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19 - AVR/MAI - Podcasts Papers (2)

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Articles de Marl Saunokonoko

Sunrise Interview - 01.04.2019
“Voice over: Those eyes, that face, a haunting reminder that Maddie is still missing. Twelve years ago, just days before her fourth birthday, Maddie McCann vanished without a trace during a family holiday in Portugal, parents Kate and Gerry left Maddie and her siblings asleep in their room while they had dinner with friends. At 10 pm Kate went to check on the children, Maddie was gone, her bed empty and the window open. Police in Portugal worked closely with Scotland Yard. Three months after her disappearance, sniffer dogs made a series of discoveries in the McCann holiday rental and hire car. Those DNA samples were sent to British lab, Forensics Science Service. It didn’t have the technology to assess the crucial DNA and its results were ruled inconclusive, that’s always been accepted, until now.

Samantha Armytage (SA): And Dr Mark Perlin is one of the top DNA scientists in the world and joins us now from Chicago, Mark, good morning, welcome, now…
Mark Perlin (MP): Good morning.
 

SA: … DNA was found in the boot of Kate and Gerry’s hire car 25 days after Maddie vanished, it was found to be inconclusive, why is that?
MP: Well, when scientists test DNA evidence, there are 2 parts to the test. The first is generating the data, something the British scientists were excellent at, and the other is interpreting the data. When evidence, like in this case involves a mixed sample, of 3 or more people whose DNA are all together in the evidence, with very low amounts of DNA, they struggle to get any sort of interpretation and the outcome is typically inconclusive. Now that data is really highly informative in many cases as the reports from the British government indicated, and advanced computing can look at that same data and extract the information out of the data and get a result and get a match statistic, either indicating that someone left their DNA or not. The British government simply lacked the tools to analyse the data they had produced.

David Koch (DC): So, technology’s moved on, why isn’t the DNA being retested now by Scotland Yard using this new technology?

MP: Well, I think government is used to failing with DNA evidence, over the last 20 years, most DNA evidence has been mixtures of 2 or more people and the usual result is inconclusive in most of these samples, government just let… got it wrong and there’s been no major movement for government wanting to go back and undo their failures of the past. Yesterday I was having lunch with 2 men in Indiana, whom I helped exonerate, and in that case they, they were in jail for 40 years between the two of them and the DNA that proved that they could not have committed that gang-rape, long time ago on an Indiana highway, that evidence was looked at 15 years later by Cybergenetics TrueAllele technology, demonstrated there were 5 people present, none of them were these men, and they were fully exonerated.

SA: Wow…
MP: Government really should open up the paths for these hundreds of thousands of cases, but is reluctant to re-examine cases they consider closed.

SA: Ok, your… you are very well known in this field, you were instrumental in identifying victims in September 11, you’ve worked around the globe with high profile crimes, including the Robert Z case in Australia, do you think DNA is the key to solving the Maddie McCann mystery at this point?
MP: Well, I think it’s key to unlocking evidence that’s been crucial to the investigation. With Cybergenetics TrueAllele technology, these mixed DNA samples, the data already exists, the point is to go back and look at this data, if we have access to it, and let the computer separate out the DNA profiles of the different people who left their DNA, make a comparison and produce a statistic that shows if they’re there or not and it’s pretty straightforward for Cybergenetics, we’ve been doing this for 10 years.
DC: It Just seems a very simple thing to do, doesn’t it? We really appreciate your time, thank you so much for that.”



Apr 2, 2019


London Metropolitan Police are refusing to comment on a potentially case-changing pro bono offer by one of the world's top DNA scientists to analyse important DNA samples linked to Madeleine McCann's disappearance for a UK investigation which has cost taxpayers more than $20m. The revelations that American DNA expert Dr Mark Perlin could potentially unlock a series of "inconclusive" samples that stumped UK forensic scientists in 2007 was first aired in Maddie, a Nine.com.au multi-episode podcast investigating the baffling disappearance of British girl Madeleine.Some of those DNA samples were lifted from the boot of a rental car hired by Kate and Gerry McCann 25 days after Madeleine vanished, in May 2007.


Last night Scotland Yard, which is on the brink of applying for another tranche of UK government funding, told Nine.com.au: "The investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann remains ongoing. We are not providing a running commentary." Nine.com.au understands the UK Home Office is currently considering a request to extend funding for Operation Grange for a further year, until the end of March 2020. It is believed the Home Office may inject $550,000 to keep the Scotland Yard investigation alive. Since launching in 2011, Operation Grange has cost British taxpayers $21.6 million. Dollars australiens.


In the Maddie podcast, it was detailed how detectives working on the Madeleine McCann case were notified one year ago about Dr Perlin's advanced testing methods, reputedly the most sophisticated in the world, and his pro bono offer to assist the investigation. Dr Perlin says Operation Grange, the UK's investigation into the McCann case, never responded to that 2018 offer. Further inquiries to London Metropolitan Police from Nine.com.au about Dr Perlin's offer last week also went unanswered. A successful analysis of the McCann DNA samples by Dr Perlin could potentially blow open a dead end in the cold case by either confirming or conclusively ruling out some of the questions around the DNA samples.


In 2007, specialist cadaver and blood dogs made a number of alerts in the McCann holiday apartment and a rental car hired several weeks after Madeleine was reported missing. Many of those DNA samples were returned "inconclusive", halting police lines of inquiry into the possible presence of Madeleine McCann's DNA in the rental car. Dr Perlin claims his Pittsburgh lab Cybergenetics, which has identified victims of the September 11 attack on New York's World Trade Centre, can routinely unlock the kind of samples the UK Forensic Science Service (FSS) struggled to successfully analyse.


