Daft Places: Netflix Doccie on Madeleine McCann – Episode 6 Review & Analysis

An authentic true crime investigation narrows down suspects. Think of the evidence as a sort of tornado of dirt, debris, disorientating plumes and strong winds that tug one one way or the other. But there is a centre to all this confusion, and a clear path that the tornado is taking us on.

Bogus true crime, or Apologia [the TCRS term for a “Sympathy Narrative” that serves the suspects] does the opposite of funneling towards a concrete result. In episode 6 we begin to see that reverse muddying process. Now that Madeleine has been resurrected, it’s back to square one. Who took her?

There’s some focus on Robert Murat, the first suspect and arguably the prime suspect. Many “good reasons” are put forward for Murat being the right profile for a pedophile abductor. The investigation builds him up as a suspect. Some millionaire dude interrogates him and bugs their conversation. But then when all is said and done, it’s not Murat. But could it be Murat’s friend Sergey Malinka. And so gradually the vortex of the “investigation” widens until it dissipates completely, becoming an enormous garden. The private detective now enters the scene as a vivid butterfly hopping from one flower to the next. Each flower is introduced as a very credible suspect, only to be abandoned in lieu of the next flower. It’s compelling stuff. Could it be this guy! How about that one!

As a sure sign that the filmmakers are not only drunk on their own Kool-Aid, but are trying to serve it to an unsuspecting public, the narrative twirls back to the Tanner sighting and attempts to recast the sighting as something [someone] else. Remember, Murat and Malinka have now been thrown to the curb as suspects so it’s time for a new character to rise as the next suspect. And the more flowery the better.

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I’m not going to indulge in the backstory of the creepy, bucktooth fella who was knocking on doors trying to raise dosh for his dodgy orphanage scheme. Suffice it to say, it forms a creepy if unacknowledged parallel to the idea of sinister doctors knocking on television sets trying to raise dosh on the dodgy premise of a disappearing daughter. For more information on Gail Cooper and how the Creeper Narrative came into being, click on the story below.

‘Creepy’ bucktooth man spotted lurking near Madeleine McCann flat before she vanished was seen weeks later with kid matching Maddie’s description – The Sun

Now that a new character has been conjured into existence, he needs to be connected somehow to Madeleine McCann. He LOOKS suspicious, he WALKS suspiciously, he has DUBIOUS intent with his little door-to-door deception, but for him to walk into the McCann mythos he needs some sort of conveyor. Enter Jane Tanner!

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A sketch artist’s drawings of the bucktoothed creeper are presented to Jane Tanner. Tanner is asked if the drawings look anything like Tannerman. [Hold your breath!]

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Admittedly, the new sketch was an 80% likeness, wasn’t it? Both men wore a brown coat or jacket and both wore lighter-colored trousers. The original sketch showed a man with long hair, and the creeper had longish black hair.  Well, no, because the reality is Tanner claimed she never saw the man’s face, so the 80% has to be the whole outfit, the hair and everything else BUT the face.

On the other hand, by leaving Tannerman’s face blank, one could put any man’s face in there and it could an 80% fit, couldn’t it? All of the above is just logical conjecture of course. In order to prove how much punch is in this particular concoction of Kool-Aid, we need only refer to Tannerman himself. Oddly, the docuseries neglects or conveniently forgets the part where Tannerman actually comes forward, identifies himself and even hands over the clothing he wore to the media. He not only admits it was him, he admits he was there, carrying his child from the Ocean Club creche home that night.

Tannerman turns out not to be nearly the murky, shadowy, titillating mystery sighting it’s been pretending to be [for years]. It’s this guy.


His name is Dr. Julian Totman. Totman was holidaying with his wife [identified by the initial “R”] and two small children, William [4] and a three-year-old girl whose name starts with “L”. The Totmans were staying in apartment 4GM, which was part of the same Ocean Club complex as the McCanns, but in a separate block situated to the east. In the image below the Totman’s apartment would be approximately where the word “Road” appears midway in the image on the right.


In the image below it’s clearer how the Ocean Club apartments are spread out into two separate blocks. In a separate post I’ll show how the apartments are identified according to a grid, and where some of the most important “players” stayed in these apartments. 5A was the McCanns’ apartment, the five designating “block 5” and the “A” the ground floor on the far-right. The Totman’s apartment, 4GM, refers to “block 4″ [the block on the left in the image below” and the “G” to a second-floor apartment, which would have been on floor above the McCanns’ flat but in the neighboring block.


The BBC’s graphic [below] while accurate isn’t very clear in juxtaposing the McCanns’ apartment to the Totman Apartment [in yellow] and the creche.


Naturally episode six contrives to conjure a creeper into the blank face of Tannerman, even though Totman himself came forward and said, “Hey, it’s me!” In spite of this, and this is a huge indictment of the scam surrounding the “abduction” and the bogusness of both the media “coverage” and the “official” police investigation, Tannerman continued to remain a credible sighting for years on end. It’s important to bear in mind that this expensive, tedious and bogus wild goose chase came from one of the Tapas 7, and despite being told by Portuguese police not to comment publicly on what they saw.

Jane Tanner, in her wisdom, defied these orders. At the time she said:

“I think it’s important that people know what I saw because I believe Madeleine was abducted.’’

From The Sun article [May 2018] Why did cops investigating Madeleine McCann’s disappearance waste four years on ‘Tannerman’ lead – despite GP saying it was probably him?

And with Portuguese laws prohibiting the release of photofits of suspects, the McCanns put out an artist’s sketch of “Tannerman” in October 2007. But efforts by the Totmans, who live in the South West, to point out the importance of Julian’s movements fell on deaf ears. They were never contacted by Leicestershire police, whose officers were responsible at the time for collating all UK inquiries.

