Madeleine – body disposal and transfer stations

The following news story was posted on the Miscarriage of Justice forum http://portugalresident.com/horror-as-dismembered-body-of-baby-is-found-in-rubbish#sthash.tqMpEYc2.dpuf

To summarise the story from the Portugal Resident, the body of a 1 to 2-month old baby was found in the rubbish processing centre in Seixal, on 18 Nov 15.

Seixal is the waste processing centre for Lisbon.

The story is told replete with words conjuring up gory images. “When it was found, the body had already passed through several machines that separate, compact and destroy waste. The body may have been dismembered during this time,” a PJ source told Correio da Manhã.

What does this sad tale tell us about Madeleine?

A tiny baby was found. Madeleine was nearly 4 years old. Could she have gone through the same process and have been missed?

Back to Miscarriage of Justice, where a fellow poster raised a fact that I was unaware of. I had looked at where the rubbish started, in Luz, and where the rubbish ended, in Porto de Lagos. Now a new element was thrown into the mix. There is an intermediate processing centre just to the north of Lagos. It is called a transfer station, or estação de transferência. ‘Little’ lorries go in, and the waste is transferred to ‘large’ lorries. The little lorries go back to collecting waste, while the large lorry, when filled, takes its large-capacity load to the Barlavento processing centre at Porto de Lagos.

There are 3 types of estação de transferência. Once again, I am grateful to the same fellow poster who raised the issue of transfer stations, and the type of transfer station, for this information.

These are transfers stations with – direct unloading – compaction – or a ditch.

Please note, with the possible exception of glass, all waste goes through compaction at the point of pick-up, as far as I know. I have certainly heard the waste lorries squeezing their load to make room for more. This made sense before the European directive came into force, it makes sense now, and I can see no reason why it would not be in place in 2007. So there is compaction at the point of pick-up.

Moving on to the transfer station, here is a description of a compaction station and how it works.

http://www.cm-cascais.pt/sites/default/files/anexos/gerais/estacao_de_transferencia_com_compactacao.pdf

Transfer Station with compaction

This is characterised by allowing the downloading of MSW {Municipal Solid Waste i.e. rubbish} is made by removal of vehicle, discharging waste into position hopper (box-shaped rectangular pyramid trunk), eventually slide and accumulate within a compression chamber. Once activated the internal piston compactor, waste is injected under pressure into the container that lies squarely tied to this stationary compactor.

When filling the container is full, it is automatically moved by the translation table to the next position, so that a new container occupies its position. Once the filled container meet, the transfer car moves to the final solution.”

I have not bothered to clean up the translation because we don’t need it. A compaction station has some pretty sophisticated equipment (hopper, compression chamber, table for moving containers in and out of the loading/compression position).

Here is a photo of the transfer station that is just to the north of Lagos. The co-ordinates are 37º 07′ 16” N, 8º 41′ 11” W. The photo is dated 22 June 2007.

Lagos transfer station 2007

There is no evidence of any sophisticated equipment. Rubbish has been dumped onto a pile on the ground, and a man with a JCB is moving the waste from the pile on the ground into lorry-sized containers. At this point in time, it appears that there are walls around where the containers are being filled.

A current view of the same site looks a fair bit different, and it seems the site has developed. It looks as if the walls have gone, and there may be equipment for compressing waste and moving the containers about. However, the method used in the current site is not relevant to 2007, when it seems a very basic process was in place.

It appears that in 2007, the site was a transfer station with direct unloading. Lorries came in, dumped their load, and headed off for more. Meanwhile, the transfer station scooped up the dumped rubbish, filled up a larger lorry container, and when that was full it headed to final processing at Porto de Lagos.

In one sense this is good news re Madeleine. There is now an extra stage, quite unknown by both the Tapas 9 and most locals, where the rubbish comes under scrutiny. Obviously, there are ways in which the body of a small child can pass this scrutiny. The baby found in Seixal was found at an end point, not a transfer station. However, one further check probably exists to reinforce the likelihood that Madeleine did not end up in Barlavento landfill.

What I do not have is evidence that in 2007, rubbish from Luz was going through this Lagos transfer station. A possibility exists that Luz rubbish went straight to Porto de Lagos. Another is that there is a different transfer station to handle waste from towns and villages to the west of Lagos. I find it hard to believe that waste from Sagres in the extreme west of the Algarve got shuttled to Lagos before being shuttled to Porto de Lagos, so it looks like more rummaging in the rubbish is on the menu.

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6 thoughts on “Madeleine – body disposal and transfer stations

  1. Why don’t you call them ? 282 762 212. I’m interested to know whether they tell you what they told me.
    Have you thought of going to Chão Frio ?
    By the way, the resíduos sólidos comuns da grande Lisboa are incinerated in S. João da Talha where huge ovens heated at 900°C work 24 hours a day. Electricity and (treated) gas are produced. The scories are brought to a landfill in Mato da Cruz, north of Lisbon.
    Seixal is a poor city of the south bank, I doubt that they have modern machines to process the garbage.