A senior FSS scientist, Dr John Lowe, told Portuguese police the samples were "too complex" and challenging for his team. "Let's look at the question that is being asked," Dr Lowe wrote about a DNA sample taken from the boot compartment of a silver Renault Scenic leased by Mr and Mrs McCann. "Is there DNA from Madeline (sic) on the swab? "It would be very easy to say, 'Yes' simply because of the number of [DNA] components within the result that are also in her reference sample," continued Dr Lowe. Ultimately, Dr Lowe said the FSS could not answer that potentially critical question.


Dr Perlin said the FSS tests "failed" because its methods used were outdated and inadequate, compared to the modern computer analysis Cybergenetics has used to assist police forces around the world.





Apr 6, 2019


Following an investigation by nine.com.au, a formal request from one of the world's leading DNA scientists has been lodged with London Metropolitan Police for access to 18 complex DNA samples which are potentially loaded with vital clues about Madeleine McCann's disappearance.

There is hope that Dr Mark Perlin's powerful computational DNA testing methods could blow open the cold case by successfully cracking the 18 samples which frustratingly stumped a UK lab in 2007.


Dr Perlin, chief scientist at Cybergenetics, a renowned laboratory in Pittsburgh, US, sent a formal pro bono offer to detectives at Operation Grange to analyse that particular set of DNA samples, which had all been ruled "inconclusive", "too meagre" and "weak" by UK scientists during the original 14-month Portuguese police investigation.

Two of the 18 DNA samples Dr Perlin wants to look at were lifted from the boot of a rental car hired by Kate and Gerry McCann 25 days after Madeleine mysteriously vanished while on holiday in Portugal, almost 12 years ago. Having reviewed a 2007 Forensic Science Service (FSS) report supplied by nine.com.au, Vraiment étonnant, comment ça ? Dr Perlin said it was "possible" Madeleine's DNA was present in the McCann hire car, potentially opening up or ruling out a line of the police inquiry, which had stalled with the "inconclusive" results.
 

The other 16 samples of interest to Dr Perlin were taken from areas inside the McCann holiday apartment in 2007 by a Portuguese forensic team. Dr Perlin will discuss the 18 DNA samples in greater detail in Monday's upcoming episode of Maddie.


In Dr Perlin's email to Detective Chief Inspector Nicola Wall, who heads up Operation Grange, the UK strike force investigating Madeleine's disappearance, he confirmed he would conduct analysis of the 18 samples for no cost. Scotland Yard's Operation Grange, launched in 2011, has cost British taxpayers more than $20 million (dollars australiens) and it has recently requested further funding from the UK Home Office. Cybergenetics and Dr Perlin's analysis could either confirm or conclusively rule out some of the questions around the DNA samples.
The now closed FSS in Birmingham had "failed" with the limited DNA testing methods it used to analyse a raft of "inconclusive" McCann samples, Dr Perlin said.

"[If] a lab can produce informative data, even if it is complex and mixed, but they can't interpret it then you can have tremendous injustice; of guilty people not being convicted, of innocent people staying in prison," Dr Perlin said. "What is needed is an objective and accurate interpretation that can scientifically resolve the DNA."
 

Dr Perlin said forensic and law enforcement agencies around the world, such as the FSS and other official UK bodies, routinely hold and archive the DNA data his lab Cybergenetics needs to make an accurate analysis and possibly help unlock the Maddie mystery. "It would be a great way to resolve the case using modern technology and get a definitive answer to at least this one question that had perplexed the FSS ten years ago," he said.

Portuguese police had focused on the McCann hire car and certain areas inside the family's Algarve holiday apartment after intensive search work by two specialist British cadaver dogs, three months after Madeleine went missing. The two dogs had alerted inside the apartment, car and on several personal family possessions. Any alerts by cadaver dogs need to be corroborated by additional evidence, such as DNA.

One month after the dogs had searched those areas, Madeleine's parents were declared arguidos, formal suspects.






Apr 9, 2019



A US private investigator who worked undercover at the holiday resort where Madeleine McCann vanished has made claims that appear to cast doubt on the controversial parental checking system Kate, Gerry and the Tapas 7 told police they were conducting on the night the three-year-old vanished. In a remarkable interview on the Maddie podcast, Boston-based investigator Joseph Moura claimed a bartender and waitress who served the McCanns and their friends at the now infamous tapas restaurant on May 3 told him "nobody left the table that evening". Ce n'est pas ce qu'ils ont raconté à la police.


Moura worked one week undercover at the Ocean Club Resort after Maddie vanished, when US broadcaster CBS News hired him to investigate details surrounding Madeleine's disappearance for its flagship show, 48 Hours. Nobody knew Moura, an American who speaks Portuguese, was a private investigator. In Maddie, Moura explained how he stayed at the Ocean Club resort and spent a lot of time getting to know employees, particularly workers at the tapas restaurant.

[The employees] had no idea that I was working with 48 Hours and CBS. I was just a tourist who happened to speak their language. So I got to know them pretty well in that period of time, when you're spending a lot of time by the pool and you're spending time at the bar and the restaurant. They clearly told me that that particular night that nobody left the table. That goes by the bartender and that goes by the waitresses. Nobody left the table that evening.