Also of import is that the color of the child’s clothing in the Tanner sighting didn’t match the color of Madeleine’s Totman’s daughter’s clothing, as described by Kate and Gerry during their numerous roadshows.

Totman’s daughter’s clothes were bright, especially the shirt, with long sleeves and long leggings with especially bright orange ankle-ends. These were facing Tanner and yet Jan Tanner noticed the frilly edges of Madeleine’s pants instead. Madeleine’s outfit was all short sleeves and shorter leggings.



In any event, it seems unlikely that the McCann doctors [and the doctors within the Tapas 7] would not know about another guest who was also a doctor, and who was using the same creche they were using. It’s probably a good point now to indicate where the creche was vis-a-vis the Tapas Bar.

In the image below the yellow arrow shows the Tapas Bar oriented from the perspective of the McCanns’ apartment. The small square tent right behind it [circle] is the creche. This shows how patently ridiculous it was not to have their kids looked after in the facilities that were right there [and facilities used by Dr. Totman, as it happened].

The circled area to the right [the East] of the Tapas restaurant was also a play area for kids, and an area where some of the very few photos of Madeleine were taken.

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The image below highlights that play area up close. Note the square tented area behind the Tapas Bar at the top left of the image. Also note the location of the tennis courts to the car, the creche and kid’s play area.


It turns out Gerry McCann knew Dr. Totman fairly well. Well enough to play tennis with him in fact.

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Well enough to dine at a table alongside Dr. Totman in the Tapas Bar.

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And yet with all this going on, when Jane Tanner saw Totman, she didn’t recognise him. Another aspect that seems more than a little iffy in Tanner’s sighting was that she Totman walking in the direction of Murat’s house – away from his apartment. Was this human error, or a deliberate re-adaptation of what she said?

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The docuseries appears to make this creepy fellow the new Tannerman, when in reality Jane Tanner’s “Dr Totman” Tannerman remained the crux of the investigation for several years, despite the British cops knowing it was a bullshit lead. It seems the PR processes around the investigation have tried to conflate the botching of the investigation [going after Tannerman] with an error on the Portuguese side. But the Portuguese cops maintained all along that they didn’t take the Tannerman sighting seriously. So who is playing who for the fool here?Fullscreen capture 20190321 002213Fullscreen capture 20190321 002439Fullscreen capture 20190321 002607Fullscreen capture 20190321 002716Fullscreen capture 20190321 001700

In a follow-up post I’ll be interrogating the intertextual aspect of the very compelling and interesting Joana Cipriano case, which was also brought up in episode 6.

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Netflix Doccie on Madeleine McCann – Episode 3 “Pact of Silence” Review and Analysis

The title of the third episode refers to the infamous “Pact of Silence”. It’s an allegation that the McCanns and their friends [the Tapas 7] who they dined with on the night of May 3th, 2007 when Madeleine McCann disappeared weren’t being completely forthcoming to the cops, or the media.

On June 30th, two months after the incident, it took a Portuguese journalist to raise this allegation for the first time in a 3000-word article published in Sol. Since it was written in Portuguese, that’s where the idea was planted first – in Portugal.

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From Joana Morais’s blog:

June 30, 2007
by Felícia Cabrita and Margarida Davim

Madeleine’s parents and the friends with whom they spent their holidays in Praia da Luz are suspects in the inquiry. There are contradictory versions about the night of the kidnapping, and an assumed pact of silence in the group.

Four long months later, the British press seemed to finally cotton onto this “rumour” and meekly questioned the McCanns about it. Their response, ironically through a PR “spokesman” was to “categorically deny” any secrecy.

From the Telegraph [October 29, 2007]:

Alleged discrepancies in the friends’ versions of events, as well as their refusal to comment on what happened that night, sparked frenzied speculation in Portugal, with reports claiming they agreed to keep quiet to protect the McCanns who remain official suspects in the case.

News that the Portuguese police wanted to re-interview some of those on holiday with the McCanns was seen by the Portuguese media as further confirmation of this theory.

But the seven friends – Russell O’Brien and his partner Jane Tanner, Rachael and Matthew Oldfield, Fiona and David Payne, and Mrs Payne’s mother Dianne Webster – have made a public statement to insist they had nothing to hide.01Paraiso_Tapas_Friends

Tapas seven accept libel damages


“We wish to state that there is categorically no ‘pact of silence’ or indeed anything secretive between us – just the desire to assist the search for Madeleine,” they said in a joint statement, released by the McCanns’ spokesman Clarence Mitchell.

“From day one, the police in Portugal told us not to discuss our statements. “It is incredibly frustrating for us that the fact we have done as we were asked to by the Portuguese police is still being looked upon as suspicious.“Everything we have done, and continue to do, has been to help with the search for Madeleine and to end this nightmare for Gerry and Kate.”

The denial from the group, known together with the McCanns as the Tapas Nine, came as a source confirmed 39-year-old Mr McCann will return to his work as a consultant cardiologist this Thursday, just a few days before the six-month anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance….Mrs McCann, also 39, has said she will not return to work as a part-time GP.

But the mindfuckery of the Netflix documentary is to dedicate the first half-hour of episode three to ridiculing, undermining and criticizing the Portuguese police. Let’s be clear: for half an hour prior to introducing the “Pact of silence” as a concept, the Portuguese police are taken through the washer, accused of being fat, lazy, drunk and incompetent.

Once that narrative is in place then the connivance moves on to dealing with their accusations of the McCanns and well, since we know where they’re coming from…treat them with contempt, right?

