Madeleine – septic tanks

My task one day had been finding out about the difference between a cesspit and a septic tank. The simplest answer seems to be that a cesspit is closed (it is just a big tank in the ground) but a septic tank is open (everything goes in, solids are trapped, liquids come out again). Both have to be drained.

Here is a photo of the land near our septic tank in Portelas.

Everything around it is the colour of straw, for the simple reason that it is straw. The house was empty for years and the grass grew to waist height. One of the local worthies got an industrial mower onto 3 neighbouring plots, including ours, and baled the crop as winter feed for GNR horses. The straw is what was left. It has not rained in many months so the grass is not re-growing.

The green circle of green grass in the photo is, I assume, where the fluid is allowed to drain from the tank. The grass looks healthy enough, despite the fact that the fluid contains liberal doses of bleach and clothes washing liquid. Maybe the large number of showers is diluting it enough to stop this from being a problem.

To empty the tank of solid waste, there should normally be a manhole cover, with vehicular access for a waste lorry. We appear to have neither of those. At the moment, it appears our tank was installed by a neighbour, but the work has not been completed. It requires a further €6,000 to install a pump. Presumably the pump is needed to pump solid waste from the tank to a mains sewage system, removing the need for a manhole cover and vehicular access.

But the norm would be a manhole cover, used for removal of solid waste.

What does this have to do with Madeleine McCann? As far as I can see, it reduces the likelihood of body disposal via a septic tank or cesspit. I know there was at least one case in the UK in which the body of a murdered woman was put into a cesspit. The police failed to find anything during a search of the property, until a neighbour told them there was a cesspit under the garage. The corpse had not dissolved, and presumably, the cesspit had not been drained since her death.

Whilst the cesspit/septic tank route would be available to a local with knowledge of such and the ability to lift up a manhole cover, it is not a viable body disposal or body concealment option for the McCanns or other members of the Tapas 9.


Madeleine v missingmadeleine on body disposal

Madeleine v missingmadeleine re body disposal

Administrators have forbidden any new members.”

I noticed from my blog that a recent source of hits was aka Missing Madeleine Every Child Counts.

Fred, a platinum poster with 4,698 posts wrote @

Body disposal

Post fred on Mon 23 Nov – 15:23

Any thoughts? I’m still with Huelva but many disagree.”

OK, what have I got so far? I now know that fred reads my blog, is referring to my recent post on rubbish transfer stations in the Algarve, and seems to think that Madeleine was disposed of in Huelva. So far, so good.


I tried to set up a username on missingmadeleine so that I could reply.

And what I got was … “Administrators have forbidden any new members.” Weird, but true. It looks like only members who joined before a certain date can post there.

Sooooo….. I am going to have to respond here, and hope that fred checks in to my blog again. If you do fred, feel free to copy and paste me to the forum. Itlooks a tad quiet over there and this might spice things up a little.

Sooooo….. on to body disposal in Huelva. Date 3 Aug 2007 for the trip.

Body disposal in Huelva has the odd thing or two going against it.

It requires that the McCanns were successful in concealing a body in a locality they were not familiar with. It requires that an extensive search over the next 7 days failed to find that place. It requires that body concealment worked at least until they rented the Scenic. Actually, it requires that body concealment worked until they moved into 27 Rua das Flores, assuming you believe in the dogs. That was 2 months down the line from Madeleine’s disappearance.

It requires that the McCanns retrieved the corpse during what was then the biggest news story in the world. It requires that in the trip to Spain there was a body in the rear luggage space of the Scenic, and that video director Jon Corner did not try to stow some gear in the rear. I could be wrong, but wasn’t there also a cameraman, in which case I need room for him and his gear?

It requires that the McCanns go AWOL in Huelva. This may have happened. More importantly, it requires that the McCanns knew how to dispose of a body in Huelva. Personally, I have no idea of how one would going about disposing of a body in Huelva.

Then there’s the border. It requires that the McCanns thought that they could transport a dead body from Portugal to Spain in 2007, across the border.

