A detailed look at the disappearance of 3-year-old Madeleine McCann, who vanished while on holiday with her family. The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann. Only on Netflix March 15th.
Madeleine was on holiday from the UK with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann; her two-year-old twin siblings; and a group of family friends and their children. She and the twins had been left asleep at 20:30 in the ground-floor apartment, while the McCanns and friends dined in a restaurant 55 metres (180 ft) away. The parents checked on the children throughout the evening, until Madeleine’s mother discovered she was missing at 22:00. Over the following weeks, particularly after misinterpreting a British DNA analysis, the Portuguese police came to believe that Madeleine had died in an accident in the apartment and that her parents had covered it up. The McCanns were given arguido (suspect) status in September 2007, which was lifted when Portugal’s attorney general archived the case in July 2008 because of a lack of evidence.
The parents continued the investigation using private detectives until Scotland Yard opened its own inquiry, Operation Grange, in 2011. The senior investigating officer announced that he was treating the disappearance as “a criminal act by a stranger”, most likely a planned abduction or burglary gone wrong. In 2013, Scotland Yard released e-fit images of men they wanted to trace, including one of a man seen carrying a child toward the beach that night. Shortly after this, the Portuguese police reopened their inquiry. Operation Grange was scaled back in 2015, but the remaining detectives continued to pursue a small number of inquiries described in April 2017 as significant.
The disappearance attracted sustained international interest and saturation coverage in the UK reminiscent of the death of Diana in 1997. The McCanns were subjected to intense scrutiny and baseless allegations of involvement in their daughter’s death,particularly in the tabloid press and on Twitter. In 2008 they and their travelling companions received damages and apologies from Express Newspapers, and in 2011 the McCanns testified before the Leveson Inquiry into British press misconduct, lending support to those arguing for tighter press regulation.
The statement from the McCanns, who declined an invitation from producers Pulse Films to be interviewed for the documentary, also explained that the family could “not see how this programme will help the search for Madeleine”. The couple also noted that their “views and preferences” were not reflected in the series.