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One of the primary narrators of episode two is the other PR spokesperson for the McCann’s, Justine McGuinness. This is her.

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If you’re wondering how or why the McCann case became a media sensation, this is who was behind the PR, at least in the beginning, before ex-BBC reporter Clarence Mitchell took over. And Mitchell took over shortly after the McCanns were named official suspects by the Portuguese. A week after the McCanns were named official suspects in the investigation, McGuinness resigned as their PR representative.

Kate and Gerry McCann named as suspects [September 8, 2007] – Telegraph

McCanns’ PR steps down [September 13, 2007] – The Guardian

Former BBC man to speak for McCanns [September 18, 2007] – The Guardian

On 12 May 2008 McGuinness was questioned by the Portuguese police on the nature of her relationship with the McCanns. McGuinness said at the time that it was purely professional, and that she worked for them for only 89 days, and hadn’t known them previously.

When asked by the media why she was quitting, McGuinness stated that:

…one reason Ms McGuinness has given to journalists for her departure is that the McCanns have been ordered to remain silent because of the changing nature of the investigation and she feels she cannot help them further…But it is now thought that the McCanns are looking for a different kind of PR advice after they became suspects in the inquiry into their daughter’s disappearance and media coverage has become more negative.

McGuinness subsequently went into politics. Interestingly, on McGuinness’ LinkedIn profile, no mention is made whatsoever of her PR work for the McCanns.

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Clarence Mitchell however, does punt his PR work for the McCanns on his LinkedIn profile. Like his counterpart making a foray into politics, Clarence Mitchell tried to do the same, but to date is still trying to get his foot into the door of British politics it appears.

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In the interview below, where McGuinness is asked in early September 2007 why Kate McCann is being questioned by the cops, the reporter repeatedly tries to get a straight answer to the question on whether the cops consider Kate as primarily responsible, and Gerry as a sort of secondary figure.

The McCanns were asked asked directly by their suspicious behavior by Sabine Mueller, a German radio reporter on June 6th, 2007.  This was during another PR “roadshow”, this time in Berlin. Kate McCann’s response was to refer to the popular vote. That according to her most people believe and support them. That’s how innocence works though, isn’t it? As long as most people believe you, you’re innocent. She then referred to her behaviour as a parent, specifically how often “we were checking on them” on the night in question, to rationalise her/their behaviour.

Yet technically Kate herself never checked on the children prior to something happening to Madeleine on May 3rd, an aspect which she curiously doesn’t seem to express any guilt or remorse over.

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According to an article published by the Telegraph the day after the presser in Berlin, the German journalist said felt justified in asking her question:

Afterwards Miss Mueller, 35, who has worked for German Radio for 14 years, said her question was justified. “I was aware it was a difficult question but I felt it was a question that needed to be asked. I don’t suspect the McCanns of being involved. I know it has been seen as a hard question but I do not think it was improper. If they had walked out I would have been sorry. They are putting themselves out there a lot and if they keep staging press conferences they have to expect uncomfortable questions. I was doing my job as a journalist.”

The McCanns also responded to wider criticism of their campaign to raise awareness of Madeleine’s disappearance. They said they were not on a “tour” and reiterated that the sole motivation of their trips to four European countries in the past week was to get Madeleine back. Mr McCann said the alternative was to lock themselves away and wait in despair.

The McCann family is launching a wristband to raise cash and awareness for the missing girl. It will carry the international Crimestoppers number and the “Look” logo designed for the family’s campaign. The family is speaking to a supermarket chain about distributing the bands, for which people will be asked to make a minimum £1 donation.

The notion that Kate is more culpable is interesting. As mentioned above, when it was her turn to check on the children, she didn’t, Matt Oldfield supposedly did.

During the first of dozens of press conferences, Gerry did all of the talking in front of the apartment. Look at Kate’s face and body language.

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The DOUBT series explores in-depth the events leading up to Madeleine’s disappearance on May 3rd, and provides a unique scenario for the route of the abduction, as well as the destination. Available at Amazon.co.uk at this link.

Netflix Doccie on Madeleine McCann – Episode 2 Review and Timeline Analysis

Although the second episode of the series is titled “Person of Interest” [singular] it basically looks into two individuals, Robert Murat and Sergey Malinka. It’s interesting that Robert Murat was quickly regarded as a prime suspect, despite having an alibi and despite no eye-witnesses placing him at the scene. Murat was neither implicated nor associated with the two sightings known as Tannerman and Smithman, because he didn’t resemble either of thesefigures in body shape or facially.

Murat also has another rather obvious distinguishing feature – his glasses. Was Murat really a better suspect to seize on than the folks staying at the hotel, including the McCanns themselves?

‘My life caught up in the Madeleine McCann case’: Russian computer expert reveals the threats, ‘blackmail and bribery’ he faced after being quizzed as a witness over girl’s disappearance – Daily Mail

For some time now Malinka has been agitating about a book that is coming out. As of this writing, in March 2019, there is still no book. I was contacted at one stage to work with and ghost write for Malinka [not directly by Malinka, but by a third party]. I turned down the offer. It seems I’m not the only one.

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Sorry to disappoint, but due to the content of the second episode, I won’t be analysing episode two because I consider both “suspects” to be debunked anyway. What I think is far more interesting to address is the gloss-over of the timeline in episode one. The next blog will return to a chronological analysis of the remaining six episodes over the next six days.


The essential timeline is dealt with for [are you ready for it] less than three minutes total in the Netflix documentary, between 12:00 and 15:00. It starts with the McCanns making their way down to the Tapas bar at 20:30, and they’re the first to arrive. There’s no mention whether them being early or arriving first that particular evening was unusual compared to the preceding week. That’s an issue I deal with in detail in the DOUBT series.