It is possible the bartender and restaurant wait staff did not see Mr and Mrs McCann and their friends getting up to leave the table to regularly check on their children.


According to police statements, members of the group departed the tapas table a number of times that evening. Between 8.55pm and 9:30pm, the group of nine adults said they conducted a total of five checks. At 10pm, Kate McCann said she went to the apartment and discovered Madeleine was gone.

All six tapas restaurant staff who worked that night were interviewed by police on May 4, the day after Maddie vanished. Three of the four front-of-house employees told police they saw one man leave the table that night. The other waiter said he noticed two men left during dinner at separate times. One waitress told police workers learned that a girl had gone missing after a woman, probably Kate, left the table and raised the alarm. In his police statement, a waiter said although he had seen just one man leave the table on May 3 that it was usual for someone in the group to visit the apartments to check the children.


Following his work on the case, Moura concluded Madeleine had been abducted on the night of May 3, 2007. When asked why the group would have given statements saying they checked on the children regularly if that were not the case, Moura speculated that one possible reason might be the public perception of the McCanns and their friends, many of them doctors, leaving their kids alone at night. "The family and the friends were really embarrassed," Moura said.

While evidence available to Portuguese police suggested the group did check on the children multiple times, Moura's claims illustrate the difficulty of confirming even the smallest of details from the day of Maddie's disappearance The McCanns believed an intruder struck while they were out, snatching Madeleine from a bedroom where she was sleeping alongside her younger brother and sister, Sean and Amelie. Mr and Mrs McCann said an abductor could have monitored their nightly routine, as they left Madeleine, Sean and Amelie alone each night to eat at the tapas bar.
Le procureur de la république a écrit que les rondes n'étaient pas aussi régulières qu les TP avaient dit.






Apr 11, 2019



A former top Scotland Yard homicide detective believes British police could be sitting on "a real game changer" if Madeleine McCann's DNA is found in unsolved samples currently being sought by one of the world's leading DNA scientists. Following an investigation by Nine.com.au, leading American forensic scientist Dr Mark Perlin last week formally offered to help London Metropolitan Police untangle 18 complex DNA samples, ruled "inconclusive” in 2007, which are potentially loaded with vital clues about Madeleine's disappearance.


Sixteen of the DNA samples of interest to Dr Perlin were taken from the McCann's holiday apartment, where Madeleine vanished, and the remaining two are from the boot compartment of a car hired by Maddie's parents, Kate and Gerry, several weeks after she disappeared. In episode seven of Maddie, a podcast investigating Madeleine's mysterious disappearance, retired London Metropolitan Police detective Colin Sutton was asked what it could mean if Dr Perlin's analysis confirmed the presence of Madeleine's DNA in that rental car, a silver Renault Scenic.
On that basis, that that car was hired by the McCanns three weeks after Madeleine disappeared, then it is a real game changer, isn't it? Because there is no way, according to information that we have, that she could have been in that car.
The big question then is how can her DNA get into that car three weeks after she disappeared?


Alternatively, Dr Perlin's analysis could conclusively rule out Madeleine as ever having been in the car, helping to narrow the focus of the investigation, as well as shed light on some of the questions around the other DNA samples.

Sutton added that the 16 "inconclusive" DNA samples lifted from the living room of the McCann's apartment 5A at the Ocean Club Resort could be of signficant value to investigators if Dr Perlin is able to establish whose DNA is present in that evidence.

In 2007 a British lab judged those 16 samples too complex to analyse. But Dr Perlin claims his advanced testing methods, used to identify victims of the September 11 terror attack, can successfully decipher that evidence.
Where it would become interesting - and I understand this is the situation that you have in 5A - is where the material bearing the DNA is found in locations which would not in the ordinary course of events be subject to regular touching, Sutton said. So if you've got a situation where there is material found in cracks and crevices between tiles and skirting boards … that would probably indicate the possibility of, at least, some kind of DNA bearing material had been there and some attempts had been made to clean the material off. But the cleaning process isn't good enough or thorough enough to get into the cracks or crevices where access is difficult. That's the thing that's much more interesting from an investigator's point of view, because you start to ask the question how did that material get into that inaccessible location and what might it mean for what happened before and after?

Many of the 16 DNA samples were lifted from skirting board and tiles lifted from the floor in areas behind a blue two-seat sofa. It is entirely possible an unknown intruder's DNA is present in those samples. If an abductor took Madeleine, Dr Perlin's DNA analysis could help identify someone still at large who was involved in her disappearance. Que serait allé faire derrière un sofa un kidnappeur qui n'avait que quelques secondes pour agir ?

Spatial mapping of who touched what or left their material at different locations ... can aid investigators in understanding or reconstructing the events that happened, Dr Perlin said. It can help an investigator understand who was where and what they may have done.

Dr Perlin said if Madeleine's DNA was found in the boot of the Renault Scenic, DNA transference could potentially explain those results.

Secondary DNA transfer could occur [if] there was a suitcase in someone's apartment and DNA was left in some reasonably large quantity on that suitcase and then that suitcase was moved into the luggage compartment of the car, he said. There's a whole science to DNA transfer. It's not that common. It can happen.

Last week Nine.com.au revealed Dr Perlin, the chief scientist at Pittsburgh laboratory Cybergenetics, had formally offered his services to the head of Operation Grange, Scotland Yard's investigation in Madeleine's disappearance.

Operation Grange is on the brink of receiving further funding from the UK Home Office. Since launching in 2011, Operation Grange has cost UK taxpayers $21 million.







