Disclaimer: With a verdict in the matter against anyone, in a state of law the presumption of innocence is in the foreground. This applies not only to the McCanns but to all those people accused during the still ongoing investigations.
The following reconstruction is thus no more or less just a possible(!) scenario constructed from the statements of the Tapas Group which are part of the official PJ files released on the 4th August 2008. What ultimately is the truth, or what will be considered to be the truth, can only be judged by an appropriate court. The following text is thus neither a judgement nor a conviction of anybody involved. It is a reconstruction based solely on already filed evidences fitted together in seemingly logical order. Owing to the lack of any confession, and this always means lack of some crucial knowledge, like in every trial based on evidence alone also other seemingly logical application of evidence may be made in objection. Which then has to be decided upon by law and logic and finally judged by a court.
The abduction theory states that Madeleine was abducted and possibly killed by one or more still unknown individuals. It states that the abductors and/or killers did not leave any accountable destruction at the location but entered and left, taking Maddie, dead or alive, away without being observed in the act. It states that the most promising suspect was the one observed by Jane Tanner around 21:15, shortly after Gerry McCann had seen his daughter for the last time. The seemingly similar sighting of an promising suspect was the Smiths Sighting around 22:00 which is up to date still the Number One suspect (1A,1B) of Operation Grange. But there were also some additional suspects (possible burglars and charity collectors) whose actions on the day(s) before the disappearance of Madeleine, arouse suspicions.
From this point of view the abduction must have happened between (1) the last witnessed sighting of Maddie and (2) the time when Kate McCann became aware of Madeleine missing.
The time (2) is 21:55 as testified by the Tapas Group when Kate went to apartment 5A and five minutes later at 22:00, returning back to the Tapas Bar, raised the alarm. From the statement of Gerry McCann one week later, the time (2) however, was 22:03 when Kate left and about 10 minutes later, i.e. at 22:13, raised the final alarm.
The time (1) also depends on dependent witnesses, so the McCanns testified leaving the apartment 5A at some minutes after 20:30. While in the Tapas Bar every couple of minutes one of the adults left the bar to check on the children in the different apartments. From the statements given Gerry McCann saw Maddie around 21:10 for the last time. Some minutes later, at about 21:25, Matthew Oldfield states that he checked Apartment 5A, but looked just into the children bedroom to watch if everything was quiet and was not sure if he saw Maddie.
From this statements of the Tapas Group the abduction and/or killing of Maddie must have been done between 21:10 and 21:55 (or up to 22:03 according to Gerry McCann's second statement). As there is up to date no immediate positive evidence for an abduction of Maddie by strangers, the construction of a possible scenario cannot be made just by connecting positive evidences together. Instead a plausible abduction scenario must have all the features that, which explains on one side the doing itself with the absent of immediate evidences while on the other side must explain as well the then still existing immediate positive evidences for the PJ-files based accidental killing theory through unlikely chance. This makes the window of logic for such a construction, although there are high imponderabilities and a lot of very different scenarios thinkable in principle as well, much smaller than may be thought at first sight.
From these main constraints the possibly scenario must have been as follows:
In the time between 21:10 to 22:00 at the latest the abductor must have entered the apartment. In principle he or they could have done this from the patio door at the pool side or through the front door or window at the car park side of the hotel. The patio door was allegedly closed but not locked, so that the McCanns could use the much shorter way through the back door to go into their apartment. The patio door could be reached via a small stairway with an additional gate from the side street. The patio door but was lit and could be viewed by everybody from the poolside and also from the Tapas Bar. The front door was at the dark street side covered by bushes and the dark car park in front of it, but it was locked and the shutters of the window were closed.
Thus a burglar seemingly would have to take the front door to enter and leave the apartment unseen. Doing the same at the patio door, especially leaving with a child in his arms, would have been easily been watched by witnesses, especially since some time is needed to go up and down with the captured girl via the small stairway with the additional gate in the illuminated environment. It has thus to be assumed that the much more hidden front door or window was used. The McCanns also alleged that the window was used for the abduction.