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The next timecheck is at 21:00 when Matt Oldfield arrives at the restaurant, apparently volunteering the all clear that the McCann children were sleeping soundly.

Matt Oldfield was very much in the picture immediately after Madeleine’s disappearance, as can be seen in these images.

At 09:05 Gerry leaves the restaurant, presumably before eating anything [and it’s unknown whether he’d ordered anything, or what he ordered if he did] to make his first and only check on the children that night.

We see it dramatized how Gerry closes the door without closing it completely. In some descriptions, Gerry is so specific he even describes how wide the door was opened down to the last degree. This is an important precursor to the actions of the door that follow.

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The next timecheck given is 21:25. It’s made explicit that Kate INTENDED to do her check but was forestalled by [guess who?] Matt Oldfield who volunteered to take her place.

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And right here is where the timeline goes wonky. Oldfield enters the unlocked apartment the same way Gerry did, via the side patio door, and “saw light” and “heard the sound” as if of a child moving in their blankets.

Thanks to door being open enough to perceive without really seeing, Oldfield is able to do his check without really doing his check. If one of the kids was awake, Oldfield apparently heard it but didn’t look in to make sure. If he had would he have seen Madeleine?

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In my opinion Madeleine was already dead at this stage, so she wouldn’t have been in bed, but her body was likely still in the apartment. Her body was either in the cupboard of her parents’ bedroom, or behind the couch, based on cadaver alerts, or possibly laying in the flower bed below the balcony.

It’s also possible immediately after Oldfield left, Madeleine woke up, fell over the balcony railing or down the patio stairs, and died. However since it takes at least an hour for cadaver odor to form it’s more likely Madeleine died earlier in the evening [prior to the McCanns leaving for dinner] than later. Cadaver traces were so strong they were still picked up in late August, three months after the incident, and in spite of the apartment being cleaned numerous times. This strongly suggests her little body remained inert – dead – for some time before it was removed from the apartment.


The Oldfield witness testimony is wonderfully inconclusive and murky, because it doesn’t confirm anything. Maybe all the kids were there and maybe they weren’t.

At the same time, Oldfield’s entry into the narrative means the fact that neither McCanns checked on their brood is justified because a third party is given the responsibility [except that he doesn’t actually check to make sure]. Also, the leaving of a door unlocked is justified to allow access to this known third party, which also – just incidentally you understand – paves the way for the imputed abductor.

So even in a scenario where Madeleine could be proven to have died, who would be to blame? Where would it begin and where would it end? Whose testimony, assuming there was ever a trial to test this version, could be relied on one way or another?

The Netflix timeline picks up again at 22:00. Kate gets up and heads to the apartment. Once again, the door becomes the central feature of her visit. There’s something very strange about the door!

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All told, the documentary spends less than two minutes thirty seconds going through the critical timeline. There is virtually no analysis or explanation, no mention of several important witnesses within the timelines. Instead the door, “light” and sounds are emphasised supposedly confirming that everything was okay when it wasn’t.

Strangely, in another reconstruction of the door narrative, this one done inside the McCanns’ residence in Rothley, Kate seems to suggest the door was left virtually closed but  that when she approached it, it had opened “quite wide” and it then slammed shut right in front of her.

This witnessed moving of the door and inconsistency of the door conjures the door as a sort of witness to an abductor is who is not otherwise seen or heard, and who doesn’t leave any traces.

That reconstruction can be viewed at 27:58 in the clip below.

Interestingly, in her checking of the children Madeleine is missing, but no mention is made of the twins who are also in the room, or whether they are awake or asleep, or safe. And having just had one child stolen [apparently through the open window], what does Kate do – she abandons both children, runs out of the apartment and raises the alarm, thus leaving the twins vulnerable to additional abductions.

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Another easy point to miss: immediately after Madeleine disappears, an awful lot of running happens. Kate runs, then “everybody sprints back to our apartment…”

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Now let’s focus on a few observations in terms of the aspects the Netflix timeline implicitly doesn’t address:

  1. Between 20:30 and 22:00 Gerry makes a total of one visit to check on the children, and according to Gerry, verifies that at 20:30 Madeleine was alive and safe. This effectively makes this observation the last time Madeleine was seen alive by any witness, assuming the observation is true and accurate.
  2. Kate McCann also makes a total of one visit to check on the children. When she does the incident has already happened, so arguably Kate’s visit doesn’t count. One can say that technically in the space of 90 minutes, when the plan was to check on the children every 20 minutes, Gerry made the only check and only did so once. In 90 minutes at least 4 checks ought to have been possible.
  3. It’s not clarified what happened after Gerry’s check. We know he checked, but there’s not clarity on what time he was seen returning to the table. One way to establish this would be to look at what food he ordered when, whether he paid for it, and how much of the meal he actually ate that evening.
  4. In the police interviews it’s established that Gerry didn’t go straight back to the restaurant after checking on his children. Instead he is seen on the street by a witness, Jes Wilkens at 21:08 and by Jane Tanner at 21:10. What this does is it pinpoints where Gerry is, giving him an alibi there and then, while also “allowing” Gerry not to be where he’s supposed to be [eating at the restaurant].
  5. Jane Tanner also – very conveniently – sees the prime suspect carrying away a child while at the time seeing Gerry in the street [not carrying anyone, while talking to Jes].
  6. Thirty minutes pass and it’s Kate’s turn to check on the children. During this interval Gerry’s movements aren’t known precisely. During this time, at approximately 21:50, the Smithman sighting occurs about 5 minutes’ walk from apartment 5A. The man and the child spotted in the alley broadly fit both the father and Madeleine’s description, and the man is said to be walking “briskly” in the direction of the sea. In addition, the child in his arms doesn’t appear to be conscious, and is being held “awkwardly”. Even the clothing of the child seen broadly matches what Madeleine was wearing the night she went missing.
  7. Although Kate McCann is quoted in the documentary and in her book saying she ran out of the apartment and when she saw the table shouted “someone’s [singular] taken Madeleine”, others on the scene remembered it differently. One nanny described Madeleine’s mother shouting “they’ve taken her”. Another account from the Moyes couple who were staying two floors above the McCanns, quotes Kate shouting “the fucking bastards have taken her”. And wouldn’t it have made more sense to simply shout the message from the balcony, if the Tapas Bar was within earshot and visual range, as is so often emphasised?
  8. It appears that at no point did either of the McCanns contact the authorities themselves, even when a neighbor offered the use of her phone. Gerry dispatched Oldfield relatively early, at 22:10, to head to receptions and call the police.
  9. For several years the focus of the media was on the Tapas 7’s star witness account – fingering Tannerman – even though the cops had long since dismissed this theory. Meanwhile, Smithman was dismissed or disregarded by the McCanns and their private investigation into that sighting…well…was treated in a very different way to Tannerman.Fullscreen capture 20190315 123955
  10. A straightforward way to figure out who was where, when, and saw what, how and why events played out in a particular pattern, is for all the folks to return to the scene to do a recorded official reconstruction. Put the people like chess pieces on the board and move them about according to what everyone did and saw. This is precisely what the Portuguese cops asked the McCanns to do. This was their response at 4:19 in the clip below.

More: What happened on the day Madeleine disappeared? [Timeline] – The Guardian

“The f*****g b*****ds have taken her!” Kate McCann’s tortured screams on night Maddie went missing – The Mirror

The Prodigal Nanny Returns – Shakedown

The timeline leading up to the events of May 3rd, 2007 are explored in meticulous detail in DOUBT., available exclusively on Amazon Kindle Unlimited. 

Debunk: Why the Two Abduction Reference Cases in the Netflix Documentary Don’t Apply to Madeleine McCann

True Crime Intertexuality is a valuable tool for understanding one case through the known circumstances of another. It does require more than a little expertise in true crime to understand how a reference case matches up, and how it doesn’t. Obviously if one’s understanding of either case is flawed, biased or bogus, then the reference itself is flawed, biased or bogus.

In the misleadingly titled Netflix Documentary THE DISAPPEARANCE OF MADELEINE MCCANN  two American reference cases are cited: firstly, the disappearance of Etan Patz [in 1972, in Soho Lower Manhattan], and secondly the murder of Adam Walsh [in 1981 from a mall in Hollywood, Florida].

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The expert prognosticating on these references is the head of a large missing person’s organisation in America. An expert in missing persons may seem like an expert in true crime and criminal psychology, but alas, true crime isn’t nearly as simple or obvious as it seems.

The obvious similarities between the abduction-sex-trafficker scenario punted by the makers of the Madeleine McCann documentary vis-à-vis the two American boys [the reference cases] are in four extremely broad, basic areas:

  1. All three scenarios involve young children.
  2. All three scenarios involve young children disappearing.
  3. Two scenarios strongly suggest the children were abducted because of a sexual motive.
  4. In all three scenarios the bodies of the missing children were never found.

That’s really where the similarities or “references” end. A proper true crime analysis reveals not so much an overlap between the Patz and Walsh cases to the McCann case, but in fact why the cases are distinctively different to what happened to Madeleine.


Although no bodies were found in all three cases, in both the Patz case and the Walsh case it is generally assumed that both boys are dead, both boys were murdered and the identities of their murderers isn’t mysterious or unknown.

In the Walsh case the boy’s decapitated head was found within a few weeks, however his body has never been recovered.

It should be noted that when it comes to children abducted by sexual predators who are strangers, the children must be disposed of quickly or else the perpetrators face a real risk of alerting family members or passersby to the taboo of an adult keeping a small unrelated child in their possession and raising suspicions. The same situation doesn’t apply when the predators are family, familiar or otherwise trusted by the victims.

The destruction of their little bodies is meant to completely conceal the circumstances surrounding their final moments, and death, from the public’s view. In a scenario where the children become famous in the media, the necessity to dispose of them, and destroy their bodies completely is even more urgent. It’s vital for the predator to make sure no connection can ever be made between the eviscerated corpse and himself.

In a genuine abduction scenario, a case can clearly be made not to alert the media and to alert the authorities discreetly, in order not to provoke, alarm, aggravate or frighten the abductor into doing something rash.

The Ramsey Ransom Note alludes to this cliche, and does so because it’s so typical.

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This is why in kidnapping cases the kidnappers insist that the authorities are not contacted, and that if they are, the victim will be killed. The situation for the kidnapper becomes untenable if the victim becomes a public figure. The same applies to an abductor, except there is less incentive to return the victim [now a potential witness] to the custody of the family and/or authorities.

When I researched the JonBenet Ramsey case I was surprised at the persistence of the pedophile narrative in that case. Sure, pedophiles exist. They’re a scourge in our society. But pedophiles more often tend to lurk INSIDE families.

Where family members prey on family members this is especially true when the victim is much younger and more vulnerable. The custody and trust situation of the guardian relative to the child is what is abused, and is both a smokescreen for the crime and the cover-up [which can often go on for years, even an entire lifetime].

