From the beginning, the police have received strong criticism for their handling of the investigation, which at one time named Kate and Gerry as suspects. They`ve since been cleared. Last month, the case was closed without ever forming a strong theory on what happened to Madeleine.
(on camera): The police file includes a report from Portugal`s prosecutors giving their assessment of the police investigation. It says the police worked with an enormous margin of error and achieved very little in terms of conclusive results. A McCann spokesman says it`s refreshing to finally hear common sense from the Portuguese authorities.
Phil Black, CNN, London.
GRACE: Baby Maddie, Madeleine McCann, was 3 years old, just a few days shy of turning 4.
Her parents had left Great Britain to go on vacation. They were staying at Praia da Luz resort town in southern Portugal. The evening that Maddie disappeared, the McCanns did not use a baby-sitter. They said they were afraid to leave the children alone with someone they didn`t know.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the last place 3-year-old Madeleine McCann was seen alive, the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Madeleine and her family, on vacation from England, spent the afternoon of May 3rd by the hotel pool. Madeleine`s mom, Kate, said her little girl told her it was the best day she`d ever had.
(on camera): Much of what the police know is still a mystery to us, in part because of Portuguese law that makes it illegal to talk about a current investigation. But details of that night have emerged and could hold the key to the case.
(voice-over): Through various reports, here`s what we`ve learned. Around 6:00 o`clock that evening, Kate and Gerry McCann say they took Madeleine and their 2-year-old twins back to this apartment. According to police, what happened to Madeleine after that last sighting is unknown. The McCanns say they put the three kids to bed around 7:30. Close to 8:30, the parents say they left the children alone in the apartment to join a group of friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.
KATE MCCANN: I think it`s quite similar to on a summer`s evening at home, eating in your garden while the children are in your bed. You know, it`s that close.
TUCHMAN: A waiter who served the table that night tells CNN the McCanns and their seven friends were not drinking as heavily as has been reported, but did have some pints of beer, cocktails and a few bottles of wine.
At about 9:00 o`clock, Gerry McCann says he got up to check on the children and then returned to the table. Some time after 9:15, one of the dinner guests who was checking on her own daughter says she saw a man walking away from the resort carrying a small child. The McCanns say it could have been the kidnapper, but police are questioning the woman`s account.
GRACE: The McCanns were having dinner with several friends. The distance away from the bedroom where the children were sleeping, Maddie and her siblings, by all accounts was somewhere around 100 yards or less from where they were eating to the bedroom.
Instead of paying for a baby-sitter, a hotel baby-sitting service, they decided that every 30 minutes, one of the adults would leave the dinner and go check on the children -- every 30 minutes. They left the door unlocked because they were afraid if there was a fire, the children would be trapped inside. So, every 30 minutes, one of the adults leaves the meal and goes to check on the children.
Around 10:00 PM that night, Madeleine`s mother goes and checks on her children. Maddie`s bed is empty except for baby Maddie`s favorite toy, a cuddle cat. Ms. McCann screams -- screams -- "They`ve taken her!"
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Around 9:30, one of the McCanns friends came back to the apartment to check on the children, but apparently just listened at the door. Thirty minutes later, Kate McCann herself went to see how her children were doing. She went inside the apartment and told police that Madeleine was gone, the window to the bedroom open.
(voice-over) : This is what Gerry McCann told his sister.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said that Madeleine had been abducted. She`s not the type of wee girl to wander off, and they`d been checking every half an hour on the children.
TUCHMAN: Kate McCann returned to the table screaming that Madeleine had been taken.
GERRY MCCANN: From the minute we discovered Madeleine missing, the police were called very early on. We alerted them, you know, almost immediately.
TUCHMAN: Police arrived, and a team of detectives was assembled just before midnight. Along with resort guests, authorities searched throughout the night. At that point, police believed Madeleine had been kidnapped. They did not secure the apartment.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We tried to do a strategic search from the right- hand side of the village across the street to the left.
TUCHMAN: But there was no sign of missing Madeleine.