With the benefit of hindsight, I believe this could have been done in 2007. I just don’t see how the McCanns could have predicted it at the time of the trip.

Sooooo….. No, I can’t see a case for the McCanns disposing of a body on the trip to Huelva.

Administrators have forbidden any new members.” I am happy to debate under your forum rules, under your moderators, but if this has been blocked, my blog remains open for business.

Sooooo….. Let’s look at the comments since the thread was originally posted.

From AnnaEsse, Administrator. “I tend to keep thinking about how two doctors might dispose of a small body.”

From me (ShiningInLuz). Given enough time, I have no doubt whatsoever that two doctors could dispose of a body in Luz. The constraint is time. Without a fair deal of time, visitors to Luz would find it extremely difficult to dispose of a body here. Locals would have much more chance of making this succeed.

From fuzeta, platinum poster. “Well there were enough trips to the rubbish tips with ‘ rotten pork’ and ‘ dirty nappies’, also a fridge. So it makes you think.

Fred, I am interested in your thoughts on Huelva and wondering if they are they same as mine. If you cannot say please send me a pm xx”.

From me (ShiningInLuz). Unknown to both locals and visitors alike, all the rubbish goes to a single tip, where it was extensively sorted through for several reasons, the most important being to extract toxic waste that was not permitted in landfill. Since fridges contain toxic waste (refrigerant) plus recyclable material (metal), the tale that Madeleine disappeared in a fridge is a myth. Portugal uses a standard system whereby when you get a new white good delivered, you pay a small charge for disposal of the old one. There’s no evidence of fridge disposal or fridge purchase.

From AnnaEsse. “This is what I’m thinking fuzeta. I’m quite sure that a chopped up small body could look like cuts of meat. Distributed around on various tips and there is the chance that the body is gone forever. I reckon Maddie will be found if one day a dog runs off a tip with a bone that proves to be human.”

From me (ShiningInLuz). All the rubbish in the Western Algarve went to a single site at Porto de Lagos. In the unlikely event that Madeleine made it into the landfill there, the remains are now under tons of rubbish that went on top. Apartment 5A showed no signs of a body being butchered. Locals in the area have much less risky methods of disposing of a body.

From fuzeta “Yes Anna and there are many farms around.”

From me (ShiningInLuz). There are, split into those that are farmed, with farmer and farm dog, and those that aren’t. The constraint on the McCanns is time and knowledge. Personally, despite living here, I could not take you on a tour of abandoned farms because, strangely enough, it has never been of interest to me. So, someone with a knowledge of abandoned farms strikes me as someone who had a pre-existing reason to be interested in abandoned farms, such as people sleeping rough and criminals.

From AnnaEsse “I hadn’t thought about the farms, fuzeta, but of course! I think that when the McCanns said they were transporting rotting meat, they were telling the truth, but what kind of meat?”.

Let me see.

Someone with 25 years in the PJ in the Algarve had not a clue about how to dispose of a body in the Algarve. The folks who have succeeded him don’t know either – Rebelo, Redwood, Wall. Did 2 doctors beat this lot?

Huelva, sorry fred, please keep reading my blog. Feel free to post your ideas on here because I welcome different ideas and opinions. But I am struggling with Huelva on practical aka logistical reasons. I just cannot make it fit.

After that we get rubbish tips. Sorry, no, the rubbish did not work that way.

Chopped up small body. Sorry, no, who chopped, how was the chopping concealed?

Farms? If we know about these – and do we – who knew about these then?

For locals, there are easier and safer ways of disposing of a body. For visitors, body disposal was neither safe nor easy.

Madeleine – body disposal and transfer stations

The following news story was posted on the Miscarriage of Justice forum

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.

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.

Body disposal – the wheelie bins defence case

As far as I am aware, none of the people who suggest the wheelie bins as an obvious disposal method had checked out what happens with the waste at the landfill site. What happens at the landfill site is something of a revelation.