Apr 16, 2019



A phenomenon called noble cause corruption can sometimes unintentionally bias police investigations and lead to miscarriages of justice, according to a high-profile American defence lawyer. Veteran attorney David S. Rudolf became something of a digital age folk hero after appearing in Netflix show The Staircase, a true crime documentary detailing the murder trial of US author Michael Peterson, who was found guilty of killing his wife but later had his conviction overturned.



Rudolf explained why, generally, it can sometimes be hard for police to back away from a line of inquiry that later appears to be flawed or wrong.

The larger problem is not the kind of corruption that we normally think about but what ... is called noble cause corruption. And that's the kind of corruption that occurs when the police believe in a particular theory, and take steps that are extra-judicial in order to prove their theory.

Rudolf explained that police and judges, like all human beings, can suffer from confirmation bias - a psychological dynamic where people tend to ignore or emphasise relevant facts depending on their beliefs.

We all to a greater or lesser extent suffer from tunnel vision. Police officers and even judges [can have] a certain arrogance about their ability to determine what actually happened, and then fall guilty to tunnel vision and confirmation bias.

In 2017, a senior London Metropolitan Police figure rejected claims Operation Grange detectives had a "closed mind" about scenarios which do not involve Madeleine McCann being abducted in May 2007.??????



Rudolf also offered his opinion on why Scotland Yard's Operation Grange, the $20 million, seven-year UK police investigation into the Madeleine mystery, have so far failed to take up an offer from one of the world's leading DNA scientists to solve a series of possibly case-changing DNA samples.

Following an investigation by Nine.com.au, US forensic scientist Dr Mark Perlin has made a formal offer to London Metropolitan Police to untangle 18 complex DNA samples at no cost. Those DNA samples, taken from the McCann holiday apartment and rental car, were ruled "inconclusive" in 2007 and are potentially loaded with vital clues about Madeleine's disappearance.



A former Scotland Yard homicide detective, Colin Sutton, has said solving those DNA samples could be a "gamechanger" for police. Two of the 18 DNA samples being sought for analysis by Dr Perlin were lifted from a rental car hired weeks after Madeleine vanished. To date, Dr Perlin has had no response or acknowledgement from Scotland Yard. 
The natural conclusion I think is what's the harm of doing the analysis? And if you don't want to do the analysis then perhaps what you're afraid of is that you'll be shown to have been wrong in your initial theory, Rudolf said, speaking about Operation Grange's apparent unwillingness so far to take up Dr Perlin's offer. And that's hard for people, you know. It's hard for people to admit they're wrong and it's hard for people to agree to testing that may show they're wrong. What it says to me is that whoever is resisting it is human and they're somewhat concerned that what they initially thought may not be the case.

Operation Grange detectives were first made aware of Dr Perlin's offer in March last year. Scotland Yard have been contacted several times since by Nine.com.au but refused to comment on Dr Perlin.

Dr Perlin, chief scientist at Cybergenetics, has confirmed to Nine.com.au he has not been contacted by anyone at Scotland Yard, including DCI Nicola Wall who heads up the investigation which was launched in 2011 and has cost taxpayers more than $20 million.

The UK Home Office is currently considering a request for further funding, believed to be $300,000, from Operation Grange to continue the investigation through to March 2020.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May and the Home Office both declined to comment on Dr Perlin's pro bono offer when approached by Nine.com.au.



In an earlier episode of Maddie, retired London Metropolitan Police detective Colin Sutton was asked what it could mean if Dr Perlin's analysis confirmed the presence of Madeleine's DNA in that rental car, a silver Renault Scenic.

"On that basis, that that car was hired by the McCanns three weeks after Madeleine disappeared, then it is a real game changer, isn't it? Because there is no way, according to information that we have, that she could have been in that car," said Sutton. "The big question then is how can her DNA get into that car three weeks after she disappeared?"



Dr Perlin said DNA transference could be a possible explanation if Madeleine's DNA is found to be present in the car, and would be something examined by police and forensic experts.

DNA analysis by Dr Perlin could also conclusively rule out Madeleine as ever having been in the car, helping to narrow the focus of the investigation, as well as shed light on some of the questions around the other DNA samples.



In a rare media briefing about Operation Grange in 2017, the now retired London Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner Mark Rowley was asked if Madeleine’s parents had ever been questioned under caution or considered suspects. "The involvement of the parents, that was dealt with at the time by the original investigation by the Portuguese," Rowley replied. "We had a look at all the material and we are happy that was all dealt with and there is no reason whatsoever to reopen that or start rumours that was a line of investigation."



During questioning, he fended off criticism Operation Grange and its investigative remit of a potential abduction appeared to have a "closed mind" to the possibility of the involvement of someone known to the family, an accident or the girl walking out of the apartment.??????



Kate and Gerry McCann, both doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, have strenuously denied they were involved in the disappearance of their daughter. Nine.com.au does not suggest any involvement on their part. Mr and Mrs McCann left Madeleine and their two other children alone while they ate dinner at a nearby restaurant with a group of friends. They believed an intruder struck while they were out, taking Madeleine from her bed. Aged three when she vanished, Madeleine would turn 16 in 2019.




Apr 19, 2019


'No evidence' to support latest Madeleine McCann theory

A powerful "machine" set out to "harm" a Portuguese detective after he wrote a book theorising Madeleine McCann may have died in the family holiday apartment, according to the literary agent who published the retired police officer's best-seller. In 2008 Goncalo Amaral released The Truth of the Lie, documenting his five months leading the police investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance. The controversial book triggered a protracted and bitter legal battle with Kate and Gerry McCann.