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When the victims are very young, as in the case of six-year-old JonBenet Ramsey, the perpetrator tends to be younger as well, often children themselves. Crime statistics confirm this. Thus the common abusers of very small children tend to be older children, not adults, and often older siblings.

JonBenet was abused, but she was a six-year-old beauty queen. Madeleine McCann was three-years-old when she “disappeared”, but there is no forensic evidence of abuse. The closest symptom to anything approximating a molesting scenario is that she had difficulty sleeping. [JonBenet Ramsey also struggled with insomnia and chronic bedwetting, according to the housekeeper Linda Hoffman-Pugh]. Well, so do many three-year-olds.

The notion that a criminal would target a three-year-old child for sexual purposes as a typical scenario is absurd in the extreme. Although – tragically – grooming of young children for sex-trafficking is not completely unheard of in our society, if the child is abducted as a toddler this means the child has to be adopted and raised [fed, housed etc.] for several years, a scenario well beyond the scope of most if not all pedophiles or traffickers.

In a high-profile scenario, the costs to prevent or avoid discovery of the groomed victim skyrockets, making the “investment” worthless.  Madeleine McCann is world famous, the most famous missing child in history by a substantial margin. So, even following the theoretical concept to its conclusion [and assuming she’s still alive], the likelihood of any transaction with such a high-profile-high-risk candidate is untenable, to put it mildly.

Back to the reference cases.

Both children in the reference cases were boys, and both were twice the age of Madeleine when they were abducted. Both boys were also cute kids, which is why they were targeted both by the men  [probably closet homosexuals] who abducted them, and by the media who covered them.Fullscreen capture 20190317 022146

Those men who abducted these boys didn’t traffic them – the abuse was very brief and intended for discreet, private consumption.

But the area I want to emphasise cuts to the specific circumstances of both theses cases that are pertinently NOT similar to those in the McCann case.

  1. Both boys were abducted opportunistically, that is to say randomly in public areas.  The children weren’t studied or stalked, they were encountered by chance. There was no premeditation of the specific victim. Although the execution may have been planned, and the crime a fantasy, the identity of the specific victim was random.  In the McCann case the apartment was supposedly targeted, that is to say, not random and not opportunistic.
  2. Patz was abducted by a store keeper with the lure of a soda, and Walsh [it was theorised] through the lure of toys and candy. Walsh was in a toy store, or the toy section of a store, when he was lured into a van. In Madeleine’s case there was no lure, and apparently she [and her siblings] slept through the abduction.
  3. Both boys were murdered shortly after their respective abductions, Patz on the very same day, and Walsh within two weeks of his abduction. Despite their ages, there was virtually no attempt to accommodate, feed or raise them. There is no reason to believe if Madeleine survived her “disappearance”, that she would have been kept alive for any extended length of time, let alone twelve years, given the ongoing risk her life presented to her supposed abductor/guardian/trafficker.
  4. It took Patz’ parents several hours to raise the alarm. Patz disappeared in the morning, and his parents only alerted the authorities in the evening. In Walsch’s case, the boy’s mother spent more than 90 minutes searching fruitlessly through and around the store. They also used public-address system. Only when these measures failed did Revé Walsch finally call the Hollywood Police [at 13:55]. In the McCann case, however, both parents knew instantly Madeleine had been taken, and were scornful of the notion that she might have wandered off, or gotten herself lost. They were also contemptuous of the “slow pace” of the Portuguese cops to arrive, when in fact the police response was normal given the situation.

    The McCanns’ absolute conviction so early in the investigation knowing exactly what happened is a lot more sinister when juxtaposed alongside the responses of parents in genuine abduction scenarios. [Incidentally, Patsy Ramsey shared the same absolute certainty during her 911 call, although the bogus Ransom Note provided some reinforcement to her certainty. JonBenet’s body meanwhile was lying in the basement of the house all along. In other words, Patsy’s “certainty” was misleading, and arguably more than that – misdirection.]


Although Patz was “missing” for decades, and declared legally dead as late as 2001, 22 years after his abduction, the mystery of what happened to him was finally solved after 33 years even in the absence of recovering his remains. In other words, even though no body was recovered, there’s no doubt that the child is deceased. As such, is the Patz case really an approximate reference case for Madeleine McCann?

In May 2012 the New York Times reported:

A New Jersey man was arrested in the killing of Etan Patz, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly announced on Thursday, an extraordinary moment in a case that has gripped New York City’s psyche ever since the 6-year-old boy vanished in SoHo on his way to school in 1979. The man, Pedro Hernandez, told investigators that he lured Etan to the basement of a bodega where Mr. Hernandez worked at the time with the promise of a soda, Mr. Kelly said. Once Etan was inside, Mr. Hernandez choked him, stuffed his body into a bag and took the bag about a block and a half away, where he left it out in the open with trash, Mr. Kelly said.

…It is unclear whether investigators have been able to corroborate the account Mr. Hernandez has provided. Without any trace of human remains or other forensic evidence, any possible prosecution of him would face significant evidentiary hurdles.

…Mr. Hernandez, who was 18 at the time Etan vanished, worked as a stockboy in a bodega at 448 West Broadway that is now an eyeglass store, Mr. Kelly said. Etan disappeared on the first morning his parents allowed him to walk alone from the family’s home on Prince Street to a school bus stop on West Broadway.

Mr. Hernandez was working in the basement, which had a separate door to the street, Mr. Kelly said. Etan was at the bus stop when Mr. Hernandez led him away and to the basement, Mr. Kelly said…Mr. Hernandez’s name was mentioned in a 1979 detective’s report as part of the investigation into Etan’s disappearance, Mr. Kelly said. The report listed him as an employee of the bodega, but Mr. Hernandez was never questioned by investigators, Mr. Kelly said.