In 1997, the EU mandated that solid waste around Europe had to be managed in a smarter way.

Recycling had to be increased. This was to increase the re-use of old material, decrease the need for new material and cut the amount of landfill required. Hence the Algarve solution of green wheelie bins was augmented with the 3-brown-bell recycling system, and the 4-underground-chamber system.

Toxic material in landfill had to be cut. The Algarve has eco-centres where people can dump toxic rubbish, but people being people, most of this probably goes into the general rubbish bins, thus the landfill site has to strip these out. These toxic materials include circuit boards (TVs, radios, computers, printers, phones etc.). batteries, solvents, medicines, paint, engine oil and the such like.

Material that could be composted was to be separated out and turned into compost. This separation is at the landfill site, as not even the 4-underground-chamber system sorts this out at the front end.

Organic waste going into landfill was to be cut. This organic material degenerates producing methane, and methane is one of the most potent gases contributing to greenhouse gases and global warming.

Portugal’s progress on the directive was examined and document by the EU, and a public report looks at how Portugal, and each of its regions fared. This includes how well or otherwise the Algarve was doing in 2007.

Portugal split the Algarve into two with respect to waste management – Barlavento and Sotavento. These are sailing terms. Barlavento means upwind or windward, where the wind is coming from, and is the western half of the Algarve, covering Sagres, Luz, Lagos, Portimão and Albufeira. Sotavento is leeward or downwind, and is the eastern half running to the border with Spain.


In 2007, Sotavento lagged, and its facilities were slowly coming on-stream. Barlavento was leading, with its systems in place for years.

Landfill in both halves is run by Algar, a joint central/local initiative, and there was to be just one landfill site in each half.

In Barlavento, the site was/is at Porto de Lagos, which, despite its name, is a few miles north of Portimão. All the waste goes there, and the general waste is picked over by teams to extract recyclables, to extract toxic materials, to extract material for composting, to extract as much organic material as possible, and the remainder goes into landfill.

The Barlavento site was inspected in February 2005, and every aspect was in full swing.

The following graphic comes from the Facebook site associated with that visit, and it illustrates what happened to the organic material extracted. It was turned into gas, and just north of the landfill site is a power station that uses this gas to generate electricity.

Landfill gas

The record for this power station is also on-line, and in 2007, it was running at very close to 100% of its annual capacity of 5,000MWhours.

Therefore Barlavento was picking through the general waste in some considerable detail at the time Madeleine disappeared. The chances of getting a human body of Madeleine’s height and weight past such a check are minuscule.

There is a further twist to the Barlavento tale – the white stork.

White storks, along with gulls, visited Barlavento landfill in great numbers, seeing it as an easy food source. The white storks (not the gulls) were being studied by universities in Portugal and in the UK, as well as being a favourite spot for bird-watchers.

Studies were in place in 2007 to check the migration patterns of the storks. Previously, most had migrated to north Africa for, with only around 1,000 remaining in Iberia. By 2008, the number over-wintering in Iberia had risen to over 10,000.

Storks would be ringed and some would have radio trackers fitted. And the watchers would come to Barlavento to check on the storks, using high-magnification binoculars to see how many birds had rings and even what colour those rings were.

I do not have concrete evidence that there were watchers at Barlavento in May 2007, though I have seen a watcher on site a little later, and the tracking sites thank Algar/Barlavento for allowing them access.

White storks mate in March/April, and the eggs are incubated for 5 weeks. Therefore, around late April to May the chicks hatch and the demand for food increases. The graphic shows how crowded these sites become.

White storks

The locals in Luz remain convinced that is was easy to dispose of Madeleine via the wheelie bins in May 2007. That means they are unaware of what happens at the Barlavento landfill site. Thus any perpetrator disposing of Madeleine should be equally ignorant.

Since Madeleine was not found when the waste was being sorted in May 2007, the evidence is overwhelming that her final fate was not disposal in a wheelie bin.