KATE MCCANN: Please, please do not hurt her. Please don`t scare her. Please tell us where to find her, or put her in a place of safety and let somebody know where she is. We beg you to let Madeleine come home.
TUCHMAN: Rumors are rampant, facts scarce. Those final hours of May 3rd remain a mystery except to the person or persons who harmed Madeleine McCann.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, Praia da Luz, Portugal.
GRACE: First, as always, we start with the timeline. Now, the last time baby Maddie was seen by anyone other than the McCanns was around 6:00 PM the night that she ultimately disappeared. She was in the Ocean Club of the hotel, the resort where the McCanns were staying. That is the kid baby-sitting service, where you drop your children off. She was spotted there playing, alive and well at 6:00 PM.
Fast forward. Around 8:00 o`clock, the McCanns leave -- 8:30, 8:00 to 8:30, they leave the apartment, the hotel room, to go to a tapas restaurant, an appetizer restaurant, there within the resort. It is a two- minute walk away from the bedroom where Maddie and her siblings are sleeping.
Basically, there is a big swimming pool, a pool within a hotel resort. There`s the hotel where they are, cross across the courtyard, cross away from the pool, and there`s the tapas restaurant.
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EMILY CHANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A family friend taking the twins on a walk is enough to set off a media frenzy.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s ridiculous, isn`t it? But this is how media works.
CHANG: Kate McCann left about 15 minutes later to collect the twins and bring them home. Portuguese journalist Sondra Fulgeras (ph) has been covering Madeleine`s disappearance since day one, first in Praia da Luz, now here in Rothley.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Everyone want to have the biggest story, wants to have the answer for the question, where is Madeleine? What happened to Madeleine?
CHANG: There are also teams from Spain, France, Germany, the U.S. and more.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, we are working more on suspicions, more on what people say and less on facts. So that`s really hard for us. It`s really hard for us to get facts right now.
CHANG (on camera): Many journalists will admit there`s really nothing happening here right now, but that doesn`t mean they`re going anywhere any time soon. In fact, many say no matter what happens or doesn`t happen, they`re posted here indefinitely.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There`s so many things that could happen at the moment, a lot of the journalists are waiting around, so if something does happen, they`re the first there. I think as time goes on, it will be less likely there`ll be developments in the story, and that`s when people start to leave.
CHANG (voice-over): And so journalists continue to scramble after every car that pulls in and out of the McCann home and wonder who delivered the latest bouquet of flowers, hoping it means something new.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We won`t leave the story. Madeleine`s case won`t stop being a top story in Portugal. Not -- not for now.
CHANG: Emily Chang, CNN, in Rothley, England.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP, 2007)
GRACE: Out to a special guest joining us, Clarence Mitchell. This is the McCann family spokesperson.
Mr. Mitchell, thank you for being with us. What was the family reaction when they just -- when they first heard about this photo that looks startlingly similar to baby Maddie?
CLARENCE MITCHELL, MCCANN FAMILY SPOKESMAN (via telephone): Nancy, it`s good to be with you. Yes, unfortunately, we`ve been down this road several times before. There have been other sightings of Madeleine in Morocco and indeed in other countries.
And every time, Kate and Gerry are obviously extremely interested to get to the bottom of each sighting. They want to know more than anybody else in the world if it`s their daughter.
But each time, hopes have been dashed, and you know, they just have to pick themselves up and get on with it again and refocus their efforts into finding Madeleine and urging everybody around the world who`s aware of her case to keep their eyes open.
KATE MCCANN: Please, please do not hurt her. Please don`t scare her. Please tell us where to find her, put her in a place of safety and let somebody know where she is. We beg you to let Madeleine come home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: It`s a very interesting timeline because they`re going to dinner around 8:30. Now, listen to this. At 9:05, Maddie`s father goes and checks on them. Everybody is asleep. Everything`s fine. Maddie is in her bed.
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GERRY MCCANN: Kate and I strongly believe that Madeleine was alive when she was taken from the apartment.
