Everything you need to know about the Madeleine McCann case before streaming the new Netflix documentary series 'The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'
- On May 3, 2007, 3-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared from the apartment in Portugal where her family was staying on vacation.
- Now, more than 10 years later, her case remains unsolved.
- On Friday, Netflix released a documentary series, “The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann” about the investigation and what has happened in the years since.
- Here’s everything you need to know about the case before you watch.
More than 10 years ago, 3-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared from her bed while her family was on vacation in Portugal. The case remains unsolved today.
On Friday, the new documentary about McCann’s case, “The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann,” premiered Netflix. The eight hour-long episodes will take a deeper dive into the case and the investigations that have followed what happened the night McCann disappeared.
McCann’s case is among the most famous missing person cases in the world, but in the almost 12 years since her disappearance, it seems there’s still no end in sight.
Here’s everything you need to know about the McCann case before the series hits the streaming service on Friday.
Madeleine McCann disappeared on May 3, 2007
According to The Guardian, McCann disappeared from her bed on May 3, 2007, while her family was on vacation in Praia da Luz, Portugal from their home in Leicestershire. At the time of her disappearance, her parents were having dinner at a nearby restaurant while McCann and her siblings — 2-year-old twins — slept in the apartment the family was renting during their stay.
Later, when McCann’s mother, Kate, came back to check on the children, she discovered McCann was missing. This would launch one of the most-reported missing person’s cases in history.
One of the friends they dined with said that she saw a ‘man carrying a girl’
When Kate returned to the table and alerted them that Madeline was missing, McCann’s friend Jane Tanner said “Oh my God. I saw a man carrying a girl,” but said she didn’t think it was an odd sight at a resort where parents and children were staying, according to The Guardian.
Originally, police thought her parents were to blame
A few months after McCann’s disappearance was reported, parents Kate and Gerry were put under “arguido” status by Portuguese police, which meant that they were considered suspects. In fact, in an interview with ITV News (via The Guardian) in September 2007, Gerry’s sister Philomena said that police tried to get Kate to confess by offering her a plea deal.
“They tried to get her to confess to having accidentally killed Madeleine by offering her a deal through her lawyer — ‘if you say you killed Madeleine by accident and then hid her and disposed of the body, then we can guarantee you a two-year jail sentence or even less’,” she said.
According to The Telegraph, Kate and Gerry were cleared of their “arguido” status in July 2008.
“It’s hard to describe how utterly despairing it was for us to be named arguido and to subsequently portrayed in the media as suspects in our own daughter’s disappearance,” they said in a statement at the time.
The McCanns sued the chief inspector on the case for libel
The chief inspector on the case, Goncalo Amaral, was removed from the inquiry after accusing police of only pursuing leads that the McCanns wanted them to. He later wrote the book “The Truth of the Lie,” where he accused them of covering up Madeleine’s death after she died accidentally, according to The Telegraph.
The McCanns sued him for libel and initially won before the decision was overturned. The McCanns officially lost that case in 2017.
Funding for the search was recently extended
Even though McCann’s case is still unsolved — and has remained so for 12 years — her family hasn’t stopped looking. And last November, when the search ran out of money, Operation Grange was granted enough government funding to last until March 31 of this year, according to the BBC. Police have said there is a “significant line of inquiry” which they are still pursuing in McCann’s case.
McCann’s parents refused to participate in the documentary
“The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann” will include interviews with more than 40 contributors according to Deadline, but Kate and Gerry McCann won’t be among them. As the McCann’s spokesperson, Clarence Mitchell, told The Guardian, they chose not to participate because they didn’t think the documentary would help with the search for their daughter.
“Kate and Gerry and their wider family and friends were approached some months ago to participate in the documentary,” Mitchell said. “Kate and Gerry didn’t ask for it and don’t see how it will help the search for Maddie on a practical level, so they chose not to engage.”
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