Climbing through the window however, is not that easy. First the burglar had to force the shutters away, which is possible but always leaves some damage, which could not be found. Also climbing through the window in the bedroom and carrying (the door was locked) the abducted child out through the same window would also leave damage and/or distortion to the furniture, which also couldn’t been observed. Thus one has to assume, that a professional burglar managed to open the front door with a professional pick-lock tool, or perhaps he had the apartment keys.
Now the burglar(s) is (are) in the apartment. What is his/their intention now? Robbery or an abduction. Robbery seemingly was not the case as no sign of that could be found. So we must assume his intention was to abduct a child for whatever reason. So he could have taken the sleeping child Maddie and took her away. He left again through the front door, and closed it again with the use of his pick-lock tool/key. Which is possible but only when at least two burglars were at the scene. Then he/they disappeared through the dark car park side unseen.
First: Why can we exclude a typical burglary?
This is due to the usual offender advance. A burglar always has two objectives: First to rob as much valuables as possible. These are easiest to carry and also easy y to sell, first of all cash but also electronic devices, cameras, jewellery and so on. The second objective of course is to not be watched or, in the worst case, to be caught red-handed.
For this burglars use a common tactic, which is simply speed. A break in thus takes usually no more than five minutes for a flat (and also for a typical family home not more than 10 minutes). The first thing a burglar does is watch for unguarded rooms and then will do a hit-and-run attack. The first thing of course is entering, in this case a typical holiday apartement. This indeed is no problem at all, even for an untrained burglar. There is no need for any professional tool except a large flat-ended screwdriver to open such unsecure doors. It usually takes not more than five seconds to do so with just some force applied. It is indeed faster than entering with the original key but always leaves some damage which cannot be missed later. The next thing then is searching for valuables in a very fast but systematic way. Which means opening roughly every possible place in the apartment where typically something valuable is hidden. Every victim of such an burglary knows the overall effect: Large distortion and damage too, the flat afterwards looks like if a bomb had exploded in it. Finally, after five minutes the whole thing is done and the burglars are somewhere else on their robbery tour.
As none of those typical signs could be observed, a ordinary burglary can be omitted for sure.
Second: A disturbed burglary?
For this one has to assume that the burglar(s) did not use their usual way to come in, but used for example the much more awkward entry through the window. Which is accompanied by much more noise and risk anyway. Although very untypical, this could have been done by forcing up the shutters, which can be done by using some force. This however would leave some typical damage to the shutters and their bearings, which could not be found. Next the entry, and even more so exiting through the window carrying a child is not easy and would have left at least some distortion in the childrens' bedroom, which had only a small space between the three beds. Distortion was also not observed.
However, although with very small possibility, we are dealing with very uncommon burglars. If Maddie were to wake up, what would they do? Usual burglars in such cases just leave the location and will continue their daily work simply somewhere else at another good location. Now let us assume, that Maddie cried and the burglar(s) killed her in a panic to stop her crying. Well this is a possible scenario, as the later found cadaver odour on Maddies toy Cuddle Cat implies that she indeed died in the apartment (the toy was obviously left in the apartment, while Maddie disappeared). But to take over so much cadaver odour means that the burglars had to wait now at least about half an hour while Maddie was dead holding her toy. Why should they risk being caught red-handed and charged with a lifetime sentence instead of now fleeing as fast and far away as possible? Even if they were so silly-headed, why would they now carry away Maddies dead body, whilst leaving all valuables there, and leave the same complicated way through the window carefully avoiding any damage or distortion? One may say that even for a dead body sometimes there is a chance to get a good ransom later from the parents. But besides this being a very unlikely scenario, there never was such a ransom demand.
Third: A well selected abduction by professional child dealers
This scenario is the most likely after the McCanns version of the event.
