"The Mark Warner nannies brought the children to the Tapas restaurant to have tea at the end of each day. It was a friendly gathering. The parents would stand and chat by the pool. We talked about the children, about what we did at home. We were hopeful about a change in the weather. We eyed our children as they played. We didn't see anyone watching.
Some of the parents were in a larger group. Most of them worked for the NHS and had met many years before in Leicestershire. Now they lived in different parts of the UK, and this holiday was their opportunity to catch up, to introduce their children, to reunite. They booked a large table every night in the Tapas. We called them "the Doctors". Sometimes we would sit out on our balcony and their laughter would float up around us. One man was the joker. He had a loud Glaswegian accent. He was Gerry McCann. He played tennis with Jes.
We had booked a table for two at Tapas and were placed next to the Doctors' regular table. One by one, they started to arrive. The men came first. Gerry McCann started chatting across to Jes about tennis. Gerry was outgoing, a wisecracker, but considerate and kind, and he invited us to join them. We discussed the children. He told us they were leaving theirs sleeping in the apartments. While they chatted on, I ruminated on the pros and cons of this. I admired them, in a way, for not being paranoid parents, but I decided that our apartment was too far off even to contemplate it. Our baby was too young and I would worry about them waking up.
My phone rang as our food arrived; our baby had woken up. I walked the round trip to collect him from the kiddie club, then back to the restaurant. He kept crying and eventually we left our meal unfinished and walked back again to the club to fetch our sleeping daughter. Jes carried her home in a blanket. The next night we stayed in. It was Thursday, May 3.
Earlier that day there had been tennis lessons for the children, with some of the parents watching proudly as their girls ran across the court chasing tennis balls. They took photos. Madeleine must have been there, but I couldn't distinguish her from the others. They all looked the same - all blonde, all pink and pretty.
In early September, Kate and Gerry became official suspects. Their warm tide of support turned decidedly cool. Had they cruelly conned us all? The public needed to know, and who had seen Gerry at around 9pm on the fateful night? Jes.
Tonight with Trevor McDonald, GMTV, the Sun, the News of the World, the Sunday Mirror, the Daily Express, the Evening Standard and the Independent on Sunday began calling. Jes's office stopped putting through calls from people asking to speak to "Jeremy" (only his grandmother calls him that). Some emails told him that he would be "better off" if he spoke to them or he would "regret it" if he didn't, implying that it was in his interest to defend himself - they didn't say what from
Kate and Gerry McCann leave their daughter Madeleine and her brother and sister, twins aged 2, in bed in their apartment while they have dinner at a nearby restaurant. The girl goes missing from her bedroom between 9:30 and 10 p.m. while her parents Kate and Gerry are dining just 100 yards away at the Mark Warner Ocean Club holiday resort in Praia da Luz. A window and shutter are open and she is presumed to have been abducted.
Initial search sniffer dogs 4.30 am McCann family members and British media criticise local police for what they call a slow initial response, failure to notify ports and borders in time, and failure to secure the crime scene, which may have led to vital clues being lost. Border police, the Spanish authorities and airports are notified. Volunteer teams continue to comb the village, resort and beach for clues. Police say that under Portuguese secrecy laws they are unable to reveal details of the investigation. Sniffer dogs are brought in, the Spanish and border police and airports are notified and volunteer teams continue to comb the village, resort and beach for clues. Fears grow that Madeleine has been taken against her will and her parents accuse the Portuguese police of not doing enough to find her. The Policia Judiciaria - the Portuguese CID - refuses to comment on the investigation into the girl's disappearance. Relatives including Madeleine's grandparents start flying out to Portugal to offer support to her parents as they continue to wait for news. The British Ambassador to Portugal, John Stephen Buck, and director of Mark Warner UK Operations Craig Mayhew also travel to the Algarve. The McCanns later make an emotional plea, directly addressing their daughter's abductors, and speak of their "anguish and despair". With his wife at his side clutching Madeleine's favourite teddy, Mr McCann asks: "Please, if you have Madeleine, let her come home to her Mummy, Daddy, brother and sister."
