Madeleine – Golden hours 1

What happened in the first 2 hours after it was discovered that Madeleine was missing?

This may be irrelevant if the disappearance occurred earlier. Any abductor with a 15 minute head start could be well away, whether on foot or by car.

Kate McCann checked around 10pm and found that Madeleine was not in apartment 5A. What happened between 10pm and midnight?

For the spine of this examination, I am starting with Kate’s book “Madeleine”. Comments in italics are mine.

Please note I have zero interest in looking at events from a ‘correct behaviour’ viewpoint. I don’t know what ‘correct behaviour’ is in this situation. Page numbers refer to the hardback version.

P71. At 10pm I went back to the apartment to check myself.

What did Kate see on her journey?

P72. Kate realised Madeleine was not in her bed. She went to the parent’s bedroom, and Madeleine was not in those beds either. She returned to the children’s bedroom, and saw that the window was wide open and the shutter was raised all the way up. She went to the bedroom window and looked out.

There is no mention of calling for Madeleine. Kate does not tell what she saw through the bedroom window when she looked out. Kate did not go out the front door to check the street.

P72 Kate then checked apartment 5A in its entirety, including the wardrobe in the children’s bedroom, all the cupboards in the kitchen, the wardrobes in the parent’s room and the bathroom. She did all this within about 15 seconds.

There is no mention of calling for Madeleine during this phase of the search.

P72 Kate rushed back to the Tapas restaurant to tell the Tapas 9 that Madeleine had been taken.

Kate did not check the garden, and did not call out for Madeleine.

What did Kate see on this journey?

P72 After the Tapas group was informed, they rushed back to the apartment. Dianne remained at the Tapas restaurant. (Jane was in her apartment looking after her children.) The group then re-checked apartment 5A.

No one appears to have called for Madeleine in this phase.

Kate did not say what she saw on this journey.

P73 Kate says she knew Madeleine had been abducted. She went into the car park and ran from end to end, shouting for Madeleine.

There is no mention of going onto the street to scan it up and down.

P73 Gerry lowered the shutter, then rushed outside and found it could be raised from that side too.

There is no mention of what Gerry saw in the car park.

P73 Gerry, David, Russell and Matt split into pairs. And dashed around the adjacent apartment blocks, meeting back at 5A within a couple of minutes.

There is no mention of who paired with whom. There is no detail of which adjacent apartment blocks they went around. There is no mention of whether they were calling or not. There is no mention of how far they went, in any direction. There is no mention of what they saw.

P73 Just after 10 past 10, Gerry asked Matt to go to the Ocean Club reception and phone the police.

The police were first phoned at 10.41, according to the records in the PJ Files. Did Matt go and ask?

P73. The screaming and shouting was attracting people to the the front and rear of apartment 5A.

There is no mention of who these people were or where they came from. There is no mention of asking them if they had seen a little girl as they went to 5A.

p73 . The Mark Warner people had rounded up as many staff as they could. Close to 10:30, they activated the company’s missing child search protocol.

P74. At 10:35 the police had still not arrived, so Gerry asked Matt to go to 24 hour reception to find out what was happening.

The PJ Files show the first call to the police was at 10:41.

P74. John Hill, the Mark Warner resort manager, arrived at the veranda to the rear of the apartment.

There is no mention of which route he took to get there, and what he saw on that route.

P74. Gerry had been over to the Mini Club above the 24 hour reception to see if Madeleine had been left somewhere, and gone to a place she knew.

Gerry’s route, what he saw, and whether he spoke to anyone is not mentioned.

P74 Our friends were running to and from the Tapas area, pleading with people to ring the police again from there.

P74 The friends discussed what should be done. This involved road blocks and informing foreign border authorities.

P74. Later Russell went off somewhere with our camera, with digital photos of Madeleine.

Where was the somewhere?

P74. Gerry asked Kate to remain in 5A with the twins, in case Madeleine was found. He was then running from pillar to post.

There is no description of where Gerry went or what he saw.

P75. At some point Emma Knight, the Mark Warner customer-care manager came in and sat on the bed near me.

There is no mention of where Emma came from or what she saw.

P75. Another British woman, in her late 40s or early 50s turned up on her veranda.

There is no mention of where she came from or what she saw.

P75. Then a lady appeared on a balcony above, about 11pm, before police arrived.

P76. It was not until about 11:10pm that two officers arrived, from Lagos. The language barrier was hampering communication. David talked about roadblocks and border notification, and Kate said her 3 children might have been sedated.

There is no mention of the route the police took or what they saw.

P76. Sílvia Batista had arrived to help out with translation.

P77 Jane immediately reported her sighting of Tannerman to the police. Gerry knew of this but kept it from Kate to the morning.

There is no mention of the time at which the police were informed, nor whether any of the party decided to search further in the direction taken by Tannerman.

P77. The GNR officers looked around. Gerry phoned his sister Trisha to tell her what had happened. Trisha and her husband phoned the Foreign Office in London, the British Consulate in the Algarve and the British Embassy in Lisbon.

P77. At 11.52pm Gerry spoke Kate’s uncle Brian and his wife. Brian then phoned the Foreign Office in London.

It is not clear why this timed precisely to 11:52.

P77. Just after midnight, Gerry phoned Kate’s mum and dad.

P78. The GNR escalated the case to the PJ around midnight. It took over an hour for them to arrive.


In this timeline, the British diplomatic services in the UK and in Portugal were informed before the PJ were made aware of the case.

With two hours elapsed since Kate’s discovery, an abductor could be 8 miles away on foot, across the border with Spain, approaching Lisbon, or have set sail from Lagos, Portimão or several other marinas. The golden hours were already gone.

Kate’s book “Madeleine” does not mention the deployment of dogs that night or giving the officers something with Madeleine’s scent. The dog team arrived shortly before 2am on 4 May 2007, so that is outside the time span of interest here. This simply points out that Kate’s version of what happened that night omits elements that are significant.


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