Madeleine – planned abduction – method (part 1)

If anyone had become aware of three things, that the T9 were habitually leaving children unattended in block 5 while eating in the Tapas Restaurant in the evening, that a check schedule was actually quite predictable, and that the McCanns were in the habit of conducting such checks via the patio doors of apartment 5A, then the method behind a planned abduction becomes extremely simple.

If the source of this knowledge was the note in reception, referred to by Kate McCann and Gonçalo Amaral in their books, then the potential abductor could also have realised that the last date for an abduction would be Friday 4th May. Some or all of the T9 could have checked out on Saturday 5th May, potentially ending the window of opportunity.

Much has been made of various ‘strange’ men in or around block 5 in the days leading up to Madeleine’s disappearance. Personally, these seem of little import. It is true that an abductor might scope the area around block 5 during the day. Given the small size of the area, that would take very limited time and could be done in a casual and non-strange manner.

The key to success in a planned abduction is knowing that the McCanns used the rear patio doors for their evening checks. During the day, if Kate and Gerry’s statements are to be believed, the rear patio doors were used at times by the children. If used for exit, one parent would take the children, while the other locked the patio door then went out through the front door then via the car park. If used for entry, one parent would go ahead through the car park, open the front door, then unlock the patio doors to let the other parent in accompanied by the children.

Of course, if this evidence from the statements is inaccurate, and a times during the day both parents would exit via the patio doors, then apartment 5A was more vulnerable than they have described. However, this information does not in itself give the link to children left unattended in the evening inside 5A.

If an abductor had access to a key for 5A, it was not necessary for that person to know the patio doors were being used. However, if the plan was to enter and exit 5A via the front door, then an abductor had to have a method of monitoring the movements of those of the T9 who were carrying out checks, namely the McCanns and 3 other parents. During that monitoring, an abductor would have realised that the McCanns were not using the car park route, and therefore that the patio doors must have been unlocked.

I would therefore place more weight on sightings in and around block 5 that took place in the period of 8:30 to midnight, as that would suggest the T5 who were checking were being monitored to determine a pattern in their movements and/or rehearsing the operation. As far as I am aware, there are no such sightings in the JP file.

Summarising this, the best chance of a planned abduction working is knowing that the children were left in 5A in the evening, and that the McCanns used the patio doors to check while the other parents used their front doors.

This knowledge would allow me to determine that the areas marked in red on the following graphic were within the visual zone of the T5 checkers, and therefore represent poor places to launch a planned abduction.

Blocks 4 5 6

Although Rajinder Balu, Neil Berry plus wives on the balcony of 606 appear at first to be relevant, they actually add nothing to the T5 visual zone. As it happens 606 is on the extreme east of block 6 on the first floor. It is not possible to monitor the area around block 5 from 606, only the Tapas reception area.

The green dot in the graphic is the optimum location for an abductor on the evening of 3rd May 2007. It is in the passageway that runs behind blocks 4 and 5 and between those and the Tapas restaurant and pool area.

Specifically, the optimum location is behind block 4 rather than block 5. The part of the passageway to the rear of block 5 is a pedestrian shortcut from the front of block 4 to the Tapas reception and other places to the south of this. It is not a shortcut from the front of block 5, as it is longer to take this route rather than go through the car park of block 5.

All of the apartments on the ground floor of both block 4 and block 5 should be using the fronts of the blocks for entry and exit, in order to leave their flats secure. The McCanns should be the only exception to this rule.

Therefore the chance of traffic in the passageway is small, and the chance of traffic to the rear of block 4 is negligible. Before the abduction occurred there was no crime, so even if challenged the worst outcome would be the need to abort the operation, remaining totally innocent.

Apart from a very low degree of risk in the lead-up to an abduction, the passageway offers two additional benefits. The first is a view of the Tapas restaurant, where the T9 would gather and settle into a routine. The restaurant was, of course, lit up, permitting a reasonable view of the comings and goings of the group. The second advantage of the location is that the passageway is unlit, with the exception of street lights near each end. So in this spot an abductor could monitor the T9, but it would have been hard for anyone in the Tapas restaurant to see a person located there.

After this, the operation becomes a piece of cake.