Police say they have put together a sketch of a suspect and confirm they believe Madeleine is still alive and being held within three miles of the crime scene. Media reports say the sketch is vague and only features the back of a man's head. Sketch kept secret for safety of M Three Family Liaison Officers (FLO) from Leicestershire Police arrive in Portugal to support the family. Madeleine's aunt Philomena McCann criticises the Portuguese police, claiming they had played down her disappearance and were being "uncommunicative". Detectives reveal they do now believe she was abducted but is still alive and in Portugal, and say they have a sketch of a "suspect". Police also reveal they are considering she might have been abducted for sexual abuse. Mr McCann makes a fresh appeal for help and thanks the police for their efforts. A colleague of Madeleine's mother offers a £100,000 reward for help in finding the missing girl.
Mum Kate weeps at church service. The McCanns attend an emotional Mother's Day service in Praia Da Luz and prayers are said for Madeleine and her family in both Portuguese and English. Mrs McCann then breaks down with emotion as she addresses reporters to express her gratitude for the local community's support. Questions arise about the police's sketch of a "suspect" with one newspaper reporting the image is based only on the rear view of a man seen with a child in the area.
Kate McCann makes an emotional appeal for her daughter's safe return. Police begin investigating a claim a man was seen dragging a girl towards a marina a short drive from the Portuguese resort where she went missing. Portuguese media later report that police think the abductor may have been British but this remains unconfirmed by officers involved in the investigation. Mrs McCann makes another personal plea to anyone holding her daughter, saying: "Please, please do not hurt her. Please do not scare her. Please let us know where to find Madeleine or put her in a place of safety and tell somebody where." Portuguese police later hold a chaotic press conference where they say they cannot give Madeleine's family any firm assurance that she is still alive or still in the region.
Police say they have investigated 350 suspicious incidents but still have no idea where she might be. Portuguese newspaper Correio de Manha says Madeleine may have been kidnapped by a paedophile ring. Two criminal behaviour experts fly in from Britain. Portuguese reports claim detectives are investigating British paedophiles with links to the Algarve.
Abandoned warehouse near appt searched by rangers Police examine a CCTV tape from a service station a few miles from Praia da Luz, showing a woman with a girl fitting Madeleine's description. An internet appeal in English, Portuguese and Spanish is launched while Crimestoppers also creates an international number for people with information.
Police release pics of pjs The search around the resort winds down. Attention focuses on a blonde woman seen acting suspiciously before the girl's disappearance. Reports say police are investigating the possibility that Madeleine was snatched by a group of three - two men and a woman. The footage from the petrol station is also described as possibly holding the "key" to the investigation. Police say in a press conference that the search for Madeleine is being wound down. They also issue an image of a pair of pyjamas identical to those which Madeleine had been wearing when she disappeared. It is thought the McCanns may have been shown pictures of two suspects during a visit to a police station in Portimao. Four other people, believed to be friends of the McCanns, are also questioned.
TV appeal in Spain and UK by David Beckham Scottish businessman Stephen Winyard offers a one million pound reward. Three British people are believed to have been taken in by police for questioning. It is believed they are potential witnesses rather than suspects.
Madeleine 4th bday
Virgin boss Richard Branson, author J.K. Rowling and footballer Wayne Rooney are among those to have contributed to rewards now totalling 2.5 million pounds. It emerges London lawyers from the International Family Law Group have flown out to Portugal to assist Gerry and Kate McCann, and are setting up a special "fighting fund" to allow members of the public to make their own financial contribution to the search.
Police search a villa just up the road (160 yards) from where Madeleine was snatched and take a British man, Robert Murat, to a police station for questioning. He is later released.
Murat denies involvement "Ive been made a scapegoat" Police say they have identified a suspect but do not have enough evidence for an arrest. Five properties have been searched in the area, and two other people questioned as witnesses.
