The Tragic Disappearance of Madeleine McCann


Samael Morales, Writer

Madeleine McCann was a 3-year-old British girl, born in 2003 as the daughter of Kate and Gerry McCann. On April 28th, 2007, Madeleine and her family went on vacation with their friends. They decided to stay at Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Upon arrival at the resort, the McCanns checked in to apartment 5A. Madeleine’s abduction occurred a few days later, on May 3rd, 2007. Her parents had decided to have a night out with friends in a tapas restaurant 100 yards from the resort. Kate and Gerry McCann had mentioned that the restaurant had a perfect view of the resort from which they could keep track of the kids. However, The McCanns and their friends still had a “baby listening service” they would use to check on the kids every 20-30 minutes. 

On May 3rd, 2007, Madeleine and her siblings had spent most of the day at the resort’s kid’s clubs. At half past five in the afternoon, the children met with their mother. At this time, the kids were exhausted, Madeleine particularly, and asked to be carried back to her room. When they got home Kate put the kids to sleep; she later stated the kids were so tired that they barely finished the story she was reading for them; Madeleine was barely awake at the end. Their father, in the meantime, was playing tennis. When Gerry returned to the apartment, he said good night to the kids and got ready for dinner. At half past eight, the McCanns had already arrived at the tapas restaurant; their friends took a bit longer to arrive. 

9:05 pm: Gerry got up to check on the kids. He walked in through the patio door, which was left unlocked, and went to the bedroom, where he had what he called a “proud father” moment when he saw his kids sleeping. 

9:25 pm: Kate got up to check on the kids, but Matt Oldfield, one of the friends she was dining with, offered to check on them before she could go. Matt walked in through the patio door but did not enter the room. Matt saw some light coming from the room and heard a shuffling noise as if one of the twins were moving about, but he did not hear anything else, so he left. 

10:00 pm: Kate decided to check on the kids. She walked in through the patio door as everyone else had and became curious when she noticed the door was slightly more open than she remembered and saw more light than expected. As she approached the door and reached out for it, a “wind” slammed the door shut. She then opened the door again and found Madeleine’s bed empty, and the window opened with the shutters raised. Upon discovering this, she ran back to the restaurant and told the others in alarm that Madeleine was gone. 

When the news got around, many people at the resort became involved in the search. The police were called multiple times and did not arrive until at least one or two hours later. When the police arrived, they noticed that the scene was not well preserved and had been trampled by well-meaning searchers. This led to difficulties finding leads on what happened to Madeleine. 

As the investigation occurred, some witnesses stated they saw a middle-aged blond man carrying a little girl who matched Madeleine’s description. However, no one initially found this suspicious as many people were carrying sleeping kids around the resort. According to witnesses, he was white with blondish hair, close-shaven and aged between 30-35 years old. 

By May 12th, nine days after Madeleine’s disappearance, the Portuguese police believed she might still be alive. However, there were no new developments. About a hundred days after her disappearance, police said the likelihood was increasing that they would not find her alive. Regardless, her parents never stopped looking. There were theories and assumptions stating that Madeleine might have been a victim of sex trafficking because the area where she went missing had a reputation as very popular for these rings. 

In 2020, Portuguese police declared a new suspect, a German man and convicted pedophile named Christian Brückner. Brückner moved to Portugal in an attempt to flee a multitude of sexual assault charges from German police. At the time of Madeleine’s disappearance, he lived an hour away from the McCann’s resort. As of 2022, he is yet to be charged with the abduction and possible murder of Madeleine McCann. Instead, he continues to deny any involvement in the case. Now fifteen years after the tragic disappearance, Madeleine has never been found, and her family has never received justice. Still, with the recent work done by German prosecutors, hopefully, her family can soon find closure.