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GRACE: At 9:15, one of the other friends goes back in that area and they -- she spots a male with a bundled-up child walking in the vicinity of Maddie`s hotel room but doesn`t put two and two together. I mean, from what she knows Gerry McCann has just checked on Maddie. Everything is fine.
At 9:30, another one of the dining party goes back to the hotel area. He looks into the apartment but not into the bedrooms, but he looks into the room and everything`s fine, say for instance, the sitting area where there`s a table and TV and all that. Doesn`t go into the bedroom, doesn`t want to wake up the children. Everything seems fine. That`s at 9:30.
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I can`t comment on any specifics and forensics. We didn`t do that. We would never, never, ever jeopardize the investigation. And I think it`s critical for people to realize that, that we do, you know, offer information but one would not like to tell and we would never ever put anything into the public domain that might hurt the investigation or Madeleine at risk.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Just after that, 10:00 p.m., Ms. McCann, Kate, goes back to check on Maddie. She sees a shutter ajar. Maddie is gone. She begins to scream. She does a quick search. She can`t find Maddie. Around 10:15, she calls the police. At eleven o`clock, Portuguese police arrived on the scene.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The longer this takes, Dr. Wecht, is it going to be harder to find who did it and find her?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Larry, to be realistic, I believe this amount of time having passed that it is extremely unlikely that the remains will ever be found and what remains may be found if they are not out in the ocean will be skeletonized. You will not likely find a cause of death. And after this amount of time and assuming that the search has been done with some diligence and thoroughness, it doesn`t seem that the body is going to be found.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Gerry, obviously, that is the crux of this isn`t it for you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely.
MORGAN: You just don`t know. I`m a father of three children. I cannot imagine -- I can remember my kids disappearing for a minute or two minutes and that awful panic that you feel as a parent when that happens. To be here years later and have no idea where she is or what may have happened, it must be excruciating, isn`t it?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It certainly was. And I think one of the reasons we`ve had so much public empathy is, I think, every parent does know that feeling even when your child is out of sight for a few seconds and the panic it generates. And for obviously any family like ourselves whose child has been abducted, the most terrifying experience, but you do adapt and the pain is not as raw.
But you know, we do still manage to get some enjoyment in our life and we have two other beautiful children who are fantastic. And the support from the public has really helped carry us through, but there`s just always something inside and the pain is never too far away from the surface.
MORGAN: Kate, do you ever have a day where this doesn`t consume you?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think it consumes every minute as it did before, but certainly, you know, Madeleine`s absence is there constantly. I mean, as Gerry said, although, we do have times (INAUDIBLE) where I have now reached that point where I will allow myself to take time out and just relax or enjoy something, and you know, her absence is still tangible. We can have a lovely family day, but as Jonah (ph) points out, it`s not really a family day, mommy, because Madeleine`s not here, you know?
MORGAN: Have you considered having another baby? Has that even entered your thought process?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I mean, I think you probably know obviously three children were born. So, it wouldn`t exactly be straightforward anyway, but I can`t replace Madeleine. I know you`re not suggesting that, but I don`t know. I think all the grief that we`ve been through and the busyness of everything. And obviously, we`ve got you know -- we need to concentrate on.
We`re doing everything, Madeleine, to find you and there`s so many good and very kind people helping us. Be brave, sweetheart. Our own Christmas wish is for you to be back with us again. And we`re hoping and praying that that will happen. Love you, Madeleine.
GRACE: Then, in the story`s timeline, about four months after Baby Maddie goes missing on vacation, police tell the parents that they are arguidos or suspects in their daughter`s disappearance. Well, they are devastated. They want to know why. Why are we being singled out? Why do you think we had anything to do with Maddie McCann`s disappearance?
They are told by police that Maddie McCann`s DNA was found in the trunk of their rental car and that Maddie McCann`s DNA was found behind the sofa in their hotel room, their vacation rental. Now, here`s the kicker. The rental car where the DNA was supposedly found was not rented by the McCanns until 25 days after Maddie goes missing. That is a fact. That has been verified every which way but upside down.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kate and Gerry McCann were interviewed separately. The result for both was the same -- they left the police station as a guidos in Portuguese law, suspects, accused of involvement in their daughter`s death (ph).
