Madeleine McCann is still alive, a highly-anticipated new documentary claims.
The question surrounding the fate of the British girl has been playing on the public consciousness for over a decade, and according to Netflix’s The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, an answer is around the corner.
Madeleine became a global sensation in 2007 when at just three years old she went missing from a Portuguese holiday villa while her parents were dining just 50 metres away. Since then, nothing has been discovered about the whereabouts and fate of the vanished toddler, despite years of investigation and a global manhunt.
Netflix’s eight-part series revisits an old theory that child traffickers were behind the toddler’s disappearance, and suggest this gives hope to the theory that Maddie might still be alive.
The child trafficking theory was briefly considered by police in Praia da Luz in the initial investigation, but dropped in favour of investigating the involvement of her parents Gerry and Kate.
Her parents were dogged by suspicion for years following the disappearance, despite being cleared by Portuguese detectives after being questioned.
‘Huge hope to be had’
The series features interviews with over 40 experts and key players, and claims an answer could be right around the corner.
Jim Gamble is a child protection policeman who worked on the UK’s first investigation into the case and he tells the documentary: “I absolutely believe that in my lifetime we will find out what has happened to Madeleine McCann.”
“There’s huge hope to be had with the advances in technology,” he says. “Year on year DNA is getting better. Year on year other techniques, including facial recognition, are getting better.
“And as we use that technology to revisit and review that which we captured in the past, there’s every likelihood that something we already know will slip into position.”
Maddie was an ideal target
Extrapolating on the trafficking theory, interviewees point to Maddie’s perceived value to the child trafficking market as a middle-class British child. They say this would have been all the motivation a potential snatcher would need.
“They usually go for lower-class kids from third world countries — that’s the main supplier of these gangs,” Julian Peribanez, the private investigator hired by the McCanns says.
“The value that Madeleine had was really high because if they took her it’s because they were going to get a lot of money.”
The documentary also highlights Portugal’s ideal location for a getaway: access to major continents is available by both sea and land, and a child could be moved across borders in a matter of hours.
Child abduction experts also encourage optimism in the series, saying it’s not unheard of for similar cases to be resolved after years of uncertainty.
McCanns slammed the series
The claims that the toddler – who would now be 15 – could still be alive will come as no surprise to her parents. For the 12 years since their daughter’s disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann have maintained their child is still alive, and continued the search.
The pair do not feature in the series, and have publicly slammed the documentary saying it could do damage to the ongoing investigation.
“We did not see and still do not see how this programme will help the search for Madeleine and, particularly given there is an active police investigation, could potentially hinder it.
“Consequently, our views and preferences are not reflected in the programme. We will not be making any further statements or giving interviews regarding this programme.”
Executive producer Emma Cooper said in a statement that she has hopes the documentary could be a catalyst in the case.
“We’re trying to lay out as much detail as we can about the case—and if it could jog someone’s memory in some way then that would be amazing,” she said.
The series drops on Netflix in the US tonight. An Aussie release date has yet to be announced.
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