Friday, July 29, 2011

Norway Massacre: Historic Church Holds Ceremony to Mourn Victims

The Christian Post > U.S.|Wed, Jul. 27 2011 02:08 PM EDT
By Nia Cheney | Christian Post Contributor


NEW YORK – New York City’s historic St. Paul’s Chapel tolled the “Bell of Hope” today in a remembrance ceremony to mourn and honor Norway’s massacre victims.

New York City's historic St. Paul’s Chapel tolled the “Bell of Hope” on July 27, 2011, in a remembrance ceremony to mourn and honor Norway’s massacre victims. The bell was a gift to New York from the city of London a year after the 9/11 attacks.

Norwegian Consul Aslaug Nygard attended the ceremony to ring the bell in honor of the victims.

The ceremony took place at noon Tuesday outside of St. Paul’s Chapel, located directly across from the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan. During the World Trade Center recovery operation following the 9/11 attacks, the Chapel had served a half million hot meals to workers and was seen as a place of hope to city workers.

Nygard rang the bell five times to honor those who died during Friday’s attacks in Norway.

"The popular reaction to these tragic, horrific actions has been the reaction of love and compassion and peace and flowers and candles and remembrance," Norway Consul Nygard said before striking the bell. "I think there is a strong connection between what this bell symbolizes and also how people in Norway feel right now.”

"We stand together shoulder by shoulder in the darkest of times we as a nation show our neighborly love and show our compassion for the victims their families their friends and the survivors."

The "Bell of Hope" was a gift to New York from the city of London a year after 9/11. The bell has been rung previously for the bombings in London, Madrid, Mumbai, and Moscow; for the Virginia Tech shooting; and on the 9/11 anniversaries.

Norway attacker Anders Behring Breivik killed 76 and injured dozens more on Friday, July 22. The attack started with a bomb blast in the capital Oslo and continued with an hour-long shooting rampage at a camp for Labour Party teens on nearby Utoya Island.

Breivik is currently in custody in Norway and has admitted to the attacks, and claims to have been in contact with other terror cells abroad. Police in Norway are currently investigating footage of the attack, and combing Utoya Island for clues.

Norway Shooting, Bombing: Police End Search for Utoya Victims

Friday one of the most horrendous massacres of people, mostly children, occurred in Oslo, Norway. The unspeakable actions of one man have left behind a horde of victims and grieving families as well as a world in shock. The article below was published in the Christian Post on Thursday, July 28.

Following Friday's devastating shooting massacre, Norwegian police have called off the search for bodies and people on and around the small island of Utoya.
Related

The conclusion of the search comes on the same day that the body of a Georgian girl was discovered at the bottom of the lake on the island.

The death toll of the massacre on Utoya stands at 68 of the 76 total victims that lost their lives in the shooting rampage and car bomb attack undertaken by Andres Behring Breivik.

Norwegian police chief-of-staff Johan Fredriksen stated in a press conference, "I can confirm that the search around Utoya has now ended. We will never stop searching if there is hope of finding people."

Fredriksen added, "The number of missing people is very low."

Other police sources alluded that so far only one person had been unaccounted for.

As police work on identifying the bodies, names of the victims will continue to be announced each day at 6 p.m. on the official police website. Many names are expected to be released on Thursday.

As of now, the names of 13 victims have been released.

Meanwhile Breivik, who has confessed to the killings, is in solitary confinement with no access to television or newspapers.

Breivik will be meeting for a second time with police on Friday following a seven-hour session on the day after the attacks. The police have not indicated what information they will be seeking from him.

Police have been condemned for taking too long to reach the scene of the massacre, as it took them upwards of an hour to arrive on the island where hordes of young children were enjoying summer camp.

In response to the criticism, Fredriksen said in a press conference, "I don't think this could have gone faster. I don't see how that would be possible with the distance and with these conditions."

Breivik was arrested within two minutes of police arriving on the island.

Paige Johnson's Mom Wants Daughter's Abductor To 'Do The Right Thing'

The following information was posted by David Lohr in his blog The HuffPost on AOL news on 7/26/11 03:35 PM. Being from KY I wanted to highlight this sad story in hopes of getting Paige's story out there to even more readers.


The mother of missing Kentucky teen Paige Johnson has a message for the individual or individuals responsible for her daughter's disappearance: "I just wish they would tell us please what happened and where she is at. Have a heart and do the right thing."

In an exclusive interview with The Huffington Post, Donna Johnson of Florence, Ky., spoke of the incidents leading up to her 17-year-old daughter's abduction.

Paige has been missing since Sept. 23, 2010, when she went to hang out with a 22-year-old acquaintance named Jacob Bumpass, of nearby Taylor Mill, Ky.

The night she left, she came in my bedroom and I thought she said she was going to her sister Brittney's with a friend of hers named Jason. I let her go because I know Jason -- he lives upstairs in the same building. He has picked her up before and took her there," Paige's mother said. "My daughter left and I have not seen or talked to her again."

Roughly two hours later, at about midnight, Paige sent a Facebook message to her older sister, Brittany Haywood. Paige wrote, "GIRL. I need To Talk To You IMMEDIATELY!"

Unfortunately, Haywood never got a chance to find out what her sister wanted.

Questioned by police, Bumpass claimed he dropped Paige off at about 1 a.m. near the corner of 15th Street and Scott Boulevard in Covington, Ky., which is across the Ohio River from Cincinnati. No one has seen her since.

Donna Johnson said she is skeptical about Bumpass' story.

"She wouldn't just get out on a dark street corner four blocks from where she was going," she said. "It wasn't even on the same street. She would have had to make a couple turns, and she doesn't even know that area to know where to make the turns in the middle of the night or early hours of the morning," Johnson said.

"None of it makes sense."

According to police, Bumpass' cellphone records show his phone was not in Covington at the time he said he dropped off Paige, and that it had pinged off a tower in nearby Florence.

Cell phone records further indicate that at about 4:13 a.m., Bumpass' phone pinged a tower in Batavia, Ohio, and then again, five minutes later, off another tower near Half Acre Road in Batavia. The last location is close to East Fork Lake, an Ohio state park that is 25 miles east of Cincinnati.

After reviewing Bumpass' cellphone records, authorities decided to center their search on East Fork State Park. According to the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, it is one of Ohio's largest state parks, covering 4,870 acres. The park's terrain "includes both rugged hills and open meadows," according to the state agency's website.

Investigators started their search by clearing the park’s 2,160-acre William H. Harsha Lake, which is more than 100 feet deep in some parts. More than 100 searchers on ATVs and horseback also spread out in the area. Nothing was found during either search.

On Oct. 4, 2010, Bumpass, who is on parole for a theft conviction, was taken into custody for violating his parole because he had alcohol and weapons in his home, authorities said.

For nearly a year, the search for Paige has continued. The Covington Police Department has not returned multiple calls from The Huffington Post, but according to Paige's mother, investigators have told her the case is "far from cold."

Bumpass has not been named as a suspect in Paige's disappearance. He remains behind bars in Kenton County Jail for the parole violation.

Paige's daughter turned 3 years old last month. Donna Johnson said the girl still does not understand what happened to her mother.

"I get her on the weekends," Johnson said. "She will ask where her mom is or say she wants to find her. It is horrible."

Johnson and her mother, Jenny Roderick, do whatever they can to raise awareness, including posting missing person flyers throughout the area -- something that recently caused a bit of a controversy when a Covington police officer asked her not to post the flyers on utility poles because it violates a city ordinance.