The 22-chapter book suggested a theory that Madeleine had died in apartment 5A, an abduction had been simulated and the three-year-old's body was somehow removed from the resort. In episode eight of Maddie podcast, Manuel S. Fonseca of Lisbon-based publisher Guerra & Paz, revealed why his company stood behind Mr Amaral, despite intense criticism of the book from Mr and Mrs McCann and sections of the UK media.



Following court action in 2009, The Truth of the Lie was banned and the McCanns successfully sued Mr Amaral for 500,000 euros. But those judgements were later thrown out by Portugal's highest court. "There was a machine against [Mr Amaral] and that machine did anything it could to cause him harm, in his personal and professional life," Fonseca told Nine.com.au in a statement. "I salute my author for his strength in defending his professional integrity and his freedom of speech, as they are stated in the Portuguese Constitution. "I am a publisher and it is for me a matter of principle not to ban books," Mr Fonseca added.



Mr Amaral's book had detailed various lines of inquiry the Portuguese police had investigated after Maddie vanished. Some Portuguese police appeared to doubt an abduction had occurred, and there were questions over some of the witness statements and timelines that were given to police. xcFive months after Madeleine disappearance, Mr Amaral was removed from the investigation following criticism of British police in an interview he gave to a newspaper at the time.



Mr and Mrs McCann said they left Madeleine and their two other children alone while they ate dinner at a nearby restaurant with a group of friends, who became known as the Tapas 7. They believed an intruder had been watching their apartment and struck while they were out, taking Madeleine from her bed. Mr and Mrs McCann, both doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, have strenuously denied they were involved in the disappearance of their daughter. Nine.com.au does not suggest any involvement on their part.



Mr Amaral's book was banned for six years, until the judgment in favour of the McCanns was challenged and overturned. At the time, Mr Amaral had said the ban on his book was "unconstitutional" and flew in the face of Portuguese democracy. In an earlier episode of Maddie, Nine.com.au obtained and aired never-before-heard audio from the libel trial against Mr Amaral. In that audio, Mr and Mrs McCann can be heard explaining how the publication of the book had caused their family great pain and distress. They said it had detracted from the ongoing search for Madeleine. Although the book was never published in English, during the trial the McCanns pointed out that English translations of the book were available on the internet and they were concerned at the impact it would have on their twins, Sean and Amelie, as they grew older.


Initially the McCanns were seeking 1.2 million euros in damages from Mr Amaral. The legal battle against the McCanns and his castigation by British tabloids took a heavy toll on Mr Amaral financially, professionally personally, according to the publisher. Mr and Mrs McCann later took their case to Portugal's highest court, the Supreme Court, in a bid to have the book ban and libel damages reinstated. But in 2017 the Supreme Court ruled in Mr Amaral's favour.
Non, le STJ a confirmé l'arrêté de la Cour d'Appel.
"The Supreme Court decision unequivocally says that Gonçalo Amaral's book, contrary to what Gerald and Kate McCann alleged, doesn't affect the couple's right to privacy, or even their legitimate right to image and good name, since the facts exposed in the book were all public and known all over the world and they were first in the public police report before Amaral wrote his book," Fonseca told Nine.com.au.



Mr and Mrs McCann have currently lodged a case with the European Court of Human Rights, though that legal battle is against Portugal the sovereign state, rather than Mr Amaral. The McCanns' legal team will try and prove that Portugal has breached one or more of their human rights.

Madeleine was just days away from her fourth birthday when she mysteriously vanished.

Neither Portuguese police or Scotland Yard have made any arrests in the case which has baffled investigators since May 2007.

 

Apr 23, 2019


Smith family movements

A so-called advanced wonder technique used to re-test vital DNA samples in the Madeleine McCann mystery is actually just "really old" DNA technology from 15 years ago, according to a world-leading US expert in forensic science. Citing an unnamed source, The Sun today reported how Operation Grange police had used a technique called DNA-17 to reanalyse DNA samples from the case ruled "inconclusive" by a British lab in 2007. The comments follow a remarkable pro bono offer to solve 18 DNA samples which could explain what happened to Madeleine McCann – first revealed in the nine.com.au podcast Maddie. Like the 2007 tests, DNA-17 had failed produce a match or any meaningful analysis, according to the top-selling British tabloid.



But speaking exclusively to nine.com.au's podcast Maddie, American DNA scientist Dr Mark Perlin rubbished DNA-17 technology as outdated and incapable of cracking the Maddie mystery – despite The Sun touting it as one of the biggest forensic breakthroughs in 20 years.

There is nothing terribly new about it, Dr Perlin, chief scientist of Pittsburgh laboratory Cybergenetics, said.

Basically this DNA-17 is an older technology that is ... being claimed as being new. It is new for the British.


Dr Perlin will speak more about DNA-17 in this week's upcoming episode of Maddie. The ninth episode of Maddie has been delayed from its usual Monday release schedule because of what nine.com.au described as "a significant interview" secured late on the eve of the Easter holiday.

Dr Perlin explained how DNA-17 technology had been available in the US, home to the world's most advanced forensic techniques, for around 15 years.

He said DNA-17 lacked the necessary power to interpret the very complex DNA samples, potentially loaded with clues, which were lifted from behind a blue sofa in the McCann holiday apartment and a rental car hired weeks after Madeleine vanished. The McCann samples are highly challenging because they were small and mixed with more than one person's DNA.