Finally, note the difference with Gonçalo Amaral´s dead Shitzu. That would have either been considered organic material suitable for gas and electricity, or it would have been rejected and ended up in the landfill, fodder for the gulls and the storks.

The defence rests.

Body disposal – the wheelie bins prosecution case

How a human body may be disposed of in the Algarve relates neatly to who the suspects are.

For some reason, possibly the publication of the Jane Tanner sighting on 25 May 2007, the focus seems to be on individuals walking through Luz carrying a girl who could be Madeleine. I don’t know when the Smith sighting went public, but that one may also come into it.

The fact that an abductor could have used a car or van seems to be ignored. A perpetrator on foot seems to have gripped the collective imagination.

Therefore, disposal of a body in the wheelie bins must be examined. Gonçalo Amaral raises this possibility in his book. Kate mentions it in her book, in a quite different manner. The Dispatches programme of 2007 concluded body disposal in this manner was possible. The citizens of Luz who are anti-McCann cite this as one easy and obvious disposal method, and normally refuse to discuss the matter further.

What is the truth about the wheelie bins? This apparently simple question led to a very long post, so I have split it into two. This article covers the case for the prosecution. The case for the defence will come later.

The Dispatches programme on 18 Oct 2007 was filmed before the PJ files were released and before Amaral’s book came out, so it should have been based on reports in the media..

Dispatches sent a team of 5 expert investigators to Luz and allowed them to ferret around, looking at all the possible scenarios. Therefore, the wheelie bins were discussed.

Team member Professor Barclay states that in UK cases bodies have been put in bins, or even taken to rubbish sites, in the hope of concealing them in landfill.

Then Dispatches goes off the rails a bit. The bins are described as industrial bins, which they are not.

The Algarve, like all of the Mediterranean countries I have visited, does not do house to house collection with individual-sized bins for a single house. The bins are communal bins, placed at convenient locations, and individuals take their domestic rubbish to such a designated point. This requires bins that are several times the size of a UK wheelie bin.

I am only aware of one “small” wheelie bin in Luz. By pure coincidence, it is located at the entrance/exit of the estate used by the McCanns after they moved out of the Ocean Club, so I’d guess the McCanns are familiar with it. Even that “small” wheelie bin is several times the size of a UK wheelie bin, and is in use as there is not enough space for a standard sized unit.

Dispatches then says that the bins are emptied every night, between midnight and 4 AM, and that they were emptied at this time on 4th May i.e. about two hours after Madeleine went missing. They state that the collections should have been stopped. When they asked the Portuguese police if the bins were searched or the landfill site was checked, the police declined to comment.

This implied emptying of all bins overnight between midnight and 4 AM may have been happening in May 2007, but it is certainly is not like what happens in Luz today. Bins appear to be emptied in the period of midnight to around 4 PM.

Only a sub-set of bins are emptied on a given day, as there is no need to empty them more frequently. Most wheelie bin points have multiple bins on them and simply do not fill up in a day or two, so emptying them faster is a waste of cash. In fact, the only bin I can think that might get emptied daily is that small one near McCann base camp #2, as that should fill up rapidly.

Back to Dispatches, where they showed Charlotte Pennington. Charlotte is the child-care worker whose statement included the fact that she had read Madeleine a story on 3rd May. In Dispatches, she says that she took part in the search that night (presumably the structured search organised by the Ocean Club) and they were instructed to look in the bins. However, she does not think all the bins were checked that night.

I know for a fact that not all the bins were checked that night, as the searchers did not have the tools required to search all the bins.

The searchers might, or might not, have checked all the wheelie bins. I doubt that a proper check was conducted. The bins are normally quite smelly since there is days-old domestic waste in them. Plus a proper check would require daylight, so you can see what you are doing.

Luz had (and has) 3 different systems for handling domestic waste. All of these are loaded mechanically into the rear of lorries, so the operators have very little chance of spotting a body going in.

First were the giant green wheelie bins into which all types of waste went, without being sorted.