Contacted by The Huffington Post, Covington City Manager Larry Klein said a citizen complaint prompted the city to get involved.

"We got a complaint from a citizen about the number of flyers," Klein said. "One of our officers approached the grandmother who had been putting them up and let her know it wasn't permitted."

When local media got wind of the thwarted poster campaign, Roderick gave reporters several interviews, which, according to Johnson, caused the city to lighten up on their posting of the flyers.

"The news got involved [and] then the police chief got on there and said he wouldn't take them down," Johnson said.

While the flyer battle appears to be over, the search for Paige continues. Someone, somewhere knows what happened, and her mother is hopeful they will come forward with information.

"They need to do the right thing and let us know where she is," Johnson said. "She doesn't deserve to be thrown somewhere like a piece of trash. What if it was your sister or your daughter? Put yourself in our shoes. I beg you to tell us, I beg you."

A $3,500 reward is being offered for information regarding Paige Johnson's whereabouts. Anyone with information is asked to call the Covington Police Department at (859) 292-2222 or The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children at (800) 843-5678.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

A Sad Farewell

It is a sad farewell to the Help Find My Child (HFMC) group. This group has worked hard to promote many missing cases and were a shining beacon for missing children worldwide.
We understand that closing the group has been not only difficult but sadly unavoidable due to changes in circumstances.

The Find Madeleine forum would like to say a big thank you to HMFC for their valuable work over the past years.




Help Find My Child - Closing


Unfortunately today I come to you with sad news - Help Find My Child will be shortly closing down. This has been a very difficult decision to take but an unavoidable one due to changes in circumstances. It’s a situation we never wanted to be in particularly so soon, with so much more needing to be done for the missing and those left behind.

Help Find My Child started in a time when social media was not fully utilized in the search for missing children, as a group before and after charity status we pushed boundaries, using technology with online communities to get word out when it was needed where it was needed world wide. We are very proud in what we have achieved and have somewhat lead the way in creating new innovative methods of spreading missing child appeals. Since our conception we have seen some of the larger organisations move in this direction and realise the potential for bringing in information by engaging with the online world.
We will be closing down our pages and referring families where appropriate to other fantastic organisations who can help in the search for their missing loved ones. Donations we will transfer to a selected charity with the same aims to make sure every penny is used as intended and can help other families.
I'd like to pass on my heartfelt thanks firstly to co directors Emma and Helen who have been outstanding in their support, loyalty, dedication and have worked tirelessly for HFMC. Our joint thanks and admiration goes out to our volunteers and supporters.
Our thoughts and prayers are forever with families and the wider missing community.
Kerry

http://www.helpfindmychild.net/article/2011/june/help-find-my-child-closing



Monday, July 4, 2011

Find Madeleine's Featured Missing Children Cases for July


Case Type: Endangered Missing
DOB: Mar 2, 1999
Age Now: 11
Sex: Female
Missing Date: Mar 14, 2010
Missing City: POPLAR
Missing State : MT
Missing Country: United States
Race: White
Height: 5'7" (170 cm)
Weight: 185 lbs (84 kg)
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown



Case Number: NCMC1143038

Circumstances: Ivy was last seen leaving a relative's home on the afternoon of March 14, 2010 and has not been seen or heard from since. She was last seen wearing a pink dress, white sneakers, and white socks with poodles on them. Ivy may be in need of medical attention.





Case Type: Endangered Runaway
DOB: Aug 17, 1998 Sex: Female
Missing Date: May 4, 2011 Race: Asian
Age Now: 12 Height: 5'2" (157 cm)
Missing City: SACRAMENTO Weight: 100 lbs (45 kg)
Missing State : CA Hair Color: Black
Missing Country: United States Eye Color: Brown








Case Number: NCMC1173638

Circumstances: Houa was last seen on May 4, 2011. She may still be in the local area.

http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PubCaseSearchServlet?act=viewChildDetail&LanguageCountry=en_US&searchLang=en_US&caseLang=en_US&orgPrefix=NCMC&caseNum=1173638&seqNum=1



Case Type: Endangered Runaway
DOB: Sep 7, 1996
Sex: Male
Missing Date: May 2, 2011
Age Now: 14
Missing City: CHINO HILLS
Missing State : CA
Missing Country: United States
Race: Hispanic
Height: 5'1" (155 cm)
Weight: 120 lbs (54 kg)
Hair Color:Black
Eye Color: Brown



Case Number: NCMC1172703

Circumstances: Esteban was last seen on May 2, 2011. He may still be in the local area. Esteban has a scar on his abdomen. He may go by the nickname Joseph.

http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PubCaseSearchServlet?act=viewChildDetail&LanguageCountry=en_US&searchLang=en_US&caseLang=en_US&orgPrefix=NCMC&caseNum=1172703&seqNum=1


BRANDON JEROME FINDLEY 16 - Bendale, South Carolina (USA) - 30/04/2011

Case Type: Endangered Runaway
DOB: Jun 14, 1995
Missing Date: Apr 30, 2011
Age Now: 16
Sex: Male
Race: White
Height: 5'10" (178 cm)
Weight: 148 lbs (67 kg)
Eye Color: Hazel
Hair Color: Brown
Missing City: BENDALE
Missing State : SC
Missing Country: United States



Case Number: NCMC1172081

Circumstances: Brandon may be in the company of an adult male relative. They may travel to Valdosta, Georgia.

http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PubCaseSearchServlet?act=viewChildDetail&LanguageCountry=en_US&searchLang=en_US&caseLang=en_US&orgPrefix=NCMC&caseNum=1172081&seqNum=1




Case Type: Endangered Runaway
DOB: Jun 22, 1994
Sex: Female
Missing Date: May 29, 2011
Age Now: 16
Missing City: BUENA PARK
Missing State : CA
Missing Country: United States
Race: Biracial
Height: 5'6" (168 cm)
Weight: 180 lbs (82 kg)
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown


Case Number: NCMC1173020

Circumstances: Natani is traveling with her son, Jayden Sullivan. They were last seen on May 29, 2011. When Natani was last seen, her hair was dyed auburn but it is naturally brown. Both Natani and Jayden are Biracial. They are Black and White. Natani's nickname is Tani.


Case Type: Endangered Runaway
DOB: Aug 14, 2009
Sex: Male
Missing Date: May 29, 2011
Age Now: 1
Missing City: BUENA PARK
Missing State : CA
Missing Country: United States
Race: Biracial
Height: 2'2" (66 cm)
Weight: 18 lbs (8 kg)
Hair Color: Brown
Eye Color: Brown






Case Number: NCMC1173020

Circumstances: Natani is traveling with her son, Jayden Sullivan. They were last seen on May 29, 2011. When Natani was last seen, her hair was dyed auburn but it is naturally brown. Both Natani and Jayden are Biracial. They are Black and White. Natani's nickname is Tani.

http://www.missingkids.com/missingkids/servlet/PubCaseSearchServlet?act=viewChildDetail&caseNum=1173020&orgPrefix=NCMC&seqNum=2&caseLang=en_US&searchLang=en_US



Case Type: Family Abduction
DOB: Aug 30, 2001
Sex: Male
Missing Date: Jun 9, 2011
Age Now: 9
Missing City: FAIRBANKS
Missing State : AK
Missing Country: United States
Race: White
Height: 4'4" (132 cm)
Weight: 57 lbs (26 kg)
Hair Color: Sandy
Eye Color: Hazel



Case Number: NCMC1173693

Circumstances: Jack was allegedly abducted by his father, Michael Moore, on June 9, 2011. A felony warrant was issued for Michael on June 16, 2011. They may have traveled out of state.