    In the old times a perpetrator would just leave his victim on the crime scene, but now they’re aware of DNA “prints”, therefore they can’t afford to abandon their victims, they have to get rid of them. For good.

    • Call them about what?

      There are two distinct issues here. First is the general capability of the system. Folks assume the bins simply go into landfill, start, end, when the reality is different. Second is the specific question – was the waste around 3 May treated normally or for some reason was it landfilled without any check?

      On that question 1) I doubt they would give me an answer and 2) if they did, I doubt they would tell me they were flouting the law.

      I make this offer to everyone on this blog. If you have a viewpoint on this, and you wish to air it, please write a full post on the subject. Assuming your post is not libellous and it is civil, then whether I happen to agree or disagree with your viewpoint, I will be happy to copy and paste this into a new topic, complete with the heading and tags of your choice.

      So, if you have more information on this, you have the perfect opportunity to enlighten me and the blog readers.

      • ShininginLuz, I know nothing that would enlighten any one ! I just pinpointed the existence of transfer stations earlier in a comment on one of your pages about the landfill issue, because I had called the people of that Lagos station years ago and, yes, they were compacting at that time and, no, they didn’t control (they can spot inside through a little window they never use) the compacting process.
        As you seemed to have doubts about them compacting in 2007, I posted the phone number for you to check by yourself. Why should you suppose they flout the law ? The first interest of Algar is a clean Algarve. The Algarve authorities might have been influenced by the UK where transfer stations are widely used.
        The infrastructure started to be implemented in 1995 (Decreto-Lei 109/95 de 20 de maio)
        Municípios servidos
        Albufeira, Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim, Faro, Lagoa, Lagos, Loulé, Monchique, Olhão, Portimão, São Brás de Alportel, Silves, Tavira, Vila do Bispo e Vila Real de Sto. António
        Área geográfica abrangida
        4.996 km2
        População abrangida
        451 mil habitantes
        13 ecocentros
        2 aterros sanitários
        2 centrais de triagem
        2 centrais de compostagem
        8 estações de transferência
        1 unidade de resíduos de construção e demolição
        8.447 contentores de deposição seletiva
        Principais dados de atividade
        414 mil toneladas de resíduos sólidos urbanos
        32 mil toneladas de recolha seletiva
        3.957 MWh de energia produzida (biogás de aterro)
        2.784 toneladas de composto produzido a partir de resíduos
        Investimento realizado
        126 milhões de euros

        The experts sent to PDL in october 2007 were the only ones to contemplate the bin exit of MMC out of PDL, they had some reasons for that, they said finding human remains in a bin happens in the UK. This is why they would have stopped the truck.
        The idea obviously passed no mind during that May 3, they were looking for an alive child and, as Mark Harrison reckons in his report, searching for a dead child implies quite a different way of looking.

      • For whatever reason, the blog structure does not allow me to reply to Anna’s response, while it lets me reply to mine. How weird is that?

        From Anna
        “ShininginLuz, I know nothing that would enlighten any one ! I just pinpointed the existence of transfer stations earlier in a comment on one of your pages about the landfill issue, because I had called the people of that Lagos station years ago and, yes, they were compacting at that time and, no, they didn’t control (they can spot inside through a little window they never use) the compacting process.”

        Anna, this enlightens me. It enlightens me a lot. You called that station years ago, it was compacting at the time, and the process was performed behind a little window, from which the controller basically did not look at the compacting process. I hope I have got this right, as I am now working on the assumption that this is how compacting is controlled.

        From Anna
        “Municípios servidos
        Albufeira, Alcoutim, Aljezur, Castro Marim, Faro, Lagoa, Lagos, Loulé, Monchique, Olhão, Portimão, São Brás de Alportel, Silves, Tavira, Vila do Bispo e Vila Real de Sto. António
        Área geográfica abrangida
        4.996 km2
        População abrangida
        451 mil habitants”

        This also enlightens me a lot. There is a Luz in the district of Tavira, which is why my one is Luz, Lagos, not Luz, Tavira, (at the eastern end). Crikey, does the Algarve run as far north as Aljezur?

        I have being trying to find an equivalent in the UK for the Algarve, so folks can get their heads around ideas like “they should simply have sealed off the Algarve”. The best I have come up with is Northumberland, roughly the same area as the entire Algarve at 5,000 km2, but with about 3 times as many people.

        From Anna
        “13 ecocentros
        2 aterros sanitários
        2 centrais de triagem
        2 centrais de compostagem
        8 estações de transferência
        1 unidade de resíduos de construção e demolição
        8.447 contentores de deposição seletiva
        Principais dados de atividade
        414 mil toneladas de resíduos sólidos urbanos
        32 mil toneladas de recolha seletiva
        3.957 MWh de energia produzida (biogás de aterro)”

        Now, blog reader, this may look like Portuguese to you, but to me this is delightful.

        13 Eco-centres. That would be in the big towns and cities, where the good citizens were urged to recycle.

        1 unidade de residuos de construção e demolição. OK, I don’t think the focus here is building or demolition, though in May 2007 there was one heck of a lot of building in Luz.