It implies that e.g. a child dealer gang first looked for a very special blond haired girl of Caucasian race, e.g. for some mandate by a still unknown client somewhere else. After watching the usual behaviour of the Tapas Group they may have come to the conclusion that between around 21:30 and 22:00 o'clock there should be a good occasion to catch the selected special girl. In this case first the oddities about entering and leaving the location are the same as in the first two scenarios. But let us assume they were the best professionals, e.g. some well educated former secret service employees now jobless, and could manage such things using picklock tools. The later found DNA and cadaver odour can then be explained like follows: The abductors' objective can be assumed to be taking Maddie away and then transport her by e.g. using a car to Albufeira harbour and transporting her with a yacht e.g. unseen in the dark to say Marocco. This means that the child has to be calm for at least some hours. Therefore, they give here an sedative, which in the case of a sleeping as well as for an unwilling individual is most easily done by an injection of e.g. valium. Indeed the danger of an allergic shock is much higher in the case of an injection than it is taking it orally.
Now it may happen exactly the same way as in the accidental killing theory: The abductors may take her out of her bed while she is still holding her cuddle cat and take here to the sofa in the living room to prepare her for transportation. But now she gets an allergic shock and dies within a minute. Now the well trained abductors may try to reanimate her, with as a shocking result the spots of body fluids at the wall behind the sofa. What shall they do now, perhaps flee? No, obviously now they clean up the spots on the wall and other possible traces of body fluids. Until then they hide the body in some furniture (where the cadaver odour later was found) and finally they leave cuddle cat and Maddie's contaminated clothes back in the apartment. After then, at least half an hour later, they take the dead body with them, to get e.g. a good ransom later from the parents. They leave as they have come in, not leaving any traces.
Remark: This however, seems a somewhat odd scenario: the whole time the abductor(s) risk to be caught red-handed and getting a lifetime sentence, without having got the achievement of an abduction in any way. Why now they don't take the other pretty girl in the same room, Amelie, Maddie's sister, and just leave as fast they can? Why not indeed take the younger and easier to handle girl which is also blonde and of caucasian race? But we may, in favour of this scenario, assume that they e.g. aimed to get a ransom in the future for the dead body, but later discarded this plan, as the large media attention developed. In any case the oddities with the DNA and Cadaver odour at several other places must also be explained, as well as the oddities resulting from the timeline-shift as well as the Smith’s sighting. Which could be explained then by pure chance, like for the DNA and Cadaver odour by a later contamination of those objects, following from the fact that the McCanns used well contaminated objects left in apartment 5A, like cuddle cat and her clothes, later on for memory reasons.
Remark: It must also taken into account that the McCann's at the beginning always insisted on the window's shutters would have been broken and the abductor came in there. As one commentator, Antony Sharples writing under the name John Blacksmith, percipiently →noted -“What must be appreciated, at this point, is that these comments, from closest family and friends - the first to be contacted, are not Chinese whispers. It is not a case that the McCanns rang one person, who got the message wrong, and this got passed on to everyone else. These are four people who received independent telephone calls from Gerry or Kate, in the hours following the 'abduction', and made independent statements. Yet, the statements all recount the same story. The McCanns' apartment was locked, so the 'abductor' must have gained access via the jemmied shutters and left via the front door.”
While the ongoing investigations showed that this for sure was not the fact, the MCann's altered this story more and more. In present time stories of former employees with copies of keys could have been the abductor(s) from that are not very reliable. Also those alleged type of burglars are at the best semi-professionels which express the typical burglars behaviour discussed above.
Azaria was an Australian baby girl who was killed by a in 1980 on a family camping trip. Initially, except some blood traces there was not much evidence and the parents were the only suspects available. Her parents, Lindy and Michael Chamberlain, but claimed that she had been taken from their tent by a dingo. However, Lindy was tried for murder and spent more than three years in prison. She finally but was released when a piece of Azaria's clothing was found near a dingo lair, and new inquests were opened. Well, such “Dingo”-cases are very rare, but sometimes they may happen. Of course in our case an animal as an abductor is out of question, as an animal, depart of the coming in and out to the apartment, always leaves behind a lot of typical traces in such unnatural environments. But a “Dingo” here may be seen as an analogy to seemingly “unthinkable” circumstances.