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Kate and Gerry McCann have both been today declared arguidos with no bail conditions and no charges have been brought against them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The McCanns say through a spokesperson that police believe they accidentally killed Madeleine, hid her body, and then disposed of it using a car they rented 25 days later. Those close to the couple say this is a frightening development.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They are living a nightmare and then this is just -- I mean, on top of it, it`s a worse hell than you can imagine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That rental car where the DNA was found was not rented by the McCanns until 25 days after Maddie goes missing. Now, what about the DNA behind the sofa in their hotel room? That fails, too. The expert told the police that the DNA in the trunk and behind the sofa was questionable. And as a matter of fact, it was. It could not be linked back to Madeleine McCann.
So, the parents were totally suffering after what police told them. They lose their daughter, and yes, you may say that they had dinner and they left her in the hotel room. Yes, I wouldn`t have done that. But in their minds, they thought checking on the child really more than every 30 minutes would suffice. It didn`t.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Susan Hubbard (ph) was minding the McCanns` two- year-old twins while their mother was being interviewed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s a beautiful person and she has the most loving heart.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: For more than four months, the McCanns have shared their lives with the people here. They have prayed with them and received great sympathy from them. Throughout this day Praia da Luz, Kate and Gerry McCann have often thanked the people of this town for their support.
Locals say the McCanns new status as official suspects is beginning to divide opinion in this community, but most people here are still standing by them.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "If I saw the parents I would go up to them and tell them, I`m with you," this woman says. Many of the British tourists who holiday here also believe this is an injustice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they were involved in the disappearance, where did they put her, where did they hide her for so long? No, I don`t think so.
GRACE: And that cloud has been hanging really over their heads ever since. Not only that, it got out to the press that the mother, Kate McCann, had refused to answer 48 questions posed to her by Portuguese police, questions about her daughter, Maddie McCann. Kate McCann says that that`s not exactly what happened, that the Portuguese police tried every way they could to get her and her husband to confess that Maddie had died in an accident and that they had hidden her body to cover it up.
After a 14-month of intense investigation by Portuguese police and others, the parents were cleared. They were exonerated. Now, thank God in heaven that they were exonerated, but I`m looking at this in a practical trial strategy way. Those 14 months were 14 months that they lost the real perpetrator. Over a year, they could have been focusing on someone other than the parents, but they were dead set that it had to be the parents.
They lost over a year of investigation while the case was still fresh in their misguided attempt to frame the parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.
GRACE: You know, it`s so easy for legal eagles like myself and others to Monday morning quarterback, to say, oh, you did this wrong, you did that wrong. But let me tell you, the Portuguese police really blew this investigation into the disappearance of Baby Maddie. First, right off the bat, they don`t seal the crime scene. They did not seal the crime scene.
People were going -- all sorts of people, the family, their friends, the this, the that, this cop, that cop, the hotel employees, everybody was in and out of that hotel room. They did not seal the room, the vacation rental until 10:00 a.m. the next day. The DNA and blood samples that they did get were so degraded that they were completely useless. Even a little cuddle cat, remember that`s Maddie McCann`s favorite toy that she slept with every night, that wasn`t even protected in order for any DNA or blood to be obtained from him.
That`s just off the bat. Then, there`s the fact that they did not alert the border patrol along the Portuguese borders of Maddie`s disappearance. And if you look at the topography, you know geography at all, it would have been very easy to get across the border with a child, especially if that child is sleeping or appears to be sleeping. They did not alert the border patrols for 12 hours.
That was plenty of time for someone to drive out of Portugal with Maddie McCann. There were no effective searches done. It gets worse and worse and worse. Those are just a few of the Portuguese police fatal mistakes at the onset of this investigation.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Four months after his daughter Madeleine`s disappearance, it is Gerry McCann, the girl`s father, who points out that until Thursday, his wife had only been interviewed by police once before. It`s not that he is questioning his wife. He strongly denies Kate had anything to do with their daughter`s disappearance.