It is believed that Jack in in the company of his father, Michael L. Moore, pictured below.

Friday, June 17, 2011

‘America’s Most Wanted’ ends its long Fox run Saturday, but John Walsh is looking elsewhere

By Associated Press

Published: June 16

NEW YORK — This week marks the final weekly airing of “America’s Most Wanted” on the Fox network after 23 years and 1,153 fugitives nabbed.

“I don’t think it’s hit me yet,” said John Walsh, the host and driving force of what he turned into a nationwide crime watch. “Saturday when I see the last show — that’s gonna be painful.”

But that broadcast, which airs at 9 p.m. EDT, is billed as the season finale — not the series conclusion — on the “AMW” website.

Not surprisingly, this is the same attitude voiced by Walsh.

“I’m fighting hard to keep this franchise going,” he said. “It’s a television show that gets ratings AND saves lives, and we’ll find somewhere to keep going. We’re not done.”

Speaking by phone Thursday morning, he had just arrived back in Washington from Brazil. There, he was hunting for a pedophile who has been hiding out in Rio de Janeiro for 14 years.

“He’s a fake minister who molested tons of boys in Florida,” Walsh said. “I was working with Brazilian police, and I think I’ll get this guy.”

The case will be spotlighted on Saturday’s show, and, as he spoke, Walsh was headed to “AMW” headquarters to supervise editing the segment.

He said he will make some parting remarks at the end of the show, with the promise, “We’re going to land somewhere else.”

And after that?

“I’m so used to doing what I’ve done every day for 23 years that I’m still trying to sort it all out,” he said. “But I have many, many offers, a long list I’ve got to wade through and see where we go from here.”

One possibility, he said, is News Corp. sibling Fox News Channel, which that network confirms.

Fox News chairman Roger Ailes “has had preliminary discussions with John Walsh and he’s a fan of ‘America’s Most Wanted,’” said Fox News spokeswoman Irena Briganti, “but nothing has been decided.”

Walsh said he hopes to have a deal in place, probably with a cable network, within two weeks.

This, of course, is the man who mounted a crime-busting crusade in the aftermath of the abduction and murder of his 6-year-old son Adam in 1981. He became an outspoken advocate for tougher laws against sex offenders, more cooperation among law enforcement agencies, and citizen involvement in flushing out fugitives.

His TV show premiered in April 1988 on the fledgling Fox network and, little more than a year later, it was the first-ever Fox program to rank first in viewership in its time slot. It’s been a fixture on the network ever since, and during the 2010-11 season, was seen by an audience averaging 5 million viewers.

So last month Walsh, 65, was “in shock,” he said, on getting the news that “AMW” had been canceled. The show is too expensive to produce, Fox entertainment head Kevin Reilly explained. The network is planning to air weekly repeats of its prime-time entertainment series in the Saturday slot “AMW” has held for so long.

“AMW” isn’t completely disappearing from the network. There will be four, two-hour specials aired next season, Reilly said in making the announcement in May.

So far, Walsh said, there have been no discussions with Fox about how and when the specials will be produced. And they won’t preserve the current “AMW” operation, with its 70-plus staff.

“I’ve got hotline operators, website guys, reporters, writers, graphic artists, engineers — we’re a full-blown news operation,” Walsh said. “One of the most painful things I’ve got to do is cut everybody loose. Now my first priority is to be sure Fox treats these people fairly, which I think they will.”

Besides offering “AMW” employees what Walsh calls a “really fair” severance package, Fox has agreed to maintain the telephone hotline and website, which are both essential for receiving tips on fugitives from the public.

Then Walsh hopes “AMW” will soon be settled in a new TV home.

“It’s very simple,” he said. “I want to catch bad guys and find missing children — and we’re not done.”

___

Online:

http://www.amw.com/

Source: Washington Post 16/06/11

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

PM: I've reopened Maddie McCann files

BY: TOM NEWTON DUNN, Political Editor, and ANTONELLA LAZZERI

Published: 13 May 2011

DAVID Cameron has ordered the Met Police to reopen every file on missing Madeleine McCann for a full review of all evidence gathered on her.

The PM acted after the abducted youngster's parents wrote to him in an emotional open letter, published in The Sun yesterday.

Mr Cameron wrote to Kate and Gerry McCann saying he hoped "new action" in the missing Madeleine case would "help boost efforts in the search".

Clearly touched by the couple's plea for help, the Prime Minister held urgent talks on the issue with Home Secretary Theresa May.

And last night it emerged that he has ordered the Met Police to reopen all the files on Madeleine for a full review of ALL evidence ever gathered.

If the probe reveals any fresh leads over how the little girl disappeared from a Portuguese holiday apartment four years ago, a full-blown police investigation will begin.

Metropolitan Police Commissioner Sir Paul Stephenson was last night pulling together a "sizeable" elite team of detectives for the job.

They will go over every jot of evidence "with a fine-tooth comb", a senior government official said.

A small team of detectives - drawn from the Met's specialist crime directorate - will be dispatched to Portugal as soon as possible, police sources said last night.

A force spokesman said: "We can confirm the Met has agreed, at the request of the Home Secretary, to bring its particular expertise to the Madeleine McCann case. The Portuguese authorities retain the lead."

Kate, 43, and 42-year-old Gerry had appealed to the PM in a poignant open letter, urging him to re-launch the search for Madeleine and press for a full independent and transparent review into her case.

Yesterday, on her eighth birthday, dad-of-three Mr Cameron wrote back to the desperate couple, who he met 18 months ago while Opposition Leader - and whose nightmare he has closely followed.

He said in his reply: "Thank you for your heartfelt and moving letter. Your ordeal is every parent's worst nightmare and my heart goes out to you both."

"I simply cannot imagine the pain you must have experienced over these four agonising years, and the strength and determination you have shown throughout is remarkable. I have asked the Home Secretary to look into what more the Government could do to help find Madeleine."

"She will be writing to you today, setting out new action involving the Metropolitan Police Service which we hope will help boost efforts in the search for Madeleine."

Telling them he sincerely hoped his action would give their hunt "the new momentum that it needs", the PM also promised to stay "in close touch" with the couple throughout.

He added: "I know that everyone hopes and prays for a successful outcome, and our thoughts remain with you and your family."

Madeleine, of Rothley, Leics, was abducted while on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007.

Kate, whose book on her daughter - titled simply Madeleine - has been serialised all week in The Sun, admitted this week that the couple's own efforts to trace the missing girl "don't seem to be working".

She and heart consultant Gerry appeared on Sun columnist Lorraine Kelly's ITV1 show yesterday morning, where Gerry said: "We want people to read the book because it puts what's happened to us and what we are doing in context. But more than anything, we want the public to get behind the search for Madeleine like they did in 2007."

We can reveal Home Office officials have been secretly working on re-opening the hunt for Maddie for nine months.

Kate and Gerry spent an hour with Mrs May in August last year to request her help with their fruitless search.

After that, the Home Secretary quietly ordered her officials to liaise with international law enforcement agencies and do what they could in the hope of sparking a new development in the case.

Mrs May told The Sun last night: "We all want to see this beautiful little girl returned to her parents. That's why we have been doing everything we can behind the scenes."

The only British police involvement in Madeleine's case prior to last night's announcement was carried out on behalf of the Portuguese cops.