Serg Malinka questioned - computers taken Portuguese police interview a computer technician as a witness, identified by local media as a Russian man, and take away computers for examination. Family sets up public appeal fund.
Malinka denies involvement but wont talk about calls to Murat Web site, www.findmadeleine.com, is launched.
Blonde tot in pyjamas sighted in Marrakech.A Norwegian tourist has told police she is 99.9% sure she saw the four-year-old girl there, wearing pyjamas. A little blonde youngster was spotted with a man at a petrol station in the city-and was said to have looked sad as she asked him: "Can I see mummy soon?" Appeals are broadcast at the F.A. Cup final at the new Wembley stadium.
Gerry McCann returns to England for the first time to sort out personal affairs. He says he couldn't bear to stay at his own house.
Gerry back in portugal
Family release last known photograph of Madeleine, taken about eight hours before her disappearance.
Gerry and Kate McCann speak of their guilt, but vow they will never abandon search for Madeleine, during their first formal TV interviews. Police appeal for information about a possible suspect -- a white man, aged between 35 and 40, who was spotted near to where Madeleine disappeared carrying something that looked like a small child on the night she went missing.
Further photo releaased
Mobile phone video released
Parents meet Pope
Photos released of view from Apartment to Tapas Bar
Press/tv conference in Madrid, Spain
A mystery sample of DNA has been found in the bedroom where Madeleine McCann was abducted, according to reports. Portuguese newspaper 24 Horas claimed the DNA does not match that of Mr and Mrs McCann or their three children. Neither does the DNA match that of the only named suspect in the case, property developer Robert Murat, the paper said.
The hunt switched back to Morocco yesterday after British spies tapped into mobile phone conversations in Arabic referring to the little blonde girl. The calls on a Spanish pay-as-you-go phone also referred to parents Kate and Gerry McCann meeting the Pope last week. Intelligence officers at the Government's GCHQ spy centre in Cheltenham who scan chats for key words also heard references to a German man, and a ferry from Tarifa in Spain.
McCanns appear on Crimewatch on BBC1 then fly to Berlin. They will then continue on to the Netherlands.Police admit DNA testing blunder. Murat is asked to provide another sample.
McCanns attend a press conference on German TV.During a press conference, Sabina Mueller from German Radio asked: "How do you feel about the fact that more and more people seem to be pointing the finger at you, at you, saying the way you behave is not the way people would normally behave when their child is abducted and they seem to imply that you might have something to do with it?" Gerry McCann said: "There is absolutely no way Kate and I are involved in this abduction.A mystery phone call came from a man claiming to know the whereabouts of Madeleine. The caller provided such detail that Kate and Gerry McCann put their European search for their daughter on hold in case they needed to act. The "credible" call was taken from a man who wanted to speak directly to the McCanns, according to a Spanish police source. It was traced to an unregistered pay-as-you-go phone from an unidentified country but not thought to be Morocco. The caller did not reveal his identity or nationality,
McCanns arrive in Amsterdam.They have friends in the city who have already began publicizing Madeleine's dissappearance.They hold a Press Conference
McCanns arrive back in Portugal.They will stay till the weekend when they will fly on to Morocco. A Spanish police spokesman described the report of the phone call from yesterday as "a lie". "All I can say is that it is a lie," a spokesman told The Associated Press. "I don't know where this came from but the police have no record of this call anywhere." Mr McCann has dismissed the call earlier as "nothing of interest".
THE parents of missing Madeleine McCann were in torment last night after cops started searching an alleged burial site.Officers in Portugal were taking seriously a letter and map claiming to show where her body could be found.Police received the information from Dutch authorities after it was sent anonymously to newspaper De Telegraaf, in Amsterdam.The letter was the second of its kind the paper had received.