At issue is why Portuguese police didn`t interview Kate McCann more thoroughly earlier on, and U.S. experts agree, saying that would have been standard procedure.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is surprising, and certainly, in this country, one of the first things that law enforcement would do is question the parents, question those who were around the children.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Take the case of Polly Klaas who was abducted from her home in 1993 and was found dead months later. Her father, Marc, says he and other family members were questioned by police and cleared within a week of Polly`s disappearance.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We took polygraph exams. We answered all their questions until they were satisfied that we had nothing to do with it and then they moved on.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Critics, including the McCanns, have questioned the way police in the small resort town of Portugal where Madeleine disappeared have handled the case throughout. The hotel room where the McCanns stayed, for example, was not immediately secured after the McCanns vacated. John Walsh (ph), who has become an advocate for missing children after his own son disappeared, calls the case a nightmare.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This police agency, this small agency, and I`m a big supporter of law enforcement, has made mistake after mistake, not taking DNA, not securing this crime scene, not asking for international help. When you`re in trouble and you`re a small agency, you ask for help. Scotland Yard, other agencies within Portugal.
GRACE: Very disturbing e-mails circulated amongst the London Metropolitan Police that is an arm of Scotland Yard that child sex trafficking is involved in the Maddie McCann disappearance. By many accounts, based on the e-mails from the yard, a pedophile ring in Belgium had placed an order for a young white female three days before the McCanns come for vacation.
A tall, thin English man is the description that we`ve got, was spotted by several witnesses on that same Portuguese beach about three days before the McCanns arrived. Then, there comes the evidence provided by Ernesto Machado and his son. Machado is a restaurant owner there along that Portuguese strip of beach. And he saw the McCanns with all of their children on the beach just before Maddie disappeared. His son spotted the tall, thin English man on the beach taking photos.
GRACE: There are so many leads that were kept secret. For instance, if you`ll recall, a female member of the dinner party that night went back to the hotel and not realizing that Baby Maddie had been kidnapped, she observed a man carrying a child in a blanket away from the area. She didn`t put two and two together. There was no reason to.
She did not know that may have been Maddie. Shortly after that, there was a composite created of a scruffy man with a heavy mustache. That man may have been the perpetrator. He was spotted, but he was never found.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All I can say is if, I mean, I had thought there was any risk at all, you know, it just wouldn`t happened. That`s all I can say, really, you know? And it`s hard to, you know, sometimes to think at home when I was going to the post office and I had the twins in the double buggy because it wouldn`t fit through the post office door, I used to get my aunt to come and meet me to stand by the door even it`s a tiny post office and I can see the buggy -- how does that equate with sort of how we act in Portugal?
And all I can say is it just felt so safe, you know, it`s a family resort. The first time I`d ever been to Portugal, but all the family had been there, you know, a lovely country and it`s really safe and it`s for families. I think I have to assume that there haven`t been any stranger abductions recently because we haven`t heard about them.
But certainly the statistics show that child abductions still occur. The thing about Madeleine`s case was obviously very rare, a child being abducted in a foreign country. I mean, most people (INAUDIBLE) who was taken in Greece but probably couldn`t name any others.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An exception of our case, and we felt very safe is the key thing. And just the things (INAUDIBLE) it wouldn`t have happened - -
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We`ve been through all these questions day in and day out, why, how, why. And I can only, you know, say to myself, well, Kate, you felt really safe. And I know how much I love my children. There`s no way I would have taken a risk.
GRACE: There are other reports today, Victoria Beckham, Posh of the Spice Girls look-alike had information about Maddie`s whereabouts. That was not released and disseminated. I don`t know if it was ever investigated. There were multiple possible perpetrators that the Portuguese police let slip through their fingers while they tried their best to frame Mr. and Mrs. McCann.