In detective Goncalo Amaral’s book Truth of the Lie he doesn’t spend a lot of time on the subject of a neighbour who came forward and said [anonymously] that she thought she saw the McCanns “ventilating” their rental vehicle. Including at night.
Near the end of his chapter “The Hypothesis of Death is Considered” Amaral makes the following passing remark:
Later, I am brought the witness statement of a neighbour, according to whom, the McCanns left their car boot open all the time. For Gerry’s brother-in-law, the bad smell was explained by the fact that the McCanns transported their bins in it. As for the blood, it had been left by a piece of meat fallen out of a shopping bag. Kate’s cousin explained that the unpleasant smells were due to the little ones’ dirty nappies.
None of that stands up to scrutiny faced with the reactions of these dogs, who are thoroughly trained to detect only blood and cadaver odours.
Amaral provides more detail in the documentary based on his book, and the neighbour also comes forward [though her face is not shown] where she discusses what she thought she saw. This aspect is covered from 4:20 in the clip below.
The neighbour, a lawyer [whom Amaral refers to as a “juror” in the translation] seems to be a credible witness. One of her more memorable statements is this one:
“I drive down this street every day to turn my car around at that end and every time that I passed the house and I looked at the car, and the car always had an open boot door, day or night. I often passed at night and always verified it. It was a fact, I reported it and that was it”.
What you won’t often see, or hear about, is a report published in the Daily Express on 14 September 2007, which appeared to show the cadaver dogs tracked cadaver odor from Apartment 5A on a direct route to the coast.
The Daily Express sensationally described this 1 mile beeline route from the hotel to the coast as “The Trail of Death”.
But other international media reported on the same findings.
The cover of the Daily Express that same day trumpeted MADELEINE WAS ‘KILLED BY SLEEPING PILLS’.
Guilhem Battut, an investigative reporter for the French tabloid France Soir, said Portuguese police had given prosecutors a file detailing how they thought Madeleine had died. Battut – an experienced journalist who has worked on a number of major inquiries – claims police believe that evidence found in the McCanns’ hire car will “prove that the little girl had ingested medicines, without doubt sleeping pills, in large quantities”.
A source at the newspaper claimed: “We are not simply repeating rumours carried in other papers. This is not a theory, but a fact contained in hard evidence in the hands of the Portuguese authorities. “It is all very well putting theories and opinions forward, but in the end this case will be decided on evidence. As journalists, we have been trying to establish what evidence is available.”
DNA evidence which has reportedly been found in the hire car includes hair, blood and bodily fluids which match Madeleine’s. Police are said to want to examine the vehicle again. It is currently being kept in a safe place by the family who are considering having their own tests carried out on it as they strive to prove their innocence.Portuguese police are said to be drawing up a list of 40 new questions that they want to put to Mrs McCann. But British forensic experts expressed doubts over the claim.
Alan Baker, of the independent forensic science organisation Bericon, said: “These samples are likely to be far from ideal. If it is just a smear or dried deposit you could detect the drug but not how much.”
Last night friends of the family dismissed the latest speculation. Gerry McCann reportedly told a friend: “There are large craters in every one of these theories, in these ludicrous accusations.’ “As far as Kate and I are concerned there is no evidence to suggest that Madeleine is dead. We are 100 per cent together on this, not one grain of suspicion about each other.”
A close friend of Mrs McCann’s said: “She is a gentle mother who loves her children very much.”
An article in the February 2008 edition of Vanity Fair notes Kate McCann’s explanation for why the cadaver dogs sensed cadaver odour on the key fob of the rental vehicle. It was because Kate McCann had been around cadavers just before her trip to the Algarve.
The Daily Express six months earlier had been more specific, reporting that Kate had apparently said she’d come into contact with six corpses “in the weeks” before the holiday. Of course the car was also hired weeks after the incident.