Leicestershire Police, the McCanns' local force, were the "liaison force" responsible for collating all investigation work by officers across the UK.

The British police, at the request of their Portuguese counterparts, carried out interviews with UK witnesses and also collated sightings reported to police in this country.

All the information was then sent on to Portuguese police. There was never a British investigation into Madeleine's disappearance as her abduction happened in Portugal.

The case review last night won cross-party backing in Westminster.

Shadow Home Secretary Yvonne Cooper said: "We fully back the McCanns' request for information in Madeleine's case to be reviewed.

"Any overlooked piece of this jigsaw could be important. A British child is missing, and the British authorities should do everything in their power to help in the search."

Madeleine's parents have been campaigning for a review for several years. They feel it is "crucial" to finding their daughter, fearing vital leads, sightings and other clues are buried away in Portuguese police files.

They are desperately hoping that a fresh look at the files, similar to a criminal "cold case" review, may discover something that was overlooked in the original investigation.

Gerry said: "The files are not held on a single database. By putting them all together we could discover that vital piece of the jigsaw."

All the files relating to Madeleine's case are held by the Portuguese Judiciary in Portimao - including witness statements and details of sightings.

More than 30,000 pages were released after the Portuguese investigation was shelved in 2008, but some were held back, with police insisting they could not be made public.

Last night Kate and Gerry told The Sun: "We welcome the Government's response. This is clearly a step in the right direction.

"The expertise of the Metropolitan Police is renowned and we are reassured by our government's commitment to the search for Madeleine.

"We would like to thank Mr Cameron and the Home Secretary for committing such a significant resource as the Metropolitan Police to begin the review process. We would also specifically like to thank The Sun, News International, and the general public for supporting the campaign to find Madeleine in the way they have."

t.newtondunn@the-sun.co.uk

Source: The Sun 13/05/11

For more current updates on this case see the News section of the Find Madeleine forum: http://find-madeleine.forumotion.net/t1886-news-room-discussion-11

Saturday, May 21, 2011

"I feel guilty every day of my life."

Woman magazine (paper edition)

In a frank, exclusive interview, Kate McCann tells Siân Merrylees how she and
her family have coped over the four years since her daughter's disappearance

Edition: 23 May 2011, Published: 16 May 2011

This week, Kate McCann, 42, should celebrating her daughter Madeleine's eighth birthday at home in Rothley, Leicester. It's been a long and painful four years for her, husband Gerry, 42, and twins Sean and Amelie, now six, since Madeleine vanished while on a family holiday in Portugal.

About four months after Madeleine disappeared, I dreamt about her. In the dream, someone at her nursery rang to tell me she had been found there and suddenly she was smiling at me and I was holding her. But then I woke up.

Waking crucified me, because holding her had felt so real. At times, I've felt as if I'd embarked on a slow, painful death.

Not knowing where your child is, how she is, who she is with, and when you will see her again is a glimpse of hell.

For the first two years I couldn't let myself relax or do anything enjoyable. I couldn't watch TV, read or go out for a meal. Taking pleasure in anything felt so wrong. With Madeleine still missing, I felt guilty that we weren't spending every second looking for her.

I also felt slight resentment in the early weeks that my husband Gerry seemed able to do normal things, like playing tennis. I couldn't understand how he wasn't totally consumed with grief. But he was just dealing with his despair differently, and now I'm glad that he did.

It wasn't until the summer of 2008, when we went to stay with my aunt in Canada, that I let myself relax. I'd had a run and was soaking in a warm bath with a glass of red wine. For the first time, I felt the full weight of our lives lift. But even as I acknowledged that, I had a wave of guilt.

Four years on, we still don't know what's happened to Madeleine. I just hope
with all my heart she wasn't taken by a child sex offender, although of course I know it's one of the possible scenarios.

In the days after her disappearance, I was tormented with a macabre slide show of images that no sane human being would want in her head. I would see her lying cold and mottled on a big grey stone slab, and awful pictures of her being torn apart scrolled through my mind.

I was desperate to talk to someone about them, and when Gerry and I took a walk on the beach in Portugal, I confided in him. Of course, he'd had similar thoughts, so we could comfort each other and it brought us even closer together.

When Gerry returned to work as a heart specialist in Leicester, in November 2007, I had a lot of time to grieve. I cried every day for 18 months, went to church several times a day and also spent a lot of time analysing our relationship. I was worried that I would never again be the Kate that Gerry had fallen in love with.

Somehow, life goes on

And as it was hard to get those horrific images out of my head, it is not surprising that the idea of sex repulsed me. But I was determined not to let the evil person who had taken Madeleine destroy anything else in our life. I knew sex is important, so I focused on what Gerry meant to me, how special he was, and the beautiful family we'd created together, and gradually worked through it.

We were determined to let everyone realise our little girl was missing but suddenly becoming well-known ourselves was difficult.

I've always been self-conscious, not one to stand out in a crowd, but now I found myself worrying that if I nipped into a shop to buy some fruit, somebody would be thinking: 'They're asking us for money for their fund, but they're buying strawberries in M&S. Why don't they shop at Aldi and save some pennies?'

And when the twins had tantrums, I wondered if onlookers were thinking sympathetically: 'All kids do that,' or judging me and saying: 'Her child looks
unhappy.' It all added to the stress.

Milestones missed

The day Madeleine was due to start school was awful, as she was so looking forward to it. On every one of the twins' milestones, from starting school to celebrating their fourth birthday (and every birthday since), I inevitably dwell on what I haven't had with Madeleine.

The twins often talk about her and we have a keepsake box next to her bed where we put pictures they have drawn, leaves they've collected for her - even the last sweet in a packet. We've been overwhelmed with gifts for her, so her room is now full of teddy bears, hand-knitted blankets and prayer books.

I go in every day to open and close the curtains, and sometimes just sit there thinking of her.

Before all this happened, I remember thinking how lucky Gerry and I were. We'd been through IVF and ended up with three wonderful children. I was so grateful. I know that other families who have lost children go on to have others and although you can never replace a child, I can see the joy can have a slightly healing effect. But for us, having another child would mean IVF treatment, and that would be a very conscious decision. And we'd be under constant scrutiny.

Sean and Amelie have always known their sister is missing, but recently we explained that a man took her. When I told Sean he couldn't stay in the car while I went into the petrol station the other day, he asked: 'Because someone might take me?'

They are very matter-of-fact about it, rather than fearful. Sean suggested we ask
the police to help us find Madeleine.

But shockingly, no official organisation is looking for her. The Portuguese authorities have priority over the case.

They shelved it in July 2008, and no one else is allowed to reopen it or work on it unless requested by them. We're currently lobbying the British and Portuguese governments to review the case, and we continue paying private investigators to
follow up leads. Many, frustratingly, come to nothing but they have to be eliminated.

The search continues

Even when there is only a couple of thousand pounds in the fund, it seems like a lot of money to me.

But when the accountant told us last year that we only had enough to cover six more months of investigations, we organised three fund-raisers. And I hope the sales of the book I've written will help with funds and bring in information.

We have to keep appealing for leads, as someone is carrying around a big burden.

Whoever took Madeleine is someone's son, cousin or neighbour. We have to keep prodding that someone's conscience until if s the right time for them to pass details on.

I've come to accept that taking time out from our search is important so, since writing the book, I am stepping back from the investigation for a bit. It will coincide with the children's summer holidays but, to be honest, I'm not sure what I will do.

I still havea restless, anxious sense that we have to be doing something to find her in every waking moment.