Nine.com.au has provided a series of forensic reports from the UK lab that tested the McCann samples in 2007, the Forensic Science Service (FSS), to top American scientist Dr Perlin for review. Asked what he had seen in that FSS documentation, Dr Perlin said: "What this report says is there is a possibility that Madeleine McCann's DNA is present in this mixture."



As reported by nine.com.au today, DCI Nicola Wall, the head of Operation Grange, has so far not acknowledged an offer from Dr Perlin to solve 18 key samples for no cost. Dr Perlin has pioneered what is widely believed to the most powerful DNA testing methods on the planet. Cybergenetics uses computational algorithms to decipher samples once thought to be unsolvable. The Sun reported Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry, had been hopeful that DNA-17 would finally provide an answer to what happened to their daughter. Dr Perlin has told Scotland Yard's Operation Grange his lab could resolve the samples for Mr and Mrs McCann for free and inside a week.




Apr 23, 2019



A remarkable pro bono offer to solve 18 DNA samples which could explain what happened to Madeleine McCann – first made in the nine.com.au podcast Maddie – has so far been met with deafening silence from UK police in charge of the years-long, $20m hunt for the missing girl. The London detective who heads up Operation Grange - DCI Nicola Wall – has not yet acknowledged correspondence from one of the world's top DNA scientists, weeks after she was informed how ground-breaking testing methods in the US could breathe new life into the cold case.



Nine.com.au has provided a series of forensic reports from the UK lab that tested the McCann samples in 2007, the Forensic Science Service (FSS), to top American scientist Dr Perlin for review. Asked what he had seen in that FSS documentation, Dr Perlin said: "What this report says is there is a possibility that Madeleine McCann's DNA is present in this mixture." Following an investigation by nine.com.au, Dr Perlin on April 5 sent a formal request to London Metropolitan Police’s DCI Wall to assist Operation Grange, the investigation she has led since 2014. DCI Wall, an experienced homicide investigator, has so far not responded to Dr Perlin. Despite several approaches from nine.com.au, DCI Wall has declined to explain why Dr Perlin appears to have been stonewalled by Scotland Yard.



Over the weekend, following revelations first aired in nine.com.au's podcast investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, an army of UK tabloids lined up to report on Dr Perlin's offer. In recent episodes of Maddie, multiple requests to Scotland Yard, the UK Home Office and the office of Prime Minister Theresa May to comment on Dr Perlin and the impact his work could have on the Madeleine mystery have all been refused.

Dr Perlin's Pittsburgh laboratory Cybergenetics has a proven history of helping police forces in Great Britain, with his team and technology contracted to assist UK law enforcement on various cases over the past 20 years. Dr Perlin has informed DCI Wall he will analyse the 18 McCann samples of interest for free, and that he could deliver the results back to Operation Grange in just one week.


The computational testing methods pioneered by Dr Perlin, known as TrueAllele, is far superior to the methods used in 2007 to analyse evidence from the McCann holiday apartment and a rental car. Dr Perlin told the podcast the 2007 testing methods at the FSS had "failed" in the McCann case, effectively closing off potentially important lines of inquiry. "Computers have no dog in the fight," Dr Perlin said, explaining how TrueAllele works. Cybergenetics only requires the archived DNA data from UK police, not the actual DNA samples. "If your goal is truth, and your goal is the best science, then there is really no excuse for not opening up the data for better analysis by better methods. "True Allele has been used successfully in England and Australia and Northern Ireland in cases like [the Madeleine McCann mystery] where there are complex mixtures and a small amount of DNA."


Dr Perlin said he would find it strange to not deploy hugely improved DNA technology to work on cold cases where there were "inconclusive" DNA samples waiting to be solved. "It would be as if you found some old tissue from a person's body from one hundred years ago and now we have better microscopes so we can analyse it with. And some governmental agency says, 'No, let's only use the methods from 100 years ago that we know don't work. They failed then, they can fail now. And better methods with stronger microscopes or electron microscopes that could answer the question that we have, let's not use them’."



Ten months after DCI Wall took over Operation Grange, the police investigation was drastically scaled back, with the number of officers on the team cut from 29 to four. The Home Office is currently considering a request from Operation Grange for further funding, believed to be £300,000, through to March 2020. Portuguese police had focused on the McCann hire car and certain areas inside the family's Algarve holiday apartment after intensive search work by two specialist British cadaver dogs, three months after Madeleine went missing. The two dogs had alerted inside the apartment, car and on several personal family possessions. Any alerts by cadaver dogs need to be corroborated by additional evidence, such as DNA.

 

By Mark Saunokonoko - Apr 30, 2019



A German paedophile who UK police are preparing to target as the man who abducted and possibly killed missing girl Madeleine McCann is not the real culprit, according to an explosive theory outlined by the Portuguese detective who once led the 2007 case. Goncalo Amaral made the allegation that the German child sex offender – who is known to authorities - would become the focus of Scotland Yard's investigation in a remarkable interview on Maddie, nine.com.au's podcast exploring the disappearance of Madeleine.



Mr Amaral led the Portuguese investigation into the Madeleine mystery for five months, from May 2007. He was removed from the case after he publicly criticised some lines of inquiry that UK detectives who arrived in Portugal just after Maddie vanished appeared interested in focusing on. Speaking exclusively with nine.com.au, Mr Amaral hit out at Operation Grange, the long-running $20m London Metropolitan Police search for Maddie. He alleged Operation Grange only had "one investigation line", and claimed it was blinkered to other possibilities about what may have happened in the resort where Madeleine was staying. "[Operation Grange detectives] are preparing the end of the investigation, with a German paedophile who is in prison right now," Mr Amaral said. "He is probably going to be the scapegoat for the case."



