Madeleine McCann went missing back in 2007 and captured the world in heartbreak for her family. We watched as the search turned up next to nothing and wondered how there couldn’t be more.
Well, now we might know the answer to why the investigation wasn’t as productive as we’d all hoped.
According to a report written back in 2009 by Jim Gamble, who is the former head of the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre for the UK, the police that swarmed from the UK to help in the search may have hampered the investigation.
Mr. Gamble said that UK agencies the CEOP, the Metropolitan Police, the Serious Organised Crime Agency, and the National Police Improvement Agency were all involved in the immediate aftermath of Madeleine going missing.
This mass involvement, along with the attempt to run things by agencies that were ill-equipped to do so, led to “frustration” and “resentment” among Portuguese police, according to Gamble’s unpublished report on the Madeleine McCann case. It also led Portuguese authorities to warn Britain not to act like “a colonial power”.
He said, “All of us… your first gut reaction is you want to help…so everyone came with best intention, that created a sense of chaos and a sense of competition…and in many instances in my opinion wanting to be seen to help. 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.”
The UK authorities weren’t the only ones that caused delays and possible missed opportunities, however. Gamble stated that the response of the Portuguese police was “haphazard” and that potential clues had been neglected.
Looking For Madeleine authors Anthony Summers and Robbyn Swan have their own take on what went wrong with the case.
Summers said, “It was a case of too many cooks… spoiling the broth of the initial investigation,” while Swan added, “The problems that grew out of the race to help… those things have not been fundamentally addressed.”
What a nightmare for her family. Will Madeleine McCann ever be found, and if so, will she be alive? Only time will tell.