When we do find her, I know it's going to be a challenge, but bring it on!

We'll deal with anything. It's upsetting thinking she might be living a different life and calling someone else 'Mummy'.

And I've stopped speculating on other possible scenarios.

We had such a great four years together with Madeleine, I'm sure there's something that would help us reconnect.

We just need to be given that chance.


The Questions l Ask Myself

'There have been so many questions in my brain and there have been many days when all I wanted was to pull the duvet over my head,' says Kate.

Did the tapas bar booking tip off the abductor?

Although not usual, the receptionist at the holiday resort let Kate and friends book the tapas restaurant near their apartments for the week ahead. Kate noticed in police reports that the receptionist had left a note at the pool reception explaining she'd let them do so because they were leaving their kids sleeping alone in nearby apartments. When she saw the note, Kate was horrified as It was accessible to staff, guests and visitors to the complex, and obviously a risk'.

Who is this man?

'My friend Jane noticed a man carrying a child a few minutes' walk from our apartment the night Madeleine disappeared. A family from Ireland saw him too and all had noticed, despite the chilly night, that the child was barefoot, not covered in a blanket and the man looked as if he was not used to carrying a child.' Kate points out that if he was an innocent father, surely he would have come forward to be eliminated from the investigations.

Why did we leave the kids alone?

The listening service at the resort involved staff periodically checking on sleeping children by standing outside their doors. Kate and her friends chose to leave their children alone, but go one better and check them themselves. This is a decision they 'now bitterly regret and will do so until the end of our days'.

Was Madeleine drugged?

'The day she went missing, Madeleine was pale and tired and asked me to carry her from the pool back to the apartment,' says Kate. 'It was odd as usually she has loads of energy.' Was her daughter tired from holiday activities or had she been given something during that day - or the previous night - to make her sleepy? einforcing Kate's fears is the fact that despite the chaos, lights and screaming that went on after their sister's disappearance was discovered, the twins slept soundly on. Were they drugged too?

Was someone in the room the night before?

The day before she went missing Madeleine asked why her parents hadn't come to
them when she and Sean had cried in the middle of the night. 'I'm haunted by those words,' says Kate. 'I'm convinced someone was in their room to wake them and blame myself for not sitting down with Madeleine and drawing more information out of her.'

Why did we become suspects?

Kate and Gerry became suspects in September 2007 and were not cleared till 10 months later. Kate was incensed that while the police focused on them, the man she thinks took Madeleine was free. 'He was probably smiling and thinking: 'Keep blaming the parents and I'll keep on taking children."

What was the stain on Madeleine's top?

'I didn't think of it at the time but the day Madeleine disappeared I noticed what I thought was a tea stain on her Disney pyjama top,' she says. 'I washed it without thinking but looking back, the children hadnt drunk any tea that day and I can't remember her mentioning that she'd spilt anything.'

Does she miss her Cuddle Cat?

'Madeleine's favourite toy, Cuddle Cat, goes everywhere with me now! And when Sean or Amelie have lost their own toys, they always ask to borrow it.'

Source: Woman magazine 16/05/11

To read more and discuss this story go to our forum at: http://find-madeleine.forumotion.net/

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kate McCann: Kidnapper drugged twins night Madeleine taken

Posted in the UK's Mail Online on 12th and 13th of May:


* McCanns hope book will raise £1m to be spent on hunt for Madeleine
* Parents say David Cameron has 'suffered his own loss as a father' as they make a personal plea for his assistance in hunt
* Downing Street responds, saying Government will do 'all it can to help'
* Maddie's siblings asked only yesterday: 'How tall is she now?'
* Mrs McCann: 'Kidnapper may have approached the night before snatching'
* She also revealed that she won't have any more children
* Husband says: 'As long as Maddie is missing, we will never give up search'

Kate McCann said the kidnapper who seized Madeleine may also have drugged her other two children, as she launched a new appeal in the hunt for her missing girl today.

Mrs McCann said she had to check that twins Sean and Amelie were still breathing because they did not wake as they began a frantic search for the missing three-year-old.

And the mother revealed she believes the man who snatched Maddie may have approached their Portuguese holiday flat the night before - but fled when he was disturbed.
Kate and Gerry McCann attend a press conference for the launch of Mrs McCann's new book Madeleine about her daughter's disappearance. Today would have been her eighth birthday

Kate and Gerry McCann attend a press conference for the launch of Mrs McCann's new book Madeleine about her daughter's disappearance. Today would have been her eighth birthday

Their pain: Gerry and Kate have vowed never to give up the hunt for Madeleine - and they have called for David Cameron to intervene

She carried out a fresh round of media interviews today as she publishes a new book about her daughter's disappearance, called Madeleine.

Kate and husband Gerry hope sales will raise £1million to provide continued funding for their private investigation.

More...

* Maddie's new outfit may have tempted kidnapper to snatch her, says Kate McCann

Asked if the twins had been drugged, she said on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour today: 'On the night I just remember the twins lying in the cot and not moving - with lights going on and people moving around.

'There was a lot of noise and they just didn't move and I remember several times checking for chest movements. I did feel it was a bit strange that they were not moving let alone waking up.
New outfit: Kate McCann writes that she admired Madeleine in her new pink outfit - but fears someone else did too

'I did consider with Madeleine perhaps she had been given something too.'

Madeleine disappeared from her bed on May 3, 2007, during a family holiday in the Algarve, and has not been seen since.

The mother added the morning before Maddie vanished she had been crying and complained that she had not slept.

Mrs McCann said: 'I just think it is too much of a coincidence but I never thought for one moment that there was anything sinister.'

She added: 'When we discovered she had gone it seemed very likely that someone had tried the same thing the night before.'

Today, as the McCanns mark Madeleine's eighth birthday, Kate revealed that the missing girl's siblings Sean and Amelie asked only yesterday: 'How tall is Madeline now?'

As she held her husband's knee, she said on Daybreak this morning that the family still feel the presence of the missing girl four years on.

She said: 'Madeleine is everywhere, she is with us all the time and it was only yesterday that Sean and Amelie were asking "how tall is Madeline now?".

'I was trying to explain she will be a bit taller than you but a bit shorter than her best friend.'

And in a pre-recorded interview with the BBC, Madeleine's mother, a doctor, said that medics don't stop treating the sick if they cannot diagnose the condition.

She asked: 'Why is it with a missing child you can stop going?'

She revealed this morning that she does not intend to have any more children.

The McCanns fear that potentially vital information given to Portuguese and British police has been ignored, and are calling for an independent review of the case.
Kate and Gerry McCann hope the book, which Kate has written without the help of a ghost writer, will raise £1million to go towards the private investigation

They have written to David Cameron calling for a 'transparent and comprehensive' review of all the information about their daughter's disappearance.

In their letter to the Prime Minister, published in The Sun, the McCanns wrote: 'One call might be all that is needed to lead to Madeleine and her abductor.

'To this end we are seeking a joint independent, transparent and comprehensive review of all information held in relation to Madeleine's disappearance.
'There's no evidence to say that she's dead,' said Kate McCann, with her husband Gerry, in an interview with Lorraine on ITV this morning as they launched a fresh appeal

'Thus far there has been no formal review of the material held by the police authorities.'

This afternoon they made a personal appeal to David Cameron to assist them.

Referring to the tragic death of the Prime Minister's son Ivan, Gerry told a London press conference: 'he has suffered his own loss' as a father.

A spokesman for David Cameron said he would do 'all he can' to assist the McCanns.

