Could this new lead be the key to the Madeleine McCann mystery?

An employee of the holiday resort where Madeleine McCann went missing ten years ago could hold the key to solving the mystery of the missing toddler.

Three-year-old Madeleine McCann disappeared from her bed on the night of May 3, 2007, inside the family’s holiday apartment in the coastal town of Praia da Luz, Portugal.

In a major Sunday Night investigation, former Scotland Yard police officer Colin Sutton revealed the witness had likely interacted with the McCann family during their stay.

“There is an employee, somebody who worked within the Ocean Villa complex who has some information or some knowledge that may be of assistance,” Colin told reporter Rahni Sadler.

Madeleine McCann disappeared from her bed in the holiday town of Praia da Luz, Portugal.

But despite Portuguese authorities conducting their largest ever police search, Colin said it is possible little Maddie’s remains could still be hidden in the Praia da Luz area.

“It’s just large enough and difficult enough terrain to search in that we could throw all the resources available for both police forces and search for years and still not be satisfied you’d actually done it properly.”

Another theory suggests Madeleine’s remains were dumped in one of the hundreds of wells in the area.

Publisher of The Portugal News Paul Luckman believes there are up to 600 wells scattered throughout Praia da Luz.

“[In] five, 10 years time, somebody suddenly decides to clear the well and they will bring it back into operation... they would clean it out and bones would be found,” he said.

Kate and Gerry McCann, pictured with their daughter, Madeleine, and twins Amelie and Sean.


A parent’s worst nightmare

For 10 years, Gerry and Kate McCann have returned to Portugal, the last place they saw their daughter before she vanished.

“It’s every parent’s worst nightmare,” Kate told Sunday Night.

Kate and Gerry were dining with friends at the resort restaurant across from their apartment where Madeleine and her two younger siblings were sleeping.

It was the family’s last night in Portugal; they were due to fly home the next day.

When Kate went to check on the kids at 10pm, she felt a gust of wind as she entered their bedroom.

“The curtains which had been closed just swung open, in to the room and revealed that the shutter was all the way open,” she told Sunday Night.

“The window had been pushed right across, and then I just knew, I just knew she’d been taken.”

The search that followed became the largest police hunt in Portugal’s history.

As news of the case spread, details emerged that divided public opinion on the McCanns: Were Gerry and Kate McCann victims of tragedy? Or perpetrators of an unthinkable crime?

Four months after their daughter disappeared, the McCanns were declared suspects.

Kate McCann was visibly distressed after Madeleine was reported missing.


A cover up

The mystery of what happened to Madeleine continues to divide opinion to this day.

After analyzing the evidence, criminal profiler Pat Brown suggested Kate and Gerry had sedated Madeleine so she would sleep while they were at dinner, but in her dazed state Maddie had somehow fallen and died.

“You’ve got a disastrous situation. And with this disastrous situation you’re thinking to yourself: ‘I’m going to go to prison in Portugal. My children are going to be removed from my custody and we’re both going to lose our professions’. These are three very horrible things to happen,” Pat told Sunday Night, adding there are hundreds of places in the area where a body could be concealed.

The McCanns had been dining at a restaurant near the pool while their children slept in the apartment at the end of the row (highlighted).

“There are crevices in there, very accessible on the beach where you can simply walk up, put a body or a wrapped body or a body in a bag, put it in a crevice and cover it,” she said.

But the McCanns have strongly denied any involvement in their daughter’s disappearance.

“That’s the thing if people sat down and thought logically for even five minutes, they’d know it wasn’t possible… and if you are going to incriminate Gerry and me, you have to incriminate nine adults because we were all together, you know, that just does not make sense and that’s been incredibly frustrating,” Kate said.


Taken

Kate and Gerry hold strong to the theory that Madeleine was taken, abducted from her bed on the night of May 3, 2007.

“I went and checked in our room, and she wasn’t there and that was the first moment really when panic hit me,” Kate said.

“I just ran back straight into her room, and just at that point literally, there was another gust of wind and the curtains which had been closed just swung open in to the room and revealed that the shutter was all the way open.

“The window had been pushed right across, and then I just knew, I just knew she’d been taken.”

British detectives who conducted their own investigation in 2013 discovered that Madeleine’s case might not have been an isolated incident.

According to her father, Maddie was last seen sleeping in her bed inside the apartment.

Between 2004 and 2010 within a 60 kilometre radius of where Madeleine disappeared, there were twelve crimes where an intruder broke into the properties of UK families.

On six of those occasions, he either got into bed with or sexually assaulted a young female child.

Police records show in the months before Madeleine disappeared there was a four-fold increase in the number of burglaries in the area.

And, just weeks before the McCanns arrived at the resort in Praia da Luz, there were two unsolved burglaries in the very block were the McCanns stayed.

The case is yet to be solved, but Scotland Yard has recently been given a final cash injection to follow up their newest leads.


Ten years on

On May 12 this year, Madeleine would be 14 years old.

Over the years, the case has continued to captivate the public, with 8685 sightings of Madeleine reported across 101 countries.

“I’m sure the reason why this case has run as long as it has, and still arouses fantastic interest now, ten years later, is because every single one of the explanations, possible explanations is implausible, yet we know one of them is correct,” forensic scientist Dave Barclay said.

Journalist-turned-public-relations-manager Clarence Mitchell has represented the McCanns for nearly a decade, and said it’s very possible Madeleine is still alive.

Ten years since her disappearance, Maddie would be turning 14 in just a few weeks.

“In the absence of any evidence to suggest she’s been harmed, it’s just as logical to believe she may still be alive somewhere being held against her will and would have grown up speaking a foreign language,” he said.

The McCanns still make regular trips to Portugal, where Kate says she feels ‘connected’ to Madeleine.

They have vowed to never stop looking for their daughter.

“I don’t believe any parent could,” Kate said. “And I don’t believe we could ever reach a point where we just think, ‘oh well, we’ve done everything now’.

“Madeleine’s out there and she needs us to find her.”