“I can’t tell you why, 33 years ago, he wasn’t questioned,” he said. “We know that other people in the bodega were questioned.”

A woman interviewed by The New York Times last month who ran a playgroup in SoHo at the time Etan disappeared recalled seeing mounds of garbage bags in the days after the boy vanished, which included Memorial Day weekend. “I always thought there were so many garbage bags out and why did they not search them,” said the woman, Judy Reichler, who now lives in New Paltz, N.Y. “For three days everyone piled bags on the street and then they got picked up.”

In the McCann case it appears the McCanns have not been questioned by British authorities. And when Kate McCann was questioned by the Portuguese police, she refused to answer. That’s the real mystery behind this case.

More: NOT IN THE FRAME: Maddie cops say they have ‘no reason’ to investigate Kate and Gerry McCann as they rule out four suspects – The Sun

Top British cop says Madeleine McCann’s parents are ruled out as suspects in her mysterious disappearance – The Mirror

Madeleine McCann: police target 38 potential suspects identified in review – The Guardian

British detectives open new investigation after reviewing all evidence into disappearance of three-year-old from Portugal

Redwood said none of the individuals was connected to Madeleine’s family or friends who were with her parents on holiday at the time. The Met team’s work leads them to believe Madeleine was abducted in a criminal act by a stranger.

Van Gogh was Mad, and Proof of this is He Cut Off His Own Ear, Right? Wrong on Both Counts

An important precursor to the “madness” of Vincent van Gogh, and the murder of Van Gogh, was the infamous ear incident. When I conducted my investigation, I examined the ear incident as a crime scene. Who saw what? What motive was there [if it was self-inflicted or otherwise]. What happened in the aftermath? Who said what, why and how was the wound supposedly inflicted? What when was used? What weapon was likely used to sever an entire ear?

I was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of information on all these subjects, even a sketch of the actual wound. Incredibly, almost 130 years later we have Vincent’s own words to get a sense of his feelings about what happened, as well as not one but two portraits to get a more subtle sense about how he felt about it.

The incident took place just before the Christmas of 1888 during the last days when artists Vincent van Gogh and Paul Gauguin lived together. A few days later Vincent van Gogh wrote to his former housemate – who by this time had skedaddled all the way back to Brittany, that trip paid in full by his patrol, Theo van Gogh [Vincent’s younger brother].

By January 1889 Paul Gauguin wanted his fencing equipment back. In his rush to abandon Vincent and the Yellow House in Arles, he left it behind. But in spite of what happened, he wanted it back. Understandably, Vincent wasn’t too chuffed about giving Gauguin his “weapons of war” back.

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The full transcript of the letter – written on January 22nd or 23rd – can be read here.

Gauguin’s explanation of the incident was that Van Gogh did it to himself, and that he was mad, a claim he repeated shortly after Van Gogh’s death. He did not attend his friend’s funeral, but said – quite cruelly – that he wasn’t surprised by the suicide because he’d known all along Van Gogh was mad. And so the myth stuck…

And yet of the two artists, Gauguin was a fine one to talk about screw-loose behavior… This is him at the piano.


A number of expert art historians also believe Gauguin is the real culprit behind the ear-slicing incident, but Van Gogh, in typical self-deprecating fashion – and to preserve the art arrangement with his brother – took the rap for it.

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I argue in my book The Murder of Vincent van Gogh that when he was shot – purposefully, with direct intent – a similar scenario played at as the one that did around the ear incident. As a result, a popular mythology has developed around the world’s most famous artist, one that is compelling but untrue, and less compelling than what actually happened.

More: Van Gogh’s Ear – The New Yorker

Art historians claim Van Gogh’s ear ‘cut off by Gauguin’ – The Guardian

Van Gogh gouged by Gauguin? I don’t believe it – The Guardian

Vincent Van Gogh and the Issue with his Ear – What Really Happened? – The Vintage News

Netflix Doccie on Madeleine McCann – Episode 1 Review and Analysis

The Guardian has given the new Netflix documentary a 1 star rating, a described it as a “blatant cash-in” and “a rehash”. I’m not sure that’s all it is though, especially since – by the end of the same article – the reporter’s sympathies are clearly with the McCanns. In fact the Netflix documentary isn’t simply a rehash, even if it does a lot of rehashing. Much of the rehashing purports a particular narrative. TCRS regards that narrative as bogus [the sex-trafficking spiel which indirectly resurrects the little girl into imputed sexual slavery]. But to dismiss the entire documentary as a greedy, thoughtless is simplistic and false as well.

The documentary has a sly intent, which is to gradually manipulate audiences and plant the seed that somewhere out there, Madeleine is moving around and living out her life, and that there is always hope. This pitch starts from the very first frame, and the first false facts [broken shutters etc] follow in short shrift shortly thereafter.