'The Prime Minister met Kate and Gerry McCann while he was Leader of the Opposition, and he has followed their plight very closely,' he said.

'He and the Home Secretary want to make sure the Government does all it can to help them'.

A Downing Street spokesman later added: 'We are considering what the McCanns have said and we will see if there is any more we can do. We want to help.'
Four year search: Kate and Gerry held a marathon round of interviews today as they launched a fresh information appeal four years after Maddie, then three, vanished

Four year search: Kate and Gerry held a marathon round of interviews today as they launched a fresh information appeal four years after Maddie, then three, vanished

In her new book, serialised in The Sun, Mrs McCann told of her fear that the ‘lovely’ sight of Madeleine in a new outfit may have tempted someone to kidnap her.

She said the pink smock top and shorts were bought specially for the family holiday in Praia da Luz.

Her final photo of her daughter shows her wearing the new outfit and sitting with Mr McCann, 42, and younger sister Amelie by the pool just hours before she disappeared.

In an extract from the book, Mrs McCann described Madeleine’s Monsoon shorts and Gap smock, saying: ‘A small extravagance, perhaps, but I’d pictured how lovely she would look in them and I was right.’

She adds: ‘I was following her with my eyes admiring her. I wonder now, the nausea rising in my throat, if someone else was doing the same.’

Mrs McCann told The Sun that she and Gerry remain convinced their daughter is still alive, and cannot give up just because she has been missing for four years.

She said: ‘Certainly in my heart I feel she is out there. We’ve never given up on finding her. What parent would give up on their child?’

The McCanns insist there is no evidence to say Madeleine is dead, and so they have to assume she is not.

They have embarked on a marathon round of TV appearances to rekindle worldwide interest, including an hour-long interview with Piers Morgan, televised in the U.S. last night.

Mr and Mrs McCann cling to examples of children being returned home many years after going missing, such as American Jaycee Dugard, abducted at 11 in California and freed aged 18. *Note: This should say Miss Dugard was 28 when found.*

The couple have also drawn inspiration from meeting another girl, Elizabeth Smart, who was snatched from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah, at the age of 14 and found after a year.

Pre-order sales of Mrs McCann’s book mean it has already topped the bestseller list on Amazon.co.uk.

All profits will go to the Find Madeleine fund, which employs a team of private detectives to comb through clues, and funds a hotline to gather information.
Missing for four years: Madeleine McCann

Distraught: Kate McCann has told of her fear that the sight of Madeleine in a new outfit may have tempted someone to kidnap her

Whirlwind: Kate and Gerry McCann speak to Lorraine Kelly this morning as they begin a new round of television interviews on Madeleine's eighth birthday

In her book, Mrs McCann also reveals that her family nearly chose to holiday at Center Parcs in the UK before making the fateful decision to switch to the Algarve instead.

‘It was the first in a series of apparently minor decisions I would give anything to change now,’ she says.

During the CNN interview, the McCanns were asked why they had not hired a nanny to look after their three children while they went out for dinner with friends.

Mr McCann replied: ‘It’s not a question of money. Child abduction is so rare. It didn’t enter our head.’

For details of ways to donate to the Find Madeleine fund, visit www.findmadeleine.com.

McCANNS APPEAL TO DAVID CAMERON IN HUNT FOR MADDIE:

Here is the full text of Kate and Gerry McCann's letter to Prime Minister David Cameron, as published in the Sun:

Dear Prime Minister

As a devoted father and family man, you know the importance of children. Our beloved eldest child, Madeleine, was abducted from Praia da Luz, Portugal, four years ago. Since then, we have devoted all our energies to ensuring her safe return.

Today we are asking you - and the British and Portuguese governments - to help find Madeleine and bring her back to her loving family.

We live in hope that Madeleine will be found alive and returned to us. One call might be all that is needed to lead to Madeleine and her abductor.

To this end, we are seeking a joint INDEPENDENT, TRANSPARENT and COMPREHENSIVE review of ALL information held in relation to Madeleine's disappearance. Thus far, there has been NO formal review of the material held by the police authorities - which is routine practice in most major unsolved crimes.

It is not right that a young vulnerable British citizen has essentially been given up on. This remains an unsolved case of a missing child. Children are our most precious gift.

Please don't give up on Madeleine.

Kate & Gerry McCann

Source: Daily Mail 13/05/11

Read more articles and comments from our forum at: http://find-madeleine.forumotion.net/t2619p30-weekly-news-beginning-9th-may-2011

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

McCanns Mark Madeleine Disapperance Anniversary

BBC News Leceister

Published 3 May 2011

Kate and Gerry McCann Kate and Gerry McCann will mark the anniversary with family and friends.

The parents of Madeleine McCann are marking the fourth anniversary of her disappearance with family and friends.

Kate and Gerry McCann are preparing to publish their account of how she disappeared while on a family holiday in Portugal.

Madeleine, of Rothley, Leicestershire, was nearly four when she vanished in Praia da Luz, Algarve, in May 2007.

A service is being held in Liverpool, at the Roman Catholic church attended by her maternal grandparents.

Family spokesman Clarence Mitchell said: "It will be a private day marked with family and friends. The anniversary is normally a very low-key occasion at home for them."

He added that there were no plans for them to return to Portugal for the four-year landmark.

The McCanns hope the publication of a book, entitled Madeleine, will prompt people holding vital information about what happened to Madeleine to come forward.

It was originally due to be published last week but publishers Transworld postponed the release date until 12 May to avoid clashing with the royal wedding.

The official Portuguese inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance formally ceased in July 2008 but private detectives employed by the McCanns have continued the search for the missing child.

Source: BBC News Leceister 03/05/11

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Madeleine McCann: time to forget?

The Telegraph

26th April 2011

By Olga Craig

As the fourth anniversary of Madeleine McCann's disappearance approaches - and coincides with a new book written by her mother, Kate - Olga Craig returns to Praia da Luz to see how the Portuguese resort has put the incident behind it.

It is the spiritual sanctuary to which Kate and Gerry McCann return time and time again with each passing year. Usually their visits are in private, occasionally with close relatives. But it is here, in the tiny, white-washed 17th-century church of Our Lady of Light, overlooking the sea in Praia da Luz on the Algarve, where the couple feel closest to Madeleine, their cherished oldest child, who next month will have been missing for four years. Here is where Kate, especially, in the words of parish priest Father Haynes Hubbard, her Portuguese pastor and confidant, “comes back to cling to the hope that their daughter will come home”.

The church has always been where the McCanns and their supporters have gathered, particularly during those dark days following May 3 2007 when Madeleine, then just days short of her fourth birthday, vanished from the family’s holiday apartment in the seaside village. It has been here they have found succour and strength. Here that they still hope one day to return to give thanks and salvation for the safe return of their child, who will turn eight next month.

Yet today, as another agonising anniversary looms for the McCanns, there is, surely, something missing? While the congregation prays daily for Madeleine, the photographs of the little girl, forever frozen in time as the chubby-cheeked, gap-toothed toddler she was when she vanished, are nowhere to be seen. Once, they adorned the walls and pews. “Find Madeleine” posters, replaced when they faded, were pinned near the altar and yellow and green ribbons, symbols of the campaign launched to search for her, adorned the porch. Now there are none.

“There are pictures of Madeleine in the church,” Fr Hubbard says hesitantly. “But you can’t see them, they are hidden. They are not on display. People were hurt and scarred by everything that was said and done and it has frightened them off. Many are now cautious to openly display their hope.”

