Just five hours in May

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann?

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Criminal Statistics

Remark: For Germany (82 Mio. Inhabitants) the average case numbers are about 200 killings of childs through maltreatment by parents/year and in average about 10 killings of childs by offenders in connection with sexual abuse per year. From this follows a percentage of about 95% of killings through parents/relatives. Also the 10 killings resulting from sexual abuse offenders are mostly killings done by people close to the victim. In average thus not much more than 1% of such cases are related to offenders with not any connections to the victim.

wikipedia →Crime_statistics_in_the_United_Kingdom

see e.g. Goncalo Amaral's book, →chapter 16: “We officially request the help of the best experts in criminology and forensics but also the specialist dog team from the English police. A few days later, we welcome Mark Harrison, a specialist in murder, and the search for missing persons and victims of natural disasters. National advisor to the British police, he is well known for his exceptional professional experience. He has already participated in dozens of international criminal investigations…..Great Britain has at its disposal the world's biggest data bank on homicide of children under five years old. Since 1960, the count is 1528. Harrison is well acquainted with its contents. He often draws information from there which helps him to resolve similar cases. Valuable information can be found there on on various criminal modus operandi, places where bodies are hidden, techniques used to get rid of a body. He relates that on one occasion, thanks to the data, he was able to deduce the maximum distance a body might be found in relation to where the crime had been committed. The figures quoted in the report he hands over give us the shivers. The crimes, including those of a sexual nature, are committed by the parents in 84% of cases; 96% are perpetrated by friends and relatives. In only 4% of them is the murderer or abductor a total stranger to the victim. In this roundabout way, Mark Harrison points out that the guilty party may be a person close to Madeleine, and even her own parents. From now on, we have to explore this track, especially as the others have proved fruitless.”

Citation from Tony Bennet's booklet, written in 2008:

1. ‘Stranger’ abductions of an infant from a family home almost never happen. In such cases of ‘missing’ young children, we always need to examine whether the family may be involved.

Sadly, throughout the world, every year, many infants and young children die in their own homes, due to accident, neglect, negligence or a deliberate act. In some  cases, especially where very young children are concerned, parents decide to hide the body, claiming their child has been abducted. Statistics have been kept in some countries about the proportion of alleged ‘stranger’ abductions of an infant from a family’s home (or from a temporary residence elsewhere, such as being on holiday). They show that in the vast majority of cases of so-called ‘stranger abductions’ of infants from a family home, it later turns out - when the full facts emerge - that a member of child’s family has been involved in the child’s death, having tried to cover it up by falsely claiming their child had been abducted.

In 2007, for example, there was the case of two-year-old ‘Baby Grace’, whose body was found battered and decomposing in a plastic box on sand dunes near Galveston, on the Gulf Coast of the U.S.A.  Eventually, DNA tests linked the body to parents in the U.S. who, months earlier, had told police that their baby had been abducted, sparking a massive nationwide search. Then there was the case of the dead baby found by police hidden in the attic of a couple’s home. Once again, the guilty parents had falsely claimed their baby had been abducted.

More recently, in the U.S., the mother of two year-old →Caylee Anthony reported her as missing - a month after she had ‘disappeared’. But forensic evidence now suggests that Caylee died at her mother’s home in suspicious circumstances. And as we were preparing the final draft of our booklet, six-year-old Antoine de B ‘went missing’ in mid-France, the mother and her new partner claiming he’d wandered off whilst they were dining at a nearby restaurant. But forensic evidence being yielded as we go to press suggests he was killed in his own home.

Now, the above statistics and case examples do not in any way prove that the McCanns were involved in Madeleine’s death, nor that they - like many other parents before them have done - have cunningly made up an abduction ‘cover story’.

But what we do say, and what the statistics tell us, is that wherever a parent claims that a complete stranger has lifted their infant child from their home and taken the child away, we should immediately view their claim with grave suspicion. We need to examine their claim, test it, check it out. Which of course is what the Portuguese police have also tried to do in this case. We need to see what positive evidence, if any, there is that Madeleine was abducted. We also need to see if there is evidence that may point in another direction - for example, the possible involvement of the parents. Since the reports of Madeleine going ‘missing’, the media have frequently highlighted how many children go missing every year.  We concede that there are, certainly, occasional cases of ‘stranger abductions’.

However, the vast majority of cases of missing or ‘abducted’ children usually fall into one of the following two categories:

  1. teenage children who run away from their parents, and
  2. children snatched by a former spouse or partner during custody disputes

A very small number of children are also:

  1. snatched by stranger abductors whilst outdoors and away from their homes (think for example of →Sarah Payne and →the Soham girls Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman),
  2. and an even smaller number are snatched by child traffickers whilst outdoors and away from their homes (though this phenomenon is not known to occur in western Europe).
  3. Then, in addition, there are very occasional instances of babies snatched from hospital or other public places by mothers desperate to have a baby.

But we repeat - and this is most important: In cases where parents of infant children claim that their children have been abducted from their family homes (or from a temporary residence elsewhere such as a holiday hotel or caravan), in nearly every case, it turns out that the child has died in the family home, due to an accident, neglect, negligence or a deliberate act. In these circumstances, it is usually a member of the child’s own family, or extended family, or a friend known to the family, who is responsible for that death. Hundreds of examples of such cases have occurred in recent years alone.

In the U.S., following the abduction of a child called Megan by a known paedophile, ‘Megan’s Law’ was passed, which provides for parents to be informed if a known sex offender is living in their area. But in the U.K., the Children’s Commissioner said: “We are concerned that a version of Megan’s Law could detract from the fact that children are actually most at risk from people known to them”.