Key events since Madeleine disappeared

Press Association Reporters
2 November 2010
Press Association National Newswire

Here is a timeline of the key events since Madeleine McCann's disappearance.


:: May 3 - Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, leave their three children asleep in their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in southern Portugal while they dine with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.

Nothing is amiss when Mr McCann checks on the youngsters at just after 9pm, but when his wife goes back at about 10pm she finds three-year-old Madeleine missing.

Jane Tanner, one of the friends eating with the McCanns, later reports seeing a man carrying a child away earlier that night.

:: May 5 - Portuguese police reveal they believe Madeleine was abducted but is still alive and in Portugal, and say they have a sketch of a suspect.

:: May 14 - Detectives take Anglo-Portuguese property developer Robert Murat in for questioning and make him an "arguido", or official suspect.

Officers also search the home he shares with his mother in Praia Da Luz, just 100 yards from where the youngster was snatched.

:: May 25 - Portuguese detectives finally release the description of the man reported by Ms Tanner three weeks earlier following pressure from the McCanns, their legal team and the British Government.

:: May 30 - Mr and Mrs McCann meet the Pope in Rome in the first of a series of trips around Europe and beyond to highlight the search for their daughter.

:: August 6 - A Portuguese newspaper reports that British sniffer dogs have found traces of blood on a wall in the McCanns' holiday apartment.

:: August 11 - Exactly 100 days after Madeleine disappeared, investigating officers publicly acknowledge for the first time that she could be dead.

:: September 7 - During further questioning of Mr and Mrs McCann, detectives make them both "arguidos" in their daughter's disappearance.

:: September 9 - The McCanns fly back to England with their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.

:: October 2 - Goncalo Amaral, the detective in charge of the inquiry, is removed from the case after criticising the British police in a Portuguese newspaper interview.

:: October 25 - The McCanns release a new artist's impression drawn by an FBI-trained expert showing the man described by Ms Tanner.


:: May 3 - A tearful Mrs McCann urges people to "pray like mad" for Madeleine as she and her family mark the first anniversary of the little girl's disappearance.

:: July 21 - The Portuguese authorities shelve their investigation and lift the "arguido" status of the McCanns and Mr Murat.

:: July 24 - Mr Amaral publishes a book about the case, entitled The Truth Of The Lie, in which he alleges that the young girl died in her family's holiday flat on the day she went missing.

:: August 4 - Thousands of pages of evidence from the Portuguese police files in the exhaustive investigation into Madeleine's disappearance are made public.

They reveal details of the lines of inquiry pursued by detectives, witness statements and scores of previously unknown sightings of the little girl.


:: January 29 - Nearly £2 million was raised for the official fund to find Madeleine in the first 10 months after she went missing, Companies House accounts show.

:: April 4 - Mr McCann goes back to Portugal to help film a reconstruction of the events on the night his daughter vanished for a Channel 4 documentary.

:: August 6 - The McCanns' investigators launch a worldwide hunt for an Australian lookalike of Victoria Beckham seen at a marina in Barcelona three days after the little girl disappeared.

:: September 9 - A Portuguese judge bans further sale or publication of Mr Amaral's book following legal action by Mr and Mrs McCann.

:: November 3 - The London-based Child Exploitation and Online Protection centre releases an internet video aimed at pricking the conscience of a friend or relative of the person responsible for Madeleine's disappearance.

:: December 11 - Mrs McCann returns to Praia da Luz for the first time since being made a suspect.


:: January 12 - A civil court in Lisbon hears that Portuguese detectives believed Madeleine's parents covered up her death by faking her abduction as Mr Amaral tries to overturn the injunction on his book.

Mr and Mrs McCann strongly deny the allegations and defend their decision to take legal action against the former policeman.

:: January 27 - The McCanns mark the 1,000th day since their daughter went missing with a fundraising event in London and the release of 1,000 lanterns in Britain, Portugal and the US.

:: February 18 - A Portuguese judge upholds the McCanns' ban on Mr Amaral's book.

The ex-detective says he will appeal against the ruling and take his case all the way to the European Court of Human Rights if necessary.

:: March 3 - Another 2,000 pages of case documents held by Portuguese police are made public, revealing dozens of reported sightings of Madeleine for the first time.

***(see Note below)

:: November 3 - Kate and Gerry McCann launch a petition to lobby the UK and Portuguese governments for a joint or independent review of the case."

(***Note: In this timeline the Press Association omitted the October 18, 2010 ruling by the Lisbon Appeals court overturning the ban on "The Truth of the Lie".)

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