There aren't many mysteries that make it across the vast ocean to the U.S. After all, America has enough horrible stories of our own. But the 2007 disappearance of Madeleine McCann broke hearts across the world.
Madeleine Beth McCann was born in 2003 in Leicester, England. She had younger siblings who were twins. In May of 2007, Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, took the three children to a Portugal resort called Praia da Luz. They were joined by seven friends and their five children.
The seven adults have been nicknamed the "Tapas Seven" because each evening at around 8:30 p.m., the group would meet up with the McCanns in a tapas restaurant at the resort after putting their children to bed. The rooms were across the pool from the restaurant, as evidenced in the below diagram from the U.K.'s Daily Mail. See the caption for a description of each numbered location.
|1) Tapas restaurant 2) front of McCann apartment 3) Rear of McCann apartment 4) stairs to the rear patio doors|
Gerry made the first check on the children at a little after 9 p.m. All was fine. He did mention the bedrooom door being wide open when he was sure he'd previously left it only slightly ajar, but it wasn't enough to alarm him. He says he pulled it back to the slightly ajar position. Around 9:30, friend Matthew Oldfield checked in on them while he was checking his own children. He claims the door was once again wide open. Neither of the two men looked into the bedroom to see the children.
|Madeline's bed (left), the twins' cribs, and an empty bed.|
At 10 p.m., it was Kate's turn. She walked back to the apartment to check on the children. Madeleine's bed was empty.
Kate rushed back to the restaurant, where she yelled, "Madeleine's gone! Someone's taken her!" A few minutes later, Matthew Oldfield went to the resort's reception desk to have them call the police. Unfortunately, the crime scene was not preserved as the police did not take the situation seriously. They believed Madeleine had simply wandered off.
As of this date, Madeleine's disappearance is still a mystery. Police reportedly believe the McCanns, who are both physicians, medicated Madeleine in order to keep her asleep while they dined with friends, accidentally giving her too much. The cover up then began, the theory goes.
Part of this theory comes from the fact that police dogs smelled traces of a decomposing body inside the apartment. Traces of DNA matching Madeleine were also found in the couple's rental car. Of course, experts debunk this, saying that her DNA would have matched the rest of the family and since they'd all been using the rental car, the finding made sense.
Of course, the McCanns uphold that a stranger abducted Madeleine. Suspects include a pedophile who lived an hour away and a convicted burglar and drug addict who had been fired from the tapas bar in 2006. He was reportedly in the area that evening. But experts say that the 30-minute checks on the children would likely have deterred anyone thinking of breaking into the apartment.
What do you think happened to Madeleine McCann?