He is wary; uncomfortable, perhaps. He chooses his words with care. For while he – and many in his congregation – continue to pray in hope rather than in despair, the sad truth is that Madeleine McCann has become an awkward, painful and, perhaps unpalatably, at times taboo topic in Praia da Luz. Tragically, though perhaps understandably, the overwhelming atmosphere here is of a community uncomfortable with its connection to a lost little girl. Some have simply airbrushed her from memory while others, who at the time were highly vocal in the “Find Maddy” campaign, now distance themselves.

A few, one suspects, feel guilty that the locals did not handle the disappearance in a more organised – and less hysterical – manner. As Inez Lopes, editor of the local newspaper, Algarve Resident, points out: “People want to move on, not be forever attached to or identified with Madeleine. Of course we still feel for the McCanns but we want to be associated with a happier place. Frankly, it was an isolated incident that could have happened anywhere in the world. Right now Portugal is in the grip of a financial crisis. In Praia da Luz the feeling is that it has hurt our local economy. Tourism was affected by it, businesses closed. I don’t think the local business community can be blamed for wanting to return to being nothing more than a holidaymakers’ haven.”

Many of the principal characters in the case – which saw the McCanns by turn being comforted and protected by the Portuguese and expatriate communities alike as grieving parents; then vilified and shunned when they were, wrongly, accused of being involved in the disappearance – have moved on. Others want to banish all reminders of Madeleine’s existence and some openly display anger that this once prosperous tourist town is now synonymous with the abduction and possible murder of a child. Just a month ago, fresh posters were either torn down or had paint splattered over them within 24 hours. Reluctantly the McCanns have accepted that their campaign reminders are no longer welcomed by many locals.

And while no one would deny that the McCanns have borne the brunt of the anguish and opprobrium, they are not alone in that suffering. Within weeks of Madeleine’s disappearance Robert Murat, a British expatriate who had made Praia da Luz his home, was under investigation. The villa he shared with his elderly mother Jenny was searched by police and sniffer dogs and its grounds dug up. Mr Murat was questioned repeatedly by police and became the public scapegoat for the international outrage over Madeleine’s abduction. He was vilified in print, spat at in the streets and besieged in his home. In time, he too was exonerated. The scars of his public savaging, however, remain. These days he is rarely seen in public in Praia da Luz. He has since married his long-term girlfriend Michaela (she, too, was wrongly accused of involvement) who eight months ago gave birth to their son, Benjamin.

“No one wanted to know how I felt, or what I was going through at the time,” he says with an understandable trace of bitterness. “From my perspective, I have a new life with my wife and baby son.”

None the less, Mr Murat and his family have found it difficult to return to anonymity. “It’s still talked about here. All the time. But everyone is more cautious, less willing to take events at face value,” says Tuck Price, a close friend of Mr Murat and his staunchest supporter when he was wrongly accused. “Madeleine’s disappearance is an uncomfortable reminder that perhaps we had all become too complacent. Just last week I had my four-year-old nephew and his 12-year-old sister staying. And yes, I was more vigilant. I kept a closer eye on them than maybe I would have before Madeleine disappeared.’’

Mr Murat’s aunt and uncle, Sally and Ralph Everleigh, were also hounded during the spell he was under suspicion. Though they were never accused of any involvement they were harassed and cold-shouldered: for nothing more than being deemed guilty by association. “It was a horrendous time,” Mrs Everleigh recalls. “Our house was bugged, our phones tapped. Of course the McCanns have suffered a tragedy that they will never be able to come to terms with. How could they? But the stress of the whole situation made my husband ill. We suffered in our own way.” Little wonder, then, that each year, as the May 3 anniversary approaches, the couple leave their home and spend a few weeks in Gibraltar to escape the attention.

There are many in the tourism trade, too, whose businesses have been affected by what Ms Lopes describes as the “double whammy of the recession and the Maddy effect”. Several shops are boarded up and closed, and the resort seems a little more shabby, a little more down-at-heel. Restaurant owners mutter or grimace dismissively when asked how they have been affected. “Badly,” is the morose, monosyllabic response of one café owner. “We don’t want to talk about it,” say most. “We want the holidaymakers back.” It hasn’t helped, naturally, that Portugal’s weather is currently unseasonably poor. Last week, Praia da Luz was lashed with torrential rain, its few tourists forced to huddle in cafés clad in sou’westers and gumboots.

Mrs Ruth McCann (no relation) who owned the 5a apartment that was rented to the McCanns through the Ocean Club complex from where Madeleine was snatched, has tried for two years to sell. Though she dropped the price to £255,000 (£50,000 less than similar properties sell for) she didn’t have a single inquiry. The flat has lain unoccupied since the McCanns left it to return to their Leicestershire home in Rothely in September 2007. And it shows. The varnish on its front door has become faded and stripped by the sun; its garden is overgrown and the hedge, in contrast to those adjacent, is unkempt and bedraggled. “I keep asking the Ocean people to cut it,” says Ian Fenn who inherited the apartment above from his mother, Pamela, who died last month.

Mr Fenn, who lives in England, visits the flat monthly and has witnessed its transformation from white-washed holiday home to a ghoulish, run-down tourist attraction. “There are always tourists who stand outside and get their friends to take their photograph outside 5a,” he says wearily. “They find some ghastly attraction in being pictured at the spot when a little girl was abducted. Gerry McCann did come up to apologise to my mother for all the unwanted attention – which was incredibly kind as he has endured a grief and pain that no parent should ever have to withstand.”

There have been subtle changes, too, in the Ocean complex. On the night their daughter was snatched, the McCanns and seven other British couples in their party, dined in the complex, leaving all their children – in adjacent apartments – alone. They did not lock the doors, fearing the children would be trapped should a fire break out. Neither did they pay for a baby-sitting service, saying they didn’t want to leave their children with strangers. Instead, in a decision that will forever haunt the couple, they opted to take turns checking on all the sleeping children at half-hourly intervals. Today, the dining area has been turned into a pizzeria and is no longer open in the evenings. And though the McCanns have received world-wide sympathy, they know that those fateful decisions will always be questioned.

In the complex several British families, hoping to escape what they believed would be brisk Easter weather at home, were holidaying in the Ocean complex last week. Mike and Liz Atwood from Birmingham and their three children – Toby, 12, Lucy, nine, and four-year-old Tom – were among the few who braved the pool during the brief spells when the monsoon-like rains ceased. The family has holidayed in Praia da Luz many times and though Madeleine’s disappearance disturbed them, they have opted to return each year.

“But, of course, we are more vigilant,” Mrs Atwood admits. “This is a friendly, family-orientated resort and the Portuguese are well-known for how lovingly they treat children. But we just don’t let the kids out of our sight. We wouldn’t dream of going out for dinner and leaving them alone. I don’t mean to be critical of the McCanns. All parents can empathise with how grief-stricken they are. How bitterly they regret those decisions. They are paying a dear and heavy price and no one would wish it upon them. It has certainly made us be more attentive.”

On Praia da Luz’s beach, too, parents keep a keen eye on their children. Between heavy showers, as some played in the sand clad in stout boots and raincoats, their mothers shivered on the sea front watching them. “I don’t even want to sit in the café where it’s warm,” one said. “I would rather get wet and cold and know they are safe.”

