Portugal Police to McCanns: We're Sorry

Law enforcement delegation offers apology to parents of missing toddler over handling of case
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 30, 2023 11:17 AM CDT
Years Later, Madeleine McCann's Parents Get an Apology
Kate and Gerry McCann pose for the media with a missing poster depicting an age-progressed computer-generated image of their still-missing daughter Madeleine during a news conference in London on May 2, 2012.   (AP Photo/Sang Tan, File)

Madeleine McCann vanished in 2007 from a Portuguese holiday home while vacationing with her family, and now, more than 16 years later, police there have extended an apology to her parents for the way they handled the investigation at the time. The BBC reports that a senior law enforcement delegation traveled from Portugal's capital of Lisbon to London earlier this year and met with Gerry McCann, Madeleine's father. Portuguese police now say that "there was insufficient importance given at the time to missing children and that her parents' position as foreigners in an environment they did not understand was not appreciated," per the UK broadcaster. The McCanns haven't yet commented on the apology.

Madeleine, then 3 years old, disappeared on May 3, 2007, from the Praia da Luz apartment where she was staying with her parents and younger siblings. Yahoo notes that the police investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, dubbed Operation Grange, has so far cost more than $15 million. Gerry McCann and his wife, Kate, were deemed "arguidos," or suspects, in the case just months after their daughter went missing, with detectives initially believing they'd staged a kidnapping and hid their daughter's body. Even though their "suspect" status was lifted the following year, they remained under suspicion in Portugal.

The McCanns ended up suing a senior detective on the case there for libel after he wrote a book pointing the finger at them for the toddler's disappearance; they lost that case, as well as the appeal. The Guardian notes that another man, UK ex-pat Robert Murat, was also named as a suspect in the months after Madeleine vanished. Murat, who lived close to the Praia da Luz apartment where Madeline went missing, was cleared of suspicion in 2008 and won more than $600,000 in libel damages for media articles written about him. German authorities now believe that German national Christian Brueckner killed Madeleine. Brueckner hasn't been charged and denies the allegations; an investigation is ongoing. (More Madeleine McCann stories.)

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