10 thoughts on “Madeleine – planned abduction – method (part 1)

  1. A couple of questions… could you see the tapas place from the alley if on ground level?

    Is the west end of that alley a dead end?

    • You can see the Tapas restaurant from anywhere in the alley, as long as there is no vegetation in between. At the time the McCanns were in 4G (4 May to 2nd/3rd July) there are some photoshoots of them in the alley with the twins. The alley walls are around 1m high but vegetation may add to this.

      The west end of the alley abuts Rua Primeiro de Maio where it comes to a full stop, so in that sense is a dead end. Part 2 of this post will show that there is a way around block 4 at the west end.

      • I think you’re onto something here. It’s a good line, anyway. There’s a lot in this, so going step by step… also as on phone…

        if the guilty party became aware of the situation via the note, then minimal surveillance is necessary, especially during the day.

        Also, that implies involvement of employees or guests of MW. That was something I wanted to discuss anyway.

        but… that is not a given, of course. So: if not, then the opposite is true, whether a gang or an individual is the actor.

        If the latter, then the possibility of a crazed paedophile spotting the child during the day and lurking to establish a routine remains strong.

        If the former, reconnaissance remains paramount as well, and at all hours.

        Now… another q. Was there not an unoccupied apartment in g5 on ground level? G5C, no?

      • 5C was unoccupied. This has troubled me. 4 families in 5A, 5B, 5D and 5H with 5C empty. Why? Perhaps 5C was not rented out, but why oh why did the Paynes get 5H if 5C was available to rent? 4 families on 4 ground floor apartments sounds simple and straight forward.

        Crazed paedophile spotting and lurking definitely has to be considered. How to spot and how to lurk, that is the question. I’ll try to see if I can make it fly a little later if I may. I need to tackle part 2 of a planned abduction first.

      • G5c unoccupied, top surveillance spot even without a key, I’d imagine, let alone with one, and suspects seen lurking in its garden.

        I’d guess it must have been privately owned and not up for rent? If not, that’d be very odd indeed.

        Next point is, as the west side of the alley is closed, and nobody else seemed to be using their patio doors to access their flats after dark, there is no flow past your green spot. And, incidentally, the only flow past 5c is from the t7 and maybe others who were using the alley between the blocks to come and go from the front… it happened, but seemingly rarely.

      • I should have been more careful with my reply.

        As far as I can remember, 5C was unoccupied, but in keeping with the way memory works, I cannot remember from where I think I found this out. To be certain, I would need to find a reliable source that says 5C was unoccupied.

        While my scenario does not rely on 5C being empty, it is an interesting thought. Someone might have been scoping entry to 5C as a possible way of finding out info re entry to 5A, particularly re the patio doors. But if 5C was unoccupied, surely the patio shutter would be down? In that case, rolling it up to have a squint at the lock in daylight looks odd to all in the Tapas area, and surely the perps would have to be confident it was empty?

      • Well, I gathered that 5c was empty too. But also that two men were seen hanging around in the wee garden outside tge back. Now… were the patio doors closed at that point, and the shutters down?

        Then what are two men doing in broad daylight in that garden? And what did they think it would look like?

        bear minimum… the shutters must have been up, no? Can we find that statement? I think there were at least 2.

      • AFAIK, two men were seen in the back of 5C. In broad daylight.

        So what do you get from an inspection of the rear of 5C? Whether the 5C gate makes a noise? 5A might be the same or different.

        Not keen on checking out the patio shutter possibility, after all the 5A patio shutter was open when Madeleine disappeared.

        General layout reconn? IF it was planned (big IF) then the area should have been scoped. However, notice we now have not one but two individuals scoping, therefore a collaboration.

      • Could be very important, though- if 5C is supposedly empty all that while, and these two men were seen in its garden, plus the shutters were supposedly up, or perhaps the patio doors open, did they have access to a key to that apartment? Were they using it on the quiet? Where did they get a key off the record? What were they using it for? No better spot on your map than inside 5C for surveillance.

      • If I ever make it back round to the keys, I can show that more or less everybody and his dog had access to the keys, sufficient that numerous people could have made copies. It was a real weak spot in the Mark Warner set-up.

        But here’s a question back. David Payne, organiser of the trip, gets 5H, one floor up, plus has the only baby monitor that works. The three others get ground floor and brisk exercise re checks. Coincidence?

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