As being known from forensics (See →Necrophilia) in rare cases there exist perverts which are attracted not so much by living but by dead bodies.
So let us think “dingo”: Say, by construction, such a pervert now enters apartment 5A. Obviously he may be some of the very rare professional burglar leaving no traces like even small damages or distortion. Now he catches Maddie. What will he do next then? Usually one would say he will abduct her and do his bad pervert things somewhere else where he is secure to do so without being catch red-handed. As the later found traces but show that Maddie died in the apartment, we now may suggest that, as he is in a state of severe sexual enragement, seemingly cannot wait to do his ugly thing. He thus may have killed and eventually rapes the victim in situ. After that hardly to understand event, now what should he do next? The best of course should be fleeing to not being catched red-handed. But he, as a very professional, decides to clean up all the traces of his deed, like cleaning blood and body fluids spread around, while for the meantime he coveres Maddie in a compartment. While all the time Maddie is holding Cuddle Cat in her arms, such that this toy will be contaminated with cadaver odour later. All this but can have taken about ½ hour maximum in favour of believing the Tapas Group second(!) written timeline. Some minutes before Kate comes in, he will leave the apartment abducting the dead body. This odd thing doing, as he may pervertly think that he can do those bad things some times more, say later at his home, again. Before leaving he but takes Cuddle Cat out of Maddies arms and deposits it in the Apartment, (why?) say as his kind of perverted „visiting card“. When leaving then, he again does this in a very professional way leaving no obvious traces, e.g. by climbing the very uncomfortable way through the window or closing the entrance door again with great care e.g. using his pick-lock tool.
After the forensic evidences, if one concentrates on the apartment 5A solely, something like such a odd thing could be a compelling scenario.
See also the very odd case of the →Disappearance of Joana Cipriano and remarks by →Mark Williams-Thomas, investigative journalist and former policeman best known for exposing →Jimmy Savile as a paedophile.
Extract: “The village of Figueira is only seven miles from Praia da Luz, where Madeleine McCann disappeared on 3 May 2007. In both cases the mothers launched campaigns to find their daughters and in both cases the local Polícia Judiciária investigated the possibility that the mothers had killed their daughters. A child protection specialist, Mark Williams-Thomas, who believes that Joana's and Madeleine's disappearances are related, said that the disappearance of two children unknown to each other, within a period of four years in a seven-mile radius, would be a huge coincidence, especially considering that Portugal is a small country with few abductions. Before Joana's disappearance, the previous first-degree murder of a child in the Algarve region was in November 1990 and involved a British girl, nine-year-old Rachel Charles, who was abducted and murdered in Albufeira. Her body was found three days later; a British mechanic, Michael Cook, a friend of the family, was arrested and convicted. Leandro Silva, the common-law husband of Leonor Cipriano, said in 2007 that “the only difference between the McCanns and us is that we don't have money.””
Remark: But it leaves a lot of oddities behind too. So even that half an hour is usually not enough to produce enough cadaver odour for the comtamination found later, it doesn’t explain why the Tapas Group obviously had an interest in manipulating the timeline and so on. Also the typical criminal profile of sexual offenders doesn’t fit very well here. Sexual offenders are usually very much fixed on their sexual gaol and thus behave excited and unprofessional regarding the possibility of leaving traces. Especially things mostly get even worse after the have achieved their first goal. When after the deed coming down such offenders get usually severely stressed and even depressed. Then such offenders also won’t get the needed coolness to destroy all traces carefully. Especially if knowing that there is very short time available, and that he can be seen every second especially through the vitreous patio door thus always being in danger to be kept red handed.
What then finally should be judged by a fair court. It must but be stressed, that still to date there is no special immediate evidence for this version. This does not coactively mean that this version cannot be true. But anyway an explanation for this version must always be seen as coincidence with other facts and evidences of the whole case which mostly are fixed in the PJ-files. There are indeed great oddities that wait to be reasonably explained.