A new book about the case of young Madeleine McCann’s disappearance has garnered eyewitness accounts of a man who was reportedly watching the villa where her family was staying while on vacation, and several people have come forward with stories of a man behaving strangely around the area during the week she vanished.
Looking For Madeleine, by Anthony Sands and Robbyn Swan, tells of a man who was seen testing a nearby gate to see if it creaked and two separate stories of an intruder who broke into the rooms of young girls in the same area within a three-year period. In addition, a child saw a man watching the vacation apartment that belonged to the McCann family twice, once on the day before she disappeared.
“Two separate witnesses apparently saw a man, whom both described as very ugly or with a spotty or pimply face, staring fixedly at apartment 5A. They both described him being in the same position in the street. That’s combined with the fact that on the very day Madeleine disappeared, a lady visiting the apartment upstairs saw from her balcony a man behaving very oddly in the lane between the apartments and the pool. The man was going out of an adjacent gate, closing the gate repeatedly to see if it was creaky. He seemed to be looking around and generally acting very peculiarly before leaving,” Swan told Sky News.
A new report was recently released which claims that so many agencies got involved in the search for Madeleine just after she was reported missing that it hampered the investigation. Because the McCanns were from the UK and the child went missing in Portugal, Scotland Yard began working with police there.
“All of us, including myself at CEOP at the time, your first gut reaction is you want to help, a child has gone missing … so everyone came with best intention, that created a sense of chaos and a sense of competition, people putting their hand up and wanting to help and in many instances in my opinion wanting to be seen to help. If we look at it honestly there were some in leadership roles who wanted to represent their organization to be seen to take a lead role and be seen to provide critical input in this and that made it difficult for a small, regional force like Leicestershire. It was unhelpful … I’ve no doubt relationships from the outset with the Portuguese were impacted by it and I think that had a long term negative effect on the investigation and I think to this very day the Met investigation team that’s engaged now are still having to manage and massage that relationship and perhaps to be fair to the Portuguese, mend some fences that were trodden on in the early days,” wrote former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center Jim Gamble.
Currently, the investigation is focused on a known sexual predator and three burglary suspects.