Then there was/is a system that looks like giant brown bells. These come in sets of three, two for recycling an one for non-recyclable waste. These require a lorry with a crane to get into them, so these were not searched. However, the entrance hole in the general waste one is too small to fit something of Madeleine’s size into, so not searching these was not a problem.

The third system was being rolled out in more modern places in Luz, like St James and Estrela Da Luz, where the Smiths’ apartment was located. These come in sets of 4, 3 for recyclable waste, and one for general waste. They are underground and cavernous. Above ground, you walk over the top of the bin and drop rubbish in through large steel tubes with a lid on top. Most visitors think the entire bin is the steel tube above ground. The effort to get into one of these bins is massive. You have to raise not just the steel tube, but also the part of the bin you walk across to get to the tube. This is normally done by a crane mounted on a lorry. I doubt anything was done with these. Even peering in through the top lid would require a torch, and you still can’t see what is at the edge of the bin or underneath the top layer.

This leaves the green wheelie bins and the 3rd generation underground bin for general waste as problem areas.

Gonçalo Amaral in his book, “A Verdade Da Mentira” alludes to the fact that this disposal method was available to the McCanns. His pointer is that a short way into the investigation he got a call from his wife to say their pet Shitzu had been horribly killed, and she wanted him to dispose of the body. A Shitzu is a small dog, much smaller than Madeleine. Amaral knew that digging a grave in the Algarve was tough, something that Scotland Yard found out for themselves in the dig in Luz in mid-2014. Even though the dog was small, Amaral knew that digging a grave would take a long time, time he did not have. So he took the Shitzu to a waste collection point and disposed of the pet that way.

This last point is important. When I get on to the defence case about was Madeleine disposed of in this manner, whether by the McCanns or other perpetrators, it will be important to show why dog corpse disposal works but human corpse disposal does not.

Also in his book, Gonçalo Amaral covers the meticulous examination of all 188 bins in Luz He states that the bins, sewers and boxes were searched before the first interviews of the Tapas 9 were started.

This is not accurate. All members of the Tapas 9 had first interviews on 4 May 2007. The PJ files clearly show that the bins were search on 7 May 2007, so obviously there is a lot of scope for bin-emptying in the interim.

The methods used to conduct the PJ bin search is not made clear. The report states that all 188 bins were checked on a single day by a team of two police officers and three people from the waste disposal company. A little arithmetic suggests to me that five people, even if they were all mucking in (rather than the two officers watching as the workers got stuck in) cannot search 188 bins of Luz-size wheelies, large brown bells, or cavernous underground bins.

The wheelies can only be searched properly by tipping the contents out and going through the result meticulously. The brown bells have to be lifted by crane, the contents dropped out, and then thoroughly searched. The underground bins are killers, because the amount they hold is vast. Open the lid, pick up the bin with a crane, tip the contents out and there you may have a weeks worth of rubbish to sift through.

188 such searches in a single day by a team of 5 people does not fill me confidence that a thorough check was made.

Gonçalo Amaral did not make the bins his only possibility. After all, he wanted the evidence from the dogs, and the evidence from the dogs implies Madeline was first concealed, then retrieved, then disposed of. The Luz waste system does not fit concealment and retrieval.

In Kate’s Book “Madeleine”, a wheelie bin opens chapter four, when she searches in the early morning hours of 4th May, sees a bin and opens it, praying that Madeleine was not inside. She does not tell us what was inside, whether the bin was full or empty. If it had rubbish in it, she does not tell us if and how she searched the rubbish.

Nor does she state the location of the bin. There was one just 90 seconds from the McCann apartment in the direction taken by Jane Tanner’s man. It would have made sense to search that bin, and all the others very close to 5A, but that opportunity has been missed.

What Kate’s book does tell us is that on the morning of 4th May, she considered that disposal of Madeleine via the wheelie bins was an option.

The prosecution rests.

Madeleine – body disposal or concealment

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.