Just five hours in May

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann?

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The Burke-Sighting

George Burke, from Liverpool, was driving home from nearby Lagos around 5:55 am on early morning the 4th May 2007. He caught two people in his car headlights carying a child. In an Interview he stated ( see more at →McCannFiles)

“I couldn't see them clearly because it was dark and windy. They scurried down a side road and out of sight. It was very, very dark and it was hard to make out exactly what the couple looked like. But through the gloom I could see a very suspicious-looking man and woman, with a child who fitted Madeleine's description. Though there was nobody else on the road, they were hurrying across a road that leads straight to the train station and marina. They were trying to carry the kid without anyone seeing..

Michael Wright is a close family relative and immediatly was called by Gerry to help the McCann's in PdL. Just two days later Michael Wright by pure chance got knowledge of the Burke-Sighting. But he didn't officially report the George-Burke-Sighting. Not before in his statement to Leicestershire Police in 2008, →where he stated:

“As for additional information I would like to add that on Sunday, 6 May I went to the pizzaria in PdL and bought a large quantity of pizzas. I was attended by a girl from Liverpool. I explained to her my relationship to the McCanns and she told me that her father ‘George’ had seen a man carrying a child in his arms in the early morning of 4 May in the resort. I asked her if her father would speak about this to the Portuguese authorities. I don’t know if the information was ever investigated.”

source: McCannFiles - Burke-Sighting

The McCanns but then were seen an hour later by police witnesses around 7:00 o'clock in the morning GNR Officer Paolo Jorge Fernandes Neto “…He remembers that he saw the McCann couple at about 07.00 alone in the street next to the site where they were stationed…”) in PdL just coming back from “searching for Maddie”, returning from anywhere unknown.

On →Steel Magnolia (Jan. 7, 2012) we can find the following information:

The pizza girl: During this time, on 6th May, Michael Wright says he met a girl from Liverpool. He says he bought a large quantity of pizzas from a ‘pizza shack’ on the beach of Praia da Luz; the girl serving the pizzas was from Liverpool. She apparently told him that her father, known as ‘George B’, had seen a man carrying child during the very early hours of 4th May in the resort, the day after Madeleine ‘went missing’. Michael Wright apparently didn’t know if ‘George’ had been spoken to by authorities. This possible ‘sighting’ of Madeleine was for some reason never mentioned by the McCanns…As Michael Wright was advised by the girl of this ‘sighting’, did he run and tell the McCanns? - and did the McCanns then contact the police? Let us look at this another way. Suppose you're out there helping your close relations Kate and Gerry after the tragic abduction of their daughter. You go down to the beach on Sunday - just three days later - and go and get some pizzas. The girl there tells you that her father saw someone carrying a young girl on the night of 3rd/4th May. So - what do you do? You might, for example: (a) immediately ’phone Kate and Gerry to and tell them of the lead, or (b) contact the Portuguese police immediately, or © contact the UK Police immediately, or (d) ask the girl to make contact with the father so you can speak to him? But - no. Apparently Michael Wright does none of these things. He did nothing and apparently only mentions it to the police months later…. ”

This event is seemingly but also sustained by Witness statement of Yvonne Warren Martin:

  • On May 04, 2007, at around 07H00 she heard about the disappearance of an English girl from Praia da Luz, Lagos, from Sky News or BBC.
  • Having worked for 25 years in the area of child protection, she felt obliged to offer help to her compatriots and went to Praia da Luz.
  • At around 09H00, she met the McCann couple next to the apartment from where the child had disappeared, accompanied by a third person, a male, who seemed quite familiar to her.
  • This third person of the group appeared to be an intimate (friend) of the family…
  • She identified herself and presented her credentials and immediately began talking to the mother of the missing child as she was visibly upset with the situation.
  • During the conversation the mother told her that she did not understand why a couple had abducted her daughter.
  • However, the third individual overheard this conversation and interrupted Ms. Martin and took the McCann couple away from her.
  • This same individual came shortly afterwards to tell her that the couple did not want to talk to her any further and did not require her help - an action that appeared quite strange to her.

Also interesting in this circumstances is the witness testimony of Father →Peter Neal Patterson:

“As regards the questions, I can offer the following information: I became known Kate and Gerry since 2002. My wife (Bridget) and Kate both trained in general medicine and have become good friends. We have also learnt that Kate attended the same university we did in Dundee even though she was not there when we attended. My wife faced some clinical problems (a miscarriage and an ectopic/tubal pregnancy). We discovered after that Kate and Gerry were also having problems conceiving. This brought Bridget and Kate even closer. This occurred in mid-2002. I believe that we tried to get pregnant five years ago. Suddenly Kate became pregnant with Madeleine and my wife and I had our first child, a boy, who was born after Madeleine's birth. Later Kate again became pregnant with Sean and Amelie. Our youngest son was born nine months ago today…..We caught a flight to faro on Tuesday, the 08th of may 2007. We did this in the hopes of offering our help and support and to do something other than just sit at home watching from afar. My wife sent a text message to Kate telling her of our flight. We reached Praia da Luz around 11 or 11:30 that morning…..On Friday the 11th of May 2007 we heard rumours that the Portuguese were going to stop the searches. After having passed this information to Kate we met up in the Tapas bar in the resort between 9:30 and 9:45 in the morning…..I encouraged Kate to read Psalms X and XX of the Old Testament as I felt these were relevant to her. They are both believers. The Psalms reveal a confidence in God, in his justice and in the question which can be asked ?Why do bad things happen?. Psalms XX is a small oration asking Him to guide and illuminate our path in times of anguish. The passage which is marked in my wifes bible I believe is Samuel 2:12. This passage is very significant for me and my wife but likely has so significance for Kate. I interpret this passage as saying that even though we cannot be with the two children that we have no lost, we will find them one day… Kate asked me to pray at the Marina, which I did, a number of times during the week. I returned home on Sunday, 13th of May, 2007, leaving from Faro at 9:30.”


The Kate-Yvonne W.M.- meeting took place actually just 3 hours after Burke's sighting of the couple at the marina. This story was built up later to the so called “Mystery Couple” allegedly having looked after Maddie as early as 2nd May, see e.g. tabloidExaminer: Do Maddie McCann's parents know so called "Mystery-Couple"?.

See also the possible significance of the Burke-Sighting related to the open question Where is Maddie?, chapter mid-term occultation.