Fact Check

Missing Girl: Madeleine McCann

Missing Georgia girl: Madeleine McCann.

Published May 14, 2007

Claim:   A four-year-old British girl named Madeleine McCann is missing from a Portuguese vacation resort.

Status:   True.

Example:   [Collected via e-mail, May 2007]

Dear all,

I don't normally pass on chain emails but this is an exception. I have checked out the phone numbers and also added the info about the reward, in case this should help. Apologies to anyone to whom this is spam-like.

Rewards totalling £2.5m have been offered to anyone who can help with information leading to the safe return of Madeleine McCann.

The News of the World and businessmen including Sir Richard Branson have jointly pledged £1.5m. Scottish tycoon Stephen Winyard has offered £1m.

09 May 2007


If you have any information please call Portuguese Police direct on 00351 282 405 400 or call Crimestoppers in the UK on 0800 555 111. Or if calling from Portugal, please call: 44 1883 731 336.

Madeleine's Eye Holds Vital Clue

Madeleine McCann's family believe a new picture of the missing four-year-old could play a vital role in the search for her.

The new poster of MadeleineThe photo clearly shows her distinctive right eye, where the pupil runs into the blue-green iris.

It is this distinguishing mark that will identify Madeleine to those on the lookout for her, according to aunt and uncle John and Diane McCann.


Origins:   Madeleine McCann, a four-year-old British girl, disappeared from a Portuguese vacation resort on 3 May 2007. Madeleine's parents left her alone in bed with her two-year-old twin brother and sister in their resort apartment in the Portuguese region of Algarve while they dined nearby; the couple returned from dinner and reported that Madeleine had apparently been abducted:

Kate [McCann] and her husband Gerry, a consultant cardiologist, have told family and friends they suspect their daughter was snatched while her

two-year-old twin brother and sister were sound asleep in cots on either side of her.

Madeleine, who was born by IVF treatment, disappeared from the family's ground-floor holiday apartment at the 'family friendly' Mark Warner holiday complex in the Praia da Luz resort as her parents ate at a tapas restaurant close by.

The child's aunt, Trish Cameron, yesterday described the frantic telephone call she received after the couple discovered their daughter was missing around ten o'clock on Thursday night.

"It was my young brother Gerry distraught on the phone, breaking his heart. He said: 'Madeleine's been abducted, she's been abducted'.

"They kept going back to check the kids every half hour. The restaurant was only 40 yards away. He went back at nine o'clock to check the children. They were all sound asleep, windows shut, shutters shut."

Kate then went over to the two-bedroom ground-floor apartment and 'came out screaming', said Mrs Cameron. 'The door was lying open, the window in the bedroom and the shutters had been jemmied open.

A number of prominent business figures and celebrities, including Richard Branson, J.K. Rowling, and Wayne Rooney have contributed to a reward for information about Madeleine that now totals £2.5m.

In September 2007, Portuguese police began requestioning Madeleine's parents, leading to speculation that the parents themselves are suspected of having been involved in her disappearance.

Additional information about the case is available on the Internet at findmadeleine.com.

Last updated:   7 September 2007

  Sources Sources:

    BBC News.   "Madeleine Mother Named as Suspect."

    7 September 2007.

    CNN.com.   "Pleas, Anger in Missing Girl Hunt."

    13 May 2007.

    Sky News.   "Madeleine's Eye Holds Vital Clue."

    14 May 2007.

    This Is London.   "'Maddy Was Abducted and We Have a Suspect in Mind.'"

    4 May 2007.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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