Scotland Yard's Operation Grange have remained very tight-lipped about its investigation, since launching in 2011. When contacted by nine.com.au, a Scotland Yard spokesperson said Operation Grange "would not be providing a running commentary" on the case. Mr Amaral said the German had lived in the Algarve. In Maddie, Mr Amaral talks more about the German child sex offender, and how he allegedly came to the attention of police. The interview with Mr Amaral, who has rarely made any English-speaking media appearances, will feature in episodes nine and 10 of Maddie. In 2008 Goncalo Amaral released The Truth of the Lie, documenting his five months leading the police investigation into Madeleine McCann's disappearance. The controversial book triggered a protracted and bitter legal battle with Kate and Gerry McCann.The 22-chapter work suggested a theory that Madeleine had died in apartment 5A, an abduction had been simulated and the three-year-old's body was somehow removed from the resort.




By Mark Saunokonoko - May 9, 2019



A contentious and unsettling dream Kate McCann allegedly had about Madeleine being lost somewhere on a hill disturbed a Portuguese detective to such an extent he described it as a "turning point" in the 2007 investigation.
Pas dérangé, mais au contraire informé que l'idée de MMC morte était entrée dans la tête de KMC.



Ricardo Paiva, a Policia Judiciaria detective who worked the original Madeleine case alongside Goncalo Amaral, gave testimony in 2013 2011 in a Lisbon court recounting how Kate telephoned him late one night, in a tearful and distraught state, telling him about the dream.

Pas dérangé, mais au contraire informé que l'idée de MMC morte était entrée dans la tête de KMC. 
But outside the Lisbon court, Gerry McCann contradicted the detective's claims and said Kate's dream had never happened. Mr Paiva had told the court how Portuguese police wondered if Mrs McCann and her dream was referring to a large black rock at the end of the beach in Praia da Luz, the Algarve town where Madeleine vanished in May 2007. "She said she had dreamt that Madeleine was on a hill and that we should search for her there," Mr Paiva told the court, according to translations. "She gave the impression that she thought she was dead – it was a turning point for us."



The map in this article shows the imposing black volcanic rock, known locally as Rocha Negra, at the eastern end of the town's long sandy beach on the Mediterranean. It also shows 'location one' and 'location two', which relate to a theory explored by criminal profiler Pat Brown, which can be heard in episode 10 of the Maddie podcast



Following Mrs McCann's phone call, police searched the Rocha Negra and surrounding area. They found nothing. The phone call about the dream was an issue of contention between the McCanns and the Portuguese police.




After Mr Paiva had given testimony, Mr McCann told reporters he refuted the suggestion Kate had ever dreamed about Madeleine lost on a rock. Mr McCann was not in Praia da Luz when Kate was said to have telephoned Mr Paiva. He had travelled to Washington DC to speak with media and meet officials from the National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children.

Other locations marked in the map are the street where the Smiths, an Irish family, crossed paths with a man carrying a child the night Madeleine vanished, and the McCann's holiday apartment.





May 9, 2019



A small black 'X' on a hand-drawn map indicates where a British man claimed he encountered Gerry McCann less than one hour before Madeleine was reported missing from her bedroom. The random meeting between Jeremy 'Jez' Wilkins and Mr McCann at about 9:10pm on May 3, 2007 was viewed by police as significant in terms of its timing and precise location. Mr Wilkins, a filmmaker from London, had got to know Mr McCann through playing tennis at the Ocean Club Resort, where both families had been staying on holiday. Gerry told police he'd bumped into Mr Wilkins just after he'd checked on Madeleine and his two other children sleeping in apartment 5A. The two men chatted on the quiet street for several minutes just outside the McCann's holiday apartment, according to police statements.



Police were interested in exactly where the two men had stood on that street because of a crucial statement by Jane Tanner. Mrs Tanner told police she had walked past the two men and witnessed an unknown man carrying a small child in pyjamas away from the direction of the McCann's apartment. Neither Mr Wilkins or Mr McCann saw Jane Tanner walk past or the potential abductor slink away with a child in his arms.

In a 16-page Portuguese police report released on September 10, 2007, just days after the McCanns were declared arguidos, Jane Tanner's account came under scrutiny, as detailed in Episode 10 of Maddie. Between the three people involved, there appeared to be some confusion over where the men were conversing on the street. Mrs Tanner's statement had underlined the abduction theory and set the direction of the initial police investigation. Her account had also placed Mr McCann on the road with Mr Wilkins at a time when his daughter was potentially being snatched from the apartment. Audio in an earlier episode of Maddie showed Mr McCann and Mrs Tanner had openly disagreed about which side of the road the men had been standing. Mrs Tanner said she saw the two men positioned close to a small metal side gate entrance to 5A. But Mr McCann refuted that, and claimed he and Mr Wilkins were on the opposite side of the narrow road. In the audio, from UK broadcaster Channel 4's 2009 documentary Madeleine Was Here, Mrs Tanner ends up crying following the conflicting accounts of where the men stood.




The video in this article highlights the path Mrs Tanner said she walked after leaving the tapas bar on May 3.

