On May 3, 2007, Madeleine McCann was abducted from her parents’ apartment room during a family vacation in Praia da Luz, Portugal. She was just three years old at the time, and despite her family’s multiple attempts at finding her, cryptic details about her disappearance keep leading investigators to a dead end.
Over the last 12 years, there have been countless conspiracy theories about Madeleine’s disappearance, one of them being that the toddler accidentally died in the room, and her mother and father, Kate and Gerry, covered it up by disposing of her body and faking her abduction. Other theories are that the charismatic little girl was taken by a pedophile gang or a local criminal.
In an Investigation Discovery docuseries of the case, experts reveal new details about the moment Madeleine’s distraught parents realized she was gone.
At about 10:00 p.m. on that dreadful day, Kate walked into the room where her children were sleeping and found a window open, and Madeleine’s bed empty. Hysterical, the mother of three alerted authorities as she, her husband, and their friends, racked their brains trying to remember everyone they had seen and interacted with that day.
The couple had been dining with pals at a restaurant near the apartment building when the alleged abduction occurred.
Jane Tanner — a McCann family friend who was on the trip with them — told police about a strange encounter she had on the night of Madeleine’s disappearance.
At around 9:20 p.m., Jane said she went to check up on her own children, who were also in a room sleeping. As she went up the road, she saw a man carrying a young girl dressed in pink pajamas. He was walking away from the apartment block.
“The man looked strange to her in that he didn’t look like a tourist,” explains a woman in the docuseries. “He had dark hair and he was dressed in jacket and trousers. The child, on the other hand, wasn’t well-dressed, was barefoot. It did seem to be a little girl, probably of about three or four.”
According to another speaker in the docuseries, “She had pink pajamas on, and at the ankle of the pajamas there was a little frill. These sound like the pajamas that Madeleine McCann was wearing.”
A police investigation is still ongoing.