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Rebuttal of "Fact" 18

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18. In a BBC TV interview, Kate McCann admitted that she had never spent any time at all physically looking for Madeleine.


Verdict - False.  This is a misrepresentation of what Kate said in the BBC interview and there are other sources which record her physically searching the streets of Praia da Luz (see below - sources provided).

Source - Media interview, Kate McCann's diary, Police Files





Summary of Verifiable Facts


  1. In reference to the many people who were still out searching for Madeleine during the three weeks following her disappearance, the interviewer asked Kate whether she ever felt “I’ve got to go and be out there with them. I’ve got to go and just physically look as well?”
  2. To this Kate replied "I mean I did. I mean, we’d been working really hard really apart from the first 48 hours as Gerry says were incredibly difficult and we were almost non-functioning I’d say. But after that you get strength from somewhere."
  3. Kate then referred to the other things they'd been doing to help the search which "might not be physically searching but we’ve been working really hard and doing absolutely everything we can really to get Madeleine back".



Once again, the MMRG have not provided sources to support their claims, but we have traced it to the McCann's first TV interview which was with Jane Hill of the BBC on 25th May 2007.  Film footage of the interview can be seen here.  The portion of the transcript below starts at 4.44.


Primary Sources from the McCanns


Transcript of Interview with BBC on 25th May,2007

Note: Kate was not asked if she had EVER searched for Madeleine.  Nor did she reply that she had NEVER searched for Madeleine.  She is being asked if she felt the urge to join in with the searching and researching which was ongoing during the three weeks after Madeleine disappeared. 



Jane Hill: And I’ve spoken to a lot of people over the weeks, local people who’ve given up a lot of time..you’ve talked about the support they’ve given you. I met people who didn’t go to work for more than a week because every day they were down on the beach, searching the streets. Did you as a mother Kate just sometimes think “I’ve got to go and be out there with them. I’ve got to go and just physically look as well?”


Kate McCann: I mean I did. I mean, we’d been working really hard really apart from the first 48 hours as Gerry says were incredibly difficult and we were almost non-functioning I’d say. But after that you get strength from somewhere. We’ve certainly had loads of support and that’s given us strength and it’s been able to make us focus really so we have actually in our own way, it might not be physically searching but we’ve been working really hard and doing absolutely everything we can really to get Madeleine back.



Kate's diary entry for 4th May, 2007 describes physical searching

 FRIDAY, MAY 4: No sleep, Gerry and I started looking through the streets around 06.00 as it was starting to get light. Nobody around. Why not? Desperate.

Excerpts from Kate's book describing their physical searching (paperback version pages 95-113) 

David said 'Let's just check the apartment.'  I'd done that....I ran out into the car park, flying from end to end, yelling desperately 'Madeleine, Madeleine!'  It was so cold and windy....Fear was shearing through my body...


Gerry, David, Russell and Matt split into pairs and dashed around the adjacent apartment blocks


Just after ten past ten, Gerry asked Matt to run to the Ocean Club's twenty-four-hour reception to get the staff to call the police...  By this time the Mark Warner people had rounded up as many of their colleagues as they could, off-duty staff as well as those just finishing their shifts, rousing some of them from their beds.  Close to ten-thirty they activated the company's 'missing child search protocol' and mobilised people to comb the complex and its environs., At 10.35pm the police had still not arrived, so Gerry asked Matt if he would go back to the twenty-four-hour reception and find out what was happening.  John Hill, the Mark Warner resort manager came up to the veranda behind our apartment.  I remember screaming at him to do something.  'Where are the police?' I yelled at him.  He tried to reassure me they'd be with us soon, but I could tell that he, too was finding the waiting difficult.  Minutes felt like hours... 

Gerry had been over to the Mini Club above the twenty-four-hour reception thinking that if Madeleine had been left somewhere, she might make her way back to any place that was familiar to her... 


Gerry meanwhile was running from pillar to post, urging me to remain in the apartment with the twins so that I'd be on hand if Madeleine was found and brought back there...

On my insistence, Gerry and Dave went out again to look for some sign of Madeleine.  They went up and down the beach in the dark, running, shouting...


I walked briskly up and down Rua dr Agostinho da Silva, sometimes breaking into a jog, clinging to the hope that I'd spot something in the dark...

I couldn't have allowed myself to entertain sleep.  I felt Madeleine's terror, and I had to keep vigil with her.  I needed to be doing something, but I didn't know where to put myself.  I wandered restlessly in and out of the room and onto the balcony.  At long last, dawn broke...

As soon as it was light, Gerry and I returned to our search We went up and down roads we'd never seen before having barely left the Oceab Club complex all week.  We jumped over walls and taked through undergrowth.  We looked in ditches and holes.  All was quiet apart from the sound of barking dogs, which added to the eeriness of the atmosphere  I remember opening a big dumpter-type bin and saying to myself please God don't let her be in here.  The most striking and horrific thing about it all was that we were completely alone.  Nobody else, it seemed was out looking for Madeleine.  Just us, her parents.

We must have been out for at least an hour before returning to David and Fiona's apartment... 


Police Files - Statement of Paolo Jorge Fernandes Neto, GNR Officer dated 27th May.

Here Kate McCann's claim to have been out searching for Madeleine early on 4th May is confirmed by GNR Officer Paolo Jorge Fernandes Neto who was on duty from 1am-9am on 4th May 2007:-


He remembers that he saw the McCann couple at about 07.00 alone in the street next to the site where they were stationed.



Effective searching

The McCanns have been criticised for not participating more in the physical search for Madeleine.  However, effective searching for a missing child is not all about physical searching.  In particular, the parents of the missing child are the best people to sit down with police and provide information about the child and his/her last known movements.

The poster Sansouci posted the following about Parents and Searching on PFA2:-


a) a professional police force would not allow parents to search. Apart from the emotional trauma, and the possibility of them being suspects / involved, searching is a methodical, painstaking process, which requires co-ordination. Members of the public are often recruited to help, but under the supervision of police officers experienced in searching techniques. If anything were to be found, they would not want everyone rushing about destroying evidence. The parents, in the early hours, would be best employed assisting the police and providing information etc.


(b) the best people to conduct searches of premises are the police, because they have investigative powers. Individuals cannot demand the right to enter premises, and would therefore be severely hampered in any attempts.


(c) In terms of longer term searching, who is the most effective? The individual who rushes here and there searching frantically? (the apparently preferred method of the antis) Or someone who co-ordinates and motivates a team of professional investigators, and concentrates on raising the money to keep the search going. (what it seems the McCanns are doing).



From US Department of Justice - "When Your Child is MIssing - A Family Survival Guide"


Your Role in the Search:
The First 48 Hours
In the initial stage of the search, devote your time to providing information to and answering questions from investigators.  Once you discover that your child is missing, you will desperately want to help with the search. You may, in fact, wonder how you possibly can stand by and let others look for your child. But the reality is that in most instances, the best use of your energy is not on the physical search itself. Rather, you need to provide information to and answer questions from investigators and to be at home in the event your child calls or returns. 



Additional note

In a TV documentary, missing Ayrshire toddler Sandy Davidson's mother Margaret told Lorraine Kelly that she couldn't physically take part in the search for her son because she was too afraid that she might be the one to find him and she was afraid of what that might be. 

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