A few general observations from Episode 1: BENEATH THE 

  1. Aerial drone footage provides some refreshing spatial context to the greater crime scene of Praia da Luz. One of the opening sounds, ironically – given the use of the raven motif in DOUBT – is the cawing of birds over the Ocean Club crime scene.Fullscreen capture 20190315 180600-001
  2. A random family with children is seemingly selected to “voyeur” through the sights and sounds of Praia da Luz to get a feel for what it was like to be there when the McCanns were holidaying in May 2007. The family featured in the documentary happened to be in Luz when the incident around Madeleine McCann occurred, as well.
  3. Despite Gerry and Kate not participating in the documentary, within the first few minutes we see familiar footage of their faces. The very first view of Gerry is very early on where he is doing his rounds as a respectable doctor in a hospital in Leicester.
  4. The sympathy narrative is also established early on, with a woman’s voice intoning about how the couple were desperate to have children, finally resorting to IVF. At this stage it’s not made explicit that actually Madeleine had two siblings at the time, and both were present in the same apartment bedroom when she was “abducted”. It should also be noted that post abduction, none of the younger children woke up, in spite of a chaotic cacophony playing out around them. The idea of the children being sedated is not new, although some stories about rows and sedatives have since been removed online, but will it be mentioned in other episodes of this “definitive” documentary? Fullscreen capture 20190316 141931
  5. A pair of journalists are also selected who know the story “inside out”. Initially they’re not identified.
  6. We’re told ahead of time that this case is a confusing jumble, and a lot of different faces are quickly implied as suspects – a Russian, a neighbor etc.
  7. Kate McCann’s voice provides voice over as the camera pans over Praia da Luz. She sounds like a normal mother who wanted to have a nice, fun holiday with her children. They can have fun [separately] and so can the adults [somewhere else]. Fullscreen capture 20190315 180552
  8. There’s a nice little clip of the kids heading up the stairs onto the plane – which is from old, grainy cell phone footage. When Madeleine stumbles a voice can be heard saying kindly, protectively, “Oopsie daisy”. Is it Gerry’s voice? Neither parents are anywhere in sight during this footage.Fullscreen capture 20190315 132541
  9. In another clip of Gerry on the bus by the same cameraman, it’s cut off in the documentary right at the point where Gerry moans on camera that’s he’s not on holiday. The cameraman actually points out on camera in the original footage that Gerry – sitting beside a row of kids – appears to be sulking and needs to “cheer up”. This nifty editing is the first clear indication that the documentary means to distort footage so as to present the McCanns in a misleadingly flattering light. 


  10. An American woman’s voice continues to narrate the set-up at the Ocean Club, which the subtitle of the documentary identities as Robbyn. Robbyn Swan is the co-author – with Anthony Summers – of a neither-here-nor-there investigation into  Madeleine McCann’s disappearance. Anthony-Summers-and-Robbyn-Swan-1782878 (1)The description of the book Looking for Madeleine clearly matches the broader arc of the documentary, which is an investigation into the disappearance as some sort of sex-trafficking spiel. The same book [rated 2.8 out of 5 on Amazon.com and 2.7 on Amazon.co.uk] also maligns the Portuguese investigation into the McCanns, just as the McCanns’ themselves have done.
  11. Next the babysitting facilities of the Ocean Club are criticized as being inadequate. The McCanns felt it didn’t suit them, as they had to put them down too early and pick them up too late. So of course the McCanns elected to take care of the babysitting and putting to bed themselves, which apparently involved each one – Kate and Gerry – doing an ongoing relay every half hour to check on them, along with the Tapas 7 as well. Not that that was any inconvenience. One can say with some certainty, had the McCanns made use of the babysitting services that every other family seemed to be using, Madeleine would not have been abducted, wandered off, killed, sedated – pick your scenario. Fullscreen capture 20190316 145218Fullscreen capture 20190316 145221Fullscreen capture 20190316 145224
  12. In my first analysis of the documentary I noted how AFTER Madeleine’s disappearance the McCanns were only too happy to use the Kids’ Club Creche facility. The photos of them taking them there first thing each morning to drop them off [after the disappearance] was after all how the paparazzi got their daily photo op with the couple. 


  13. The authors then contextualise the various parts of the original crime scene. I like that they refer to the distance from the Tapas Bar to apart 5A as 60 yars “as the crow flies”. Fullscreen capture 20190316 145929
  14. The authors rationalize how the McCanns setup a relay team with the Tapas 7 where some of the parents would leave the restaurant midway through dinner and listen in on the various children in the various apartments. This is described as a “better” system than having all the kids together in a creche, looked after by one person, and thus allowing the couple to holiday the way most normal parents would. [Of course the doctors argue that their system is more normal and more sensible, which is why Madeleine was completely safe and nothing happened to her…].Fullscreen capture 20190316 150106Fullscreen capture 20190316 151506
  15. The backstory of the crime is glossed over, in the sense that the crucial days leading up to May 3rd aren’t covered, nor any of the incidents that took place in this week. Nothing is mentioned [at this point] about the controversial “last photo” either [taken on the first day of the holiday].  Instead the coverage deals with the afternoon of May 3rd and the kids being “particularly” tired that day. They were particularly tired so they would have slept particularly well that night, is the obvious but misleading inference. Fullscreen capture 20190316 152725Fullscreen capture 20190316 152803

That’s fifteen observations of roughly the first ten to fifteen minutes of episode one. That’s enough.

It should be clear that much of the first episode is broadly supportive of the McCanns, and even sympathetic to them. By green lighting their babysitting approach, the way is paved for some outsider, some shadowy interloper to spoil the perfect fairy tale of perfect parenting.

Of course, in a scenario where someone has to get up every 20 minutes, leave the restaurant and run around the apartments, we also have a scenario for one of the group disappearing for several minutes, with or without a child in their arms…and no one being any the wiser.

Tomorrow TCRS will be doing a similar analysis and review of episode two.

Onorati Up on Charges in Home Break-In [Summer 2014]

It’s possible the strange flipping flopping of Sandi to her family name of Rzucek and back to Onorati [and Sandi to Sandy to Sandra] is because of…well…various incidents. I’ll leave it to you to join the dots.


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The distance from Carthage to the Rzuceks’ home in Aberdeen is less than 18 miles due South, about half an hour by car. Chris Watts’ former home in Vass Road is less than 28 miles East.

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Four Arrested, Charged in Carthage Home Break-in – ThePilot