The moment Gerry walked into kidnap flat... after 2 years

The moment Gerry walked into kidnap flat... after 2 years
Sarah Jellema
3 May 2009

This is the moment Gerry McCann stepped back into the last place he saw his daughter - to reconstruct the nightmare of the evening she was snatched.

Standing outside the bedroom where he had left three-year-old Madeleine asleep, he looked anguished as he relived the events of exactly two years ago.

Gerry, 40, walked into Apartment 5a at the Ocean Club complex in Praia da Luz and said:
"We are a family and we are a happy family - but we are not a complete family.

"There is still a scar - a deep, deep scar - that is kind of knitted at the minute.

"But you still think the stitches of it might break or come loose." 
Meanwhile, Maddie's mum Kate, 41 - who did not return to the Portuguese holiday flat - said:
"I think we are far from normality.

"We need to get out there - she is alive, she is out there, she is findable.

"She might look different, she could be speaking a different language, she might have her hair different, she might have different interests. But she's still our daughter."
As brave Gerry and Kate today to mark the second anniversary of Maddie's disappearance, Channel 4 is preparing to air a TV documentary reconstructing the disappearance and spelling out how a team of British investigators have already uncovered new leads they believe will help find her captor.

More than 30,000 files released by Portuguese police after they shelved the hunt for Maddie last summer contain key witness statements about a suspicious man loitering near the McCanns' apartment.


The Cutting Edge documentary - to be screened at 9 pm on Thursday - reveals vital sightings around the Ocean Club complex in the days leading up to May 3, 2007.

Search leader Dave Edgar believes the key to the mystery lies within 10 miles of the Algarve resort.

The retired detective inspector, who has more than 30 years police experience, says:
"Someone local has the answer to this.

"This offence happened in Praia de Luz. It's a very self-contained resort and that's where we've started - and that's where I think the answer is."
The Portuguese files - which cost the McCanns £100,000 to translate into English - include a statement that seems to corroborate a sighting by Jane Tanner, one of the pals holidaying with the McCanns when their daughter went missing.

She told police she saw a man carrying a small girl near the apartment at about 9.10pm on May 3 - minutes after Gerry had last checked on Maddie.

The British investigators have now found the files show another family reported a similar sighting shortly afterwards.

The search team also uncovered statements from tourists who had spotted a suspicious-looking man near the McCanns' apartment on several dates BEFORE she went missing.

Investigators believe the reports suggest the family may have been staked out for days in the run-up to Madeleine's abduction.

Mr Edgar - who worked with witnesses and the McCanns to make the reconstruction for Cutting Edge - says:
"In my experience random just doesn't happen.

"Someone - a passer-by - doesn't go in and pick up a child and take it. These things are planned.

"So someone will have been in the vicinity of Apartment 5A.

"They may even have been watching the apartment for a week - or more." 
GP Kate and brain specialist Gerry, of Rothley, Leicestershire, reported Madeleine missing at 10 pm on the evening she vanished. They had been eating at a nearby restaurant with a group of pals - the so-called Tapas Seven - after putting Maddie and their two-year-old twins Amelie and Sean to bed.

The devastated couple have always insisted their daughter is still alive. And they have toured the world in their desperate search for some clue to her whereabouts. Last week they appeared on Oprah Winfrey's top-rated American TV chat-show.

They are also publicising a digitallyenhanced pictue to show what Maddie might look like now - as she approaches her sixth birthday. Launching the image and backing the TV reconstruction, Gerry and Kate said in a statement:
"It is two long years since Madeleine was taken.

"It is two years since we were a happy family of five.

"The pain does not lessen but our determination to find our beautiful daughter remains steadfast.

"It is our hope the reconstructed scenes will trigger somebody's memory and prompt them to come forward, giving us the key piece of the jigsaw we - and Madeleine especially - so desperately need.

"Madeleine is still missing. She has the right to be back with her family. We have a responsibility to keep looking for her. We urge you - please do not give up on Madeleine."

But their tireless crusade has been blighted by disgraced former police chief Goncalo Amaral.

Amaral was appointed head of the Portuguese hunt when Maddie first went missing.


But he was unceremoniously sacked after accusing British cops of being "too close" to her parents - who were later branded official suspects in the case.

Now Amaral plans to launch a private investigation into the disappearance - with the help of sleuths from across Europe, including the UK.

He has vowed to send the results of his probe to Portugal's judicial chiefs and demand the case is reopened. Amaral, who claims Maddie died in a "tragic accident" in the flat, said:
"This investigation is not aimed at finding evidence against Gerry or Kate McCann or persecuting anyone.

"We want to make sure the truth comes out and justice is done." 
Meanwhile, the McCanns are due to mark today's traumatic anniversary joining in prayers for Maddie at their local Catholic church, the Sacred Heart.

The front gates outside the couple's home are draped with green and yellow ribbons of hope.

And posters in windows throughout Rothley bear the words: "Still missing, still missed."

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