Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Another "Ludicrous" Theory in the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann The Daily Profiler
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
Monday, October 8, 2007
A short time ago, I made a suggestion that the British police might investigate the McCann's residence (and the residences of friends and family of the McCanns) for the possibility that the body of Madeleine McCann might have been transported into England. Some folk immediately labeled the theory ridiculous, or ludicrous, as the McCanns would say. How, they asked, could the McCanns carry a putrefying and decaying body in a suitcase and get it on and off of an airplane? I understand that this sounds mighty foolish to many who don't work in the field of criminal investigation and profiling and they think Pat Brown is a nutcase par excellence!
Let me clear up a few misconceptions: first of all, it is a theory, not a fact. Secondly, a theory is useful to stimulate investigative avenues not yet thought of that might lead to evidence that would otherwise have been overlooked. Third, offering one theory does not mean it is the only theory or even the best theory. It is far more likely that Madeleine's body is somewhere underground in Portugal or Spain or in the ocean. These are simpler places to bury a body. It may be that the body has just not yet been discovered. This is very often the case; while rumors and theories abound about white slavery and porn rings and sightings are made of the victim all over the world, the body of the poor thing has simply been lying in a ravine for the past few months! Sometimes bodies fall into strange and difficult places or are well-buried for years. Then, one day a jogger trips over the body or a farmer turns over some soil to plant his corn, and, voila! The victim has been found.
Maddy McCann will likely be found in a similar way (unless someone did one heck of a job of hiding her). Whether a child predator took Maddy or the parents did her in, she will probably one day just be found. However, there is nothing wrong with being proactive and trying to find her sooner than later. Therefore, the police should follow all leads and theories. IF they find her sooner, than not all the evidence with the body or within the body will have been destroyed by time and nature.
So, search in Portugal and Spain and any other place one can think of. And, yes, search in England: Maddy just might be there.
Would it really be possible for one of the McCanns to cart the body of their daughter back to England? Yes, absolutely. Because of the climate in Portugal, it is possible that should they have buried Maddy in a shallow grave in a sandy substrate, her body would have mummified. Mummification is a desiccation of the corpse where the fluids drain into the ground and the rest of the body dries up. There is relatively little odor associated with a mummified body.
If this occurred, the body would be easier to transport; it would be lighter and drier and lacking the horrible smell of a corpse. Such a body could easily be placed in a sealed bag and placed in a suitcase. Screening of stowed luggage is not likely to uncover a body inside of a suitcase and when the traveler reaches the other end and goes through customs, they enter the "Have nothing to declare line," and just walk through (unless they exhibit concerning behavior that raises a red flag and launches a search of the luggage). As to the McCanns, I seriously doubt they were searched upon arrival, not with all the press surrounding them and the mass of curious onlookers, reporters, and VIPS lurking about.
IF the McCanns were involved and IF Maddy's body was brought home, when this would have happened is another question. Unfortunately, only those inside the organization would (we hope) know the truth about the McCann's movements. For example, Gerry McCann returned to England on June 19, just four days after an exhaustive search for Madeleine was called off. This search was in an arid, desolate area (the kind of climate which might encourage the mummification of a body) near a town called Odiaxere. A letter from an unknown sender had stated she could be found there in a shallow grave. Four days later, Gerry is on a plane home. I don't know if he took any luggage with him, anything more than a rucksack (which I don't know the size of). He only stayed for the day, purportedly to attend some meetings. He claims he had his wallet stolen while getting money from an ATM and later that evening, the wallet was mailed back to him. A rather peculiar story that I wonder might not be a cover for the reason he was late to his meetings; he ostensibly spent the time calling credit card companies to cancel his credit cards.
If I were the police investigator, I would follow up this lead. I would want to know what luggage Gerry took with him to England. I would try to see if there was any proof to the wallet theft story. I would find out if he had any "alone" time on the trip. I would find out if he made those phone calls to the credit card companies and if he really got money from an ATM. I would find out exactly where he was that day through any evidence of his movements (phone call tracking, receipts, witnesses, etc.). I would want to know if anyone met him, especially anyone who he could have transferred a package from one suitcase to another.
I would check all the McCann trips and look for possibly ways for them to transport a body away from Portugal. And, again, I would look for all possible places within Portugal or neighboring countries as possible places to hide or bury a body. I would check the possibility of a burial at sea.
If I were the Portuguese police, I would be following all leads, even those that lead away from the McCanns. It never hurts to be thorough. The point is to recover Madeleine, dead or alive, and bring justice to those that hurt her. In the end, it doesn't matter which theory is correct (except as an educational tool for future investigations). It only matters that the case is solved.