Four days after Madeleine disappeared, Mr Wilkins sat with detectives and gave a statement. He drew a map which showed police where he remembered he had met Gerry, stood and chatted for several minutes. The 'X' marked by Mr Wilkins was the same place Mrs Tanner claimed to have seen the men. Nine.com.au has repeatedly contacted Mr Wilkins and Mrs Tanner for comment but neither have responded.




May 11, 2019



Several months after Madeleine McCann vanished Portuguese police were trying to find a mystery apartment where the missing girl's body could have been hidden in a freezer, according to the detective who once led the 2007 investigation. Speaking on episode 10 of Maddie, nine.com.au's podcast series about Madeleine's disappearance, Goncalo Amaral described a line of inquiry his team was following when he was abruptly removed from the case, in October 2007.
"The team was looking for an apartment," Mr Amaral said, explaining police had been tipped off about the possible unusual development. A potential hypothesis was that Madeleine's body had been hidden in fridge or freezer in the apartment, somewhere in or around the holiday town of Praia da Luz.
"It is not impossible," Mr Amaral said. "It is a possibility that we were investigating."


But Mr Amaral said that lead was never fully investigated as his superiors removed him from the case, one month after Kate and Gerry McCann had been declared arguidos. Mr Amaral was replaced after he was quoted in a newspaper criticising the involvement of British police in the case. He claimed he was the victim of external political pressure being applied on the Policia Judiciaria. In episode 10 of the Maddie podcast, Mr Amaral also detailed another potential line of inquiry he believed was important. It involved the possibility of an international paedophile ring that may have links to people close to, or in contact with, the family.


The former Portuguese detective claimed police statements appeared to have been buried by UK police, an action he claimed impeded his team's work in this area. Les Gaspar Papers

He said in his opinion the team that was brought in to replace him appeared to be dedicated to shelving the McCann case. "They only had to go through the motions to achieve the archiving of the process," he said. Portuguese police eventually shelved the investigation in August 2008, with no arrests made, 14 months after Madeleine went missing.


Last week marked the 12th anniversary since Madeleine vanished while on holiday with her family. Mr and Mrs McCann believed a predator had been observing them while they ate dinner with friends at a tapas bar during their vacation, with the children left home alone in the apartment. They claimed a paedophile or child trafficker snatched Madeleine while she was sleeping.
Mr and Mrs McCann, both doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, have strenuously denied they were involved in the disappearance of their daughter, and nine.com.au does not suggest any involvement on their part.
Portuguese and British police have both conducted huge investigations which have so far failed to find the missing girl or arrest any suspects.
Madeleine would turn 16 in May this year



May 13, 2019

British police allegedly "concealed" statements in the Madeleine McCann case and impeded a line of inquiry into possible links to an international paedophile ring, according to allegations from the Portuguese detective who led the 2007 investigation. Ce sont les témoignages des Gaspar : propos rapportés compromettant David WP et Gerald MC.
Speaking in Episode 10 of Maddie, nine.com.au's podcast investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, Goncalo Amaral made a series of stunning claims in a rare interview with English-speaking media. Mr Amaral detailed a potential line of inquiry he believed may have helped work out what happened to Madeleine. It involved the possibility of an international paedophile ring that may have had links to people close to, or in contact with, the McCann family, without the McCanns' knowledge. He claimed some statements which may have been relevant to that line of inquiry had been initially withheld by British police, who at the time were working in tandem with the Portuguese.
The British authorities tried to conceal the statement and nothing was done about this statement, Mr Amaral said. They were not followed up. Nobody investigated anything related to them.
On n'en sait rien, tout ce qu'on sait est que ces témoignages, pertinents ou non pour l'affaire, n'ont pas été transmis à la PJ (mais à un OPJ par rapport à des documents qui ne sont pas dans les PJFiles mais sont évoqués dans un échange de courrier entre l'OPJ portugais et un collègue britannique). 
Mr Amaral alleged his team of detectives had asked British police for further information about a potential person of interest but were informed they held "absolutely nothing" of significance.
Il n'y a pas trace d'une telle demande dans les PJFiles. Du reste, à cette époque, GA ne coordonnait plus l'affaire.
"Of course … when the British police stated that they did not have any information, they already had the statements. So, there is this issue with the British police concealing information that they already had. When the statements finally arrived, they came mixed up with other papers.
Au pire on pourrait dire "omettre", "cacher" est une sur-intreprétation. Au milieu de la quantité de renseignements à trier, ces témoignages ont pu paraître des cancans sans pertinence.

Nine.com.au contacted the Leicestershire Police about the claims but was referred to Scotland Yard's Operation Grange. A Scotland Yard spokesperson declined to comment.

Further details about the explosive allegations from Mr Amaral are detailed in Episode 10 of Maddie, which charted at number 1 in the UK, Australia and New Zealand soon after its March release. Last weekend nine.com.au reported how Mr Amaral said his team of detectives had been searching for a mystery apartment where they believed Madeleine's body could have been temporarily hidden in a freezer. He said before that line of inquiry could be concluded he was removed from the case in October 2007. Mr Amaral was replaced after he was quoted in a newspaper criticising British police who were on the ground in Praia da Luz.
C'est dire clairement que GA a été écarté car il était l'homme qui en savait trop.

Kate and Gerry McCann, both doctors from Rothley, Leicestershire, have strenuously denied they were involved in the disappearance of their daughter, and nine.com.au does not suggest any involvement on their part.
Portuguese and British police have both conducted huge investigations which have so far failed to find the missing girl or arrest any suspects.