        8 estações de transferência OK I now have a ball-park figure of 8 transfer stations on the Algarve. A 50/50 split puts 4 in Sotavento (eastern side) and 4 in Barlavento (western side). There’s just more folks on the eastern side, so the split is probably 5-3 or more,

        But let me stick with 4 transfer stations for Barlavento. One for Lagos. Surely another for Portimão. Surely one for Albufeira? If there is another for Silves/Lagoa then there are no more to spare for west of Lagos.

        My thanks to Anna. I live in Luz (the light) not Praia da Luz (beach of the light). Luz comes from the church, Nostra Senhora da Luz, our Lady of the light. It is about religious enlightenment, and has nothing whatsoever to do with a beach.

        As it happens, I am not religious.

        But thanks to Anna, I have been enlightened.

  2. From my blog http://espacioexterior.blogspot.com

    THE RUBBISH BINS

    Kate McCann, Madeleine’s mother, wrote in her book Madeleine: “As soon as it was light [Friday May 4th.] Gerry and I resumed our search. We went up and down roads we’d never seen before, having barely left the Ocean Club complex all week. We jumped over walls and raked through undergrowth. We looked in ditches and holes. I remember opening a big dumpster-type bin and saying to myself, ‘Please God, don’t let her be in here’. The most striking and horrific thing was that we were completely alone. Nobody else, it seemed, was out looking for Madeleine”.

    Of course they could not be able to search in the 188 Praia da Luz bins.

    (I took some photos of some the bins).

    In the Final Report the Polícia Judiciária wrote (page 4570): “All the garbage bins that exist in the Vila da Luz and surroundings, in a total number of 188 (one hundred and eighty eight), were searched and inspected, yet nothing relevant was found, page 3183”.

    But when were these bins searched?

    In the page 3183 of the main files they wrote: “I hereby bring to your notice, that on this date [Monday May 7th.], I the undersigned, together with Inspector L.P. as well as three employees from the Lagos Municipal Chamber, responsible for rubbish collection from Praia da Luz, went to this locality and carried out a detailed check of all the rubbish containers in the area, including the underground containers, as well as in surrounding areas, a total of 188 containers were checked, nothing was found of interest to the NUIPC 201.07 OGALGS investigation”.

    The search was more than 3 days after Madeleine abduction!

    Maybe the following helps to understand: from “Searching for Madeleine: A Dispatches Special”, emitted on 18th October 2007, 9pm on Channel 4, I extract the following statements:

    Juliet Stevenson (narrator): Back in town, our team discover another intriguing hiding place. They spot large industrial bins all over the resort.

    David Barclay (former head of physical evidence UK National Crime and Operations Faculty): (to camera) There have been cases in the UK where bodies have been disposed of in wheelie bins …

    Charlotte Pennington (Mark Warner nanny): We were told to search everywhere, including the bins and in Praia da Luz they’re quite big and scary-looking. Although I saw police searching, I personally didn’t see police looking in the bins like we did. But I don’t think we looked in every bin.

    Gary Ligg (former senior search adviser, West Yorkshire Police): There’s a world of difference to looking in a refuse bin and tipping it on its side, emptying it all out, looking in every bag and re-filling it. When you’ve done that then you can say: there’s no pyjamas, there’s no body in there.

    Juliet Stevenson: Dispatches has learnt that the bins are emptied nightly between midnight and 4am. And even though a major search for a missing child was going on, they were still emptied on the night Madeleine disappeared. Since the collections were not stopped, there’s another area Gary Ligg knows needs prompt attention but it’s thirty kilometres away.

    Gary Ligg: We need to find out where the land-fill site is; talk to the authorities, find out where it went and try to identify which area of the land fill these particular bins were emptied.

    Chris Stevenson (former detective chief superintendent, Cambridgeshire Police): (to camera) Ideally you would secure all of the bins in the immediate area and make sure that the local authority don’t dispose of any of the contents until the search team have had the opportunity to check them all.

    Juliet Stevenson: We asked the Portuguese police whether the bins and local landfill had been searched. They chose not to comment. […] The large sewers and industrial bins are still Gary Ligg’ main worry.

    Gary Ligg: It’s not clear if the bins were searched to a degree where you could be confident that she wasn’t in one. And if they were removed, there’s been no suggestion of a follow-up to find out where they are and to search the landfill there.

  3. I didn’t express it well, ShininginLuz, the man with whom I spoke didn’t speak of controling the stuff being compacted, but the compacting process in case of not working properly. He mentioned this window because I asked him if there was a way to look into the container during the process.
    The people who work with residues listen, they don’t look. What happens if a sound comes out of a bin ? They call the police. I was told that it happened once, it was a crying doll.
    I asked if a little lamb dumped into a bin in order to escape removal tax would be noticed, he said no.
    On this map you can see where those stations are located.
    http://www.algar.com.pt/pt/oact20120215.htm

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