Among the local Portuguese community too there have been many whose lives have changed immeasurably since Madeleine's disappearance. None more so, perhaps, than Gonçalo Amaral, who initially headed the botched and woefully inadequate police investigation. Since being dropped from the case, he has become a thorn in the McCanns’ side. While Kate awaits the launch of her own book on May 12 (Madeleine’s birthday) in which she tells the story from her perspective, and the proceeds from which will hopefully boost the vastly depleted Find Madeleine campaign, she and husband Gerry face a renewed legal battle with Amaral. They had already clashed over his sensationalised and dubious account of events, cryptically entitled The Truth of The Lie in which he attempted to justify his decision to brand the couple as suspects, which the McCanns called “mistaken” and aired his highly speculative theory that Madeleine died in apartment 5a. When he was barred from publishing it, he set about writing another which is also timed to launch near Madeleine’s birthday.

This weekend, while he refused to comment on his book, his wife Sonia defended his decision to publish a second. “Gonçalo has worked hard on this book,” she said. “He has spent days and nights assessing the evidence. In it he will say his investigation was cut short and he will explain what he would have done if he had been allowed to continue.” The timing of the publication, she insisted, was “coincidental. We are not trying to cash in on the anniversary”.

None the less, the timing will be hurtful for the McCanns who had hoped their court battles had dissuaded him from further comment. “It’s just one more painful thing they must face,” says one relative. “Quite why he wants to hound them when it has been proved definitively that they are completely innocent, no one knows.”

This weekend, while the congregation of Our Lady of Light held traditional Easter services, doubtless many said silent prayers for Madeleine, although she was not mentioned by name. Many will leave the village for the anniversary, others intend to make an appearance at the vigil in the church on May 3. In their home town of Rothely, Kate and Gerry will be steeling themselves to attend their fourth service that marks yet another year without a trace of Madeleine.

Both vigils will be emotion-filled. Prayers will be said, fervent hopes for a happy outcome – which, with the passing of time, becomes ever less likely – voiced. In Praia da Luz, however, quietly and behind the scenes, one man will spend the day remembering Madeleine in a more practical way. David Edgar, the Ulster-born ex-police officer whose Alpha Group Investigations has taken over the search, will hope that the anniversary – and publication of Kate’s book – will jog a long-forgotten memory.

That finally there will be a resolution to what has become an enduring mystery: the whereabouts of Madeleine McCann.

Source: The Telegraph 26/04/11

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Four years on, Maddie search hits inboxes

The Sydney Morning Herald

Tim Barlass

April 10, 2011

Photo: Reuters
THE family of missing English girl Madeleine McCann are aiming to reach 80 per cent of the world's inboxes in two weeks with a viral email and photo reminding people of her disappearance.

The picture shows the distinctive imperfection in her right eye which her parents hope could be the vital clue to her discovery.

Madeleine, aged four at the time, went missing four years ago next month while the family were holidaying in Praia da Luz in Portugal.

Her aunt Phil McCann said: ''I am asking everyone I know to send this as a chain letter as the story is only being covered in Britain, Eire and Portugal. We don't believe she is in Portugal any more.'' Another aunt, Diane McCann, said: ''The purpose of this is to highlight the distinction in Madeleine's eye where the pupil runs into the blue-green iris.'' She said Madeleine's hair could be cut or dyed.

Maddie disappeared from her bed as her parents Gerry and Kate dined in their holiday complex.

Publication of a book about their daughter's disappearance has been delayed to avoid clashing with the royal wedding on April 29.

All proceeds from the book will go to the McCanns' official search fund.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald 10/04/11



Sunday, March 27, 2011

EX-COP IN MADELEINE MCCANN BOOK BID

Daily Star Sunday

27th March 2011

By Daily Star Reporter





THE police chief sacked over the bungled hunt for Madeleine McCann is trying to get his once-banned book published in Britain.

In an exclusive interview with the Daily Star Sunday, Goncalo Amaral said he is desperate to have his account of the search on sale in the UK.

And he welcomed Kate McCann’s book about her daughter’s disappearance, which is to be released soon.

Mr Amaral claims that Madeleine died in a Praia da Luz holiday apartment in Portugal.

Earlier this month he had an injunction banning the sale of The Truth Of The Lie lifted by the Portuguese courts.

He said: “I have the right to publish any book in the UK and the British people have the right to be able to read and know about what may have happened on the night of May 3, 2007.”

It was then that Madeleine, aged three, vanished from the apartment and has not been seen since.

Last night the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell said they would be making no comment about Mr Amaral’s plans.

Mrs McCann’s book, simply titled Madeleine, is due out on what would be the child’s eighth birthday, May 12.

Any proceeds will go towards funding the family’s search for Maddie.



Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Kate and Gerry McCann's fundraising page

Fundraiser: Kate McCann


My page: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/KateMcCann2

Thank you for visiting our fundraising page.
It is hard to believe that a whole year has passed since we ran the last Miles for Missing People. We are running this year to remember our Madeleine and all children who are missing. We hope and pray that they come home safely. We are very glad to be supporting the charity Missing People once more, and helping them to continue to be a lifeline when someone disappears.

Miles for Missing People 2011
02 April 2011

Event details

Are you looking for a new challenge? Join hundreds of other runners and families of missing people on this beautiful run around Regents’ Park, London to raise money for Missing People. Miles for Missing People 10k (6.2miles) is a great event for experience runners and first timers alike - there is even a two mile Fun Run for children and families who want to take part together. All proceeds will help Missing People provide a lifeline when someone disappears.
"Miles for Missing People was a great event. It was a fantastic course, really well organised and had a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. I will be back next year!"
2010 Participant

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Thursday, March 10, 2011

'Dead' British woman found alive after 57 years

Yahoo! UK News

10th March 2011

A missing woman who was presumed dead has been tracked down and reunited with her family 57 years after she mysteriously vanished.


Florence McLellan, 74, who is originally from the Cheetham Hill area of Manchester was found alive and well in Islington, London by police detectives following her disappearance in the '50s.

Unbeknownst to her family, 17-year-old Florence escaped from Brockhall mental institution in Lancashire and fled 200 miles to London in 1954, changing her name to Diane Roberts.

She had been sectioned by her parents after giving birth to a son out of wedlock, and was forced to give the baby for adoption.

Her extraordinary discovery was made possible when the missing woman's surviving relatives responded to a media appeal for information after suspecting that a skeleton dug up by builders in a car park in Manchester city centre last year could have been Florence's.

According to Greater Manchester Police, DNA tests ruled her out as the body and were able to crack the case after a year-long missing person's investigation leading them to her astonishing finding in the capital.

Florence, a mother-of-two and a grandmother-of-five told the Manchester Evening News: "I was really worried when I got a phone call from the police because I thought I would be sent back to Brockhall. I'm so relieved I don't have to go back. This has all come as such a shock but it has been a weight off my shoulders."

Son Glyn Roberts, 47, added: "Our worlds have been turned upside down by this. I always thought I was my mum's first born. I feel like I'm just beginning to get to know my mum again. There have been tears and cuddles but she is the victim in all of this."

The Roberts family now want to trace son, Joseph, who was put up for adoption 57-years-ago.
DCI Joanne Rawlinson, who is leading the investigation into the murder, said: "Things like this make the job worthwhile. Out of the sad set of circumstances we are investigating there has been a happy outcome for this family."

A spokesman for Greater Manchester Police told Yahoo! News that they were continuing with their enquiries into the identity of the remains found in the car park.

Anyone with information is asked to call the Major Incident Team on 0161 856 4337 or 0161 872 5050.

Written by Gaby Leslie

Source: Yahoo! UK News 10/03/11