Body Disposal or Concealment
If the McCanns are involved in body disposal or concealment, then they had around 5½ days in Luz to come up with a solution. If Kate found Madeleine dead around 10pm on 3rd May, then she had just minutes to figure out how to dispose of the body or how to conceal it so well that it would not be found in extensive searches.
One day I was been lunching on the terrace of the Paraíso restaurant. That is the one on the beach visited by the friends of the McCanns on 3rd May 2007. I overheard a typical comment from a newly arrived tourist. They look around at the beach, the sea, the cliffs, the rocks and the undeveloped land surrounding Luz and beam as they come to an easy conclusion. “You can see straight away how easy it would be to get rid of a body here.”
Despite the fact that extensive searches were conducted by the good people of Luz, the GNR, and then by a unit from Britain, they are still convinced that dumping a body would be easy.
Technically, the McCanns can be considered to have had more than 5½ days. Gerry had been on a golfing holiday in Portugal before, and the family had several Mediterranean trips, including Spain, Italy and Greece.
However, the minimum standard of expertise, in my opinion, has to be set higher, at Gonçalo Amaral’s level. He is Portuguese, with 26 years in the PJ and extensive experience of major crime, and according to his book, had lived in Portimão for at least a year before the incident. A later section of the book suggests a family home in the Algarve also.
This is a much higher level of experience and expertise than a tourist or the McCanns. And yet, the weak point in Gonçalo Amaral’s theory that the McCanns were involved in body disposal or concealment is simple. He cannot come up with a convincing method of dumping or hiding a body.
The book alludes to a number of possibilities, without actually making a proper case for any.
Here is his list of possibilities.
A grave dug into the hard soil of the Algarve (without any explanation as to how such a grave might have been dug).
Ruins of a Roman thermal bath, with numerous tunnels dug under the streets of Luz. These tunnels supposedly have been used by the children of Luz for over 50 years to get to the beach.
Dustbins, containers and sewers. In his book, Gonçalo Amaral arranges the order of events so searches of these are carried out before the first interviews of the Tapas 9. Things did not happen in that order.
In the main street of Luz, open trenches due to improvement works.
The title of chapter 8 of Gonçalo Amaral´s book is translated as A Man Carrying A Child On The Way To The Beach. This chapter is about the Smith sighting. Apart from the chapter title, there is no mention of a beach, so I’ll need to see if I can get at the original Portuguese. Whether this is the origin of the ‘to the beach’ theories is something that I don’t know.
In chapter 14, a South Africa called Krugel brings a magic machine to the Algarve, does some rudimentary sightings, and declares a large swathe of Luz is where Madeleine rests. He goes back to South Africa. Another GNR search of Luz finds nothing.
Mark Harrison arrives from Britain and concludes it is time to focus on finding a dead child. Further searches around Luz are conducted with sniffer dogs.
This completes the list of possibilities in A Verdade Da Mentira. Outside of his book, Gonçalo Amaral adds at least one more possibility, namely that the body was stored in a freezer before being retrieved by the McCanns and placed in the luggage compartment of a car they hired weeks after Madeleine went missing.
And basically, this is it. The investigation coordinator, a detective with great experience and thoroughly knowledgeable about the Algarve, is struggling to find a method of body disposal, let alone body concealment.