THE parents of missing Madeleine McCann reacted angrily yesterday after an anonymous tip from a psychic sparked a hunt for their girl's body.A Dutch newspaper received the unsigned letter claiming Maddie, four, was buried in a shallow grave ten miles from where she was snatched in Praia da Luz, Portugal.Police received the information from Dutch authorities after it was sent anonymously to newspaper De Telegraaf, in Amsterdam.More than 30 different media organisations are now in the area along with a British "crime enthusiast" accompanied by a sniffer dog.
Madeleine searches find nothing.A police search of scrubland in response to an anonymous letter about Madeleine McCann finds no evidence.
THE apartment where Madeleine McCann was snatched has been sold for HALF PRICE.The two-bed flat went for just £74,000 when the market rate for similar properties is £150,000.
POLICE last night had a new lead in the search for missing Madeleine McCann that gipsies may have snatched her.A holidaymaker revealed he spotted a fair-skinned little blonde girl in the back of a horse-drawn cart three weeks ago.Retired pilot Andre van Wyk, 66, told how a woman in the cart quickly covered the sleeping youngster's face with a shawl.He was so suspicious he trailed the cart to a gipsy camp ten miles from where Maddie, four, vanished 48 days ago in Portugal's Algarve.Last night Van Wyk told The Sun: "I followed it to what looked like a gipsy camp next to the old bridge at Portimao.
A BRITISH tourist told last night how he saw a child resembling Maddie McCann in Malta and heard an Arab-looking man tell her in English: "Get up, little girl."Ray Roberts, 49, was in Sliema when he saw the girl wearing what appeared to be a jet black wig.
POLICE searching for Madeleine McCann last night revealed there had been 14 reported sightings of her in Malta.Officers said the first was almost a MONTH ago, and just one of the sightings has so far been ruled out.Their probe began when a Maltese woman contacted them on May 27, convinced she had seen four-year-old Maddie with a man in the capital Valletta.
THOUSANDS of balloons were released across the world yesterday to mark 50 days since Madeleine McCann went missing.Parents Kate and Gerry led the way by launching 50 yellow and green balloons on the beach at Praia da Luz, the Portuguese resort where their daughter was snatched.
Lisbon - Portuguese police have questioned a Spanish journalist who claims to have identified the abductor of four-year- old British girl Madeleine McCann, media reported Thursday. Madeleine was snatched from her bed in the holiday resort of Praia da Luz in the southern Algarve region on May 3 while her parents were dining in a nearby restaurant. Journalist Antonio Toscano travelled to the Algarve to inform police about his private investigation on Wednesday.Toscano told journalists he was convinced that Madeleine was kidnapped by a paedophile known as The Frenchman, blond and about 50 years old, who belongs to an international paedophile network.
Three more sightings of missing British girl Madeleine McCann were reported to the police yesterday.The police received reports that the girl, who went missing in Portugal nearly two months ago, had been seen in Valletta, Sliema and St Julian's.
British sniffer dogs fly out to Portugal. Keela, who can detect minute quantities of blood, and Eddie, who is trained to detect dead bodies, work in the apartment and several cars, including the hire car the McCanns rented 25 days after Madeleine disappeared.
Police fail to find any new evidence after a search at the home of Mr Murat following a two-day search, the BBC understands.
Forensic tests are carried out in a Birmingham lab on suspected traces of blood found by sniffer dogs in Madeleine's apartment.
Police in Portugal acknowledge for the first time that, in light of new evidence, Madeleine may be dead. Chief Inspector Sousa adds that Mr and Mrs McCann are not being considered as suspects following newspaper speculation that they were under suspicion. Madeleine may be dead, police say
Police say they still have doubts over how Madeleine disappeared and whether she will ever be found.
The McCanns launch a libel action against Portuguese newspaper Tal & Qual which claimed "police believe" they killed their daughter. The McCanns say they are "deeply hurt" by the allegations.
Portuguese police interview Kate McCann for 11 hours as a witness in the presence of her lawyer. Separately, Portuguese detectives confirm they have the partial results of forensic tests by a UK laboratory.
Madeleine's mother is declared an official suspect and fears she could be charged, friends say. Gerry McCann is also named as a formal suspect following more questioning.