Chapter 2: Did they Search?

Did the McCanns physically search
for their daughter Madeleine?

Kate McCann - statement 4th May 2007 [1]

The group immediately headed to the club, and set about searching in all the buildings, swimming pool, tennis courts etc. as well as in the apartment with the help of employees.

Gerry McCann - statement 4th May 2007 [2]

Immediately, the group headed for the club and searched across all the facilities, swimming pool, tennis etc., as well as in the apartment, with the help of Ocean Club employees, while at the same time they contacted the authorities, that would later appear.

Gerry McCann - statement 10th May 2007 [3]

They continued with searches outside, around the various apartment blocks, the deponent having asked MATTHEW to go to the secondary reception in order to communicate the fact to the local police, since he had no doubt that his daughter had been abducted.

Gerry McCann statement as Arguido 7th September 2007. [4]
(Status “Arguido”, under caution (In English Law terms), and with Lawyer present.)

When asked why instead of scouring the land next to the complex they remained inside the apartment, he replies that it did not happen that way. While the guests and resort workers were searching, he went to the main reception to check whether they had called the Police, and told Kate to wait inside the apartment. After returning from the reception he went back into the apartment where he stayed in the living room and in their bedroom.


1 It is evident from the context in the first two statements that “the group” means the rest of the group, and does not include the McCanns themselves.

2 There is a clear contradiction between the 10 May statement where it is stated that Gerry sent Matthew to the reception, and the 7th September statement, where he states that he himself went, before returning to the apartment.

3 Matthew Oldfield’s statements of 4th and 10th May, are silent on this point. Neither statement goes into details of any search.

4 Matthew Oldfield’s rogatory interview a year later states that both he and Gerry went to Reception, apparently independently. [5]

BBC TV interview

A fortnight after Gerry’s second statement, on 25th May 2007, the McCanns were interviewed by Jane Hill of the BBC.
The clip may be viewed on YouTube


Transcript -

Jane Hill: "I met people who didn't go to work for more than a week because everyday they were down on the beach, searching the streets. Did you, as a mother Kate, just sometimes think 'I've got to go and be out there with them. I want to go and just physically look as well."

Kate: “(Pause) I mean, I did. Errm... (Long Pause) Errm, we'd been working really hard really. Apart... I mean, the first 48 hours, as Gerry said, are incredibly difficult and we were almost non-functioning, I'd say, errm, but after that you get strength from somewhere. We've certainly had loads of support and that's given us strength and its been able to make us focus really so we have actually, in our own way, it might not be physically searching but we've been working really hard and doing absolutely everything we can, really, to get Madeleine back."

Gerry: Made no reply.


1 The parents are being given every opportunity to say publicly what searches they had done. They have the opportunity to emphasise, for example, that Kate had remained to look after the twins and that Gerry had searched extensively. They have the opportunity to explain in great detail what they had done.

2 They remain silent.

3 They do not mention anything which appears in the following extract from
the book, “madeleine”, by Kate McCann, published in 2011.

p. 73 Gerry, David, Russell and Matt split into pairs and dashed around the adjacent apartment blocks, meeting back at our flat within a couple of minutes.

p. 80 On my insistence, Gerry and Dave went out again to look for some sign of Madeleine. They went up and down the beach in the dark, running, shouting, desperate to find something;

p. 81 I walked briskly up and down Rua Dr Agostinho da Silva, sometimes breaking into a jog, clinging to the hope that I’d spot something in the dark.

p. 81 Back in the apartment the cold, black night enveloped us all for what seemed like an eternity. Dianne and I sat there just staring at each other, still as statues. ‘It’s so dark,’ she said again and again. ‘I want the light to come.’ I felt exactly the same way. Gerry was stretched out on a camp bed with Amelie asleep on his chest. He kept saying, ‘Kate, we need to rest.’ He managed to drift off but only briefly, certainly for less than an hour. I didn’t even try. I couldn’t have allowed myself to entertain sleep. I felt Madeleine’s terror, and I had to keep vigil with her. I needed to be doing something, but I didn’t know where to put myself. I wandered restlessly in and out of the room and on to the balcony.
At long last, dawn broke.

p. 83 Friday 4 May. Our first day without Madeleine. As soon as it was light Gerry and I resumed our search. We went up and down roads we’d never seen before, having barely left the Ocean Club complex all week. We jumped over walls and raked through undergrowth. We looked in ditches and holes. All was quiet apart from the sound of barking dogs, which added to the eeriness of the atmosphere. I remember opening a big dumpster-type bin and saying to myself, please God, don’t let her be in here. The most striking and horrific thing about all this was that we were completely alone. Nobody else, it seemed, was out looking for Madeleine. Just us, her parents.
We must have been out for at least an hour before returning to David and Fiona’s apartment . . .


1 This is the first occasion on which we are told that the parents searched.

2 None of these details were included in any statement, nor in any interview prior to publication.

3 If we add the total time spent by the parents in searching, we find “a couple of minutes,” plus a “run up and down the beach”, plus “a brisk walk up and down the road”, plus “at least an hour”.
Total search time, it seems, no longer than 1 hour 45 min.

4 It is entirely unclear why Kate would need to insist that Gerry went out to search.

5 Matthew Oldfield’s rogatory interview does not say that he and Gerry were searching together. In the rogatory interview there is an ambiguous passage which may indicate that he and Gerry were together on the beach. [7]

6 It is also made clear that both parents spent the latter part of the night either sleeping (Gerry), or “keeping vigil” (Kate)

7 The use of the word “resumed” on p.83 is therefore questionable.


Note: Nos 1 - 5, and 7 may be found in

1 Witness statement of Kate Marie Healy, 4th May 2007,
Processos Vol I, pages 58-65

2 Witness statement of Gerald Patrick McCann, 4th May 2007,
Processos Vol I, pages 34 - 41

3 Witness statement of Gerald Patrick McCann, 10th May 2007, Processos Vol I, pages 891-903

4 Arguido questioning of Gerald Patrick McCann, 7th September 2007 Processos Vol IV, pages 2569-2578




The transcript of the Rogatory interview with Matthew Oldfield follows.
The “raw” transcript is given first, and then for ease of understanding the relevant parts are rendered in a more coherent form in Standard English

Matthew Oldfield, Rogatory Interview Leicestershire Police HQ, 9th April 2008.

Reference 5
Raw Transcript

Erm, at some point we were back and forth to the, to the reception as well. And I think what the reception probably did was ring the MARK WARNER people and say, there's somebody that's saying there's a child missing, because by that time there were lots of MARK WARNER people around, erm, and they were very good, they, you know, they obviously, you know, got there and that might have been the impetus that got them to ring the Police, if, because I understand that there is some discrepancy about when we thought we'd called the Police and when the Police were actually called and that might be that they went on the, on that route first and then went, I think it's Stuart HILL or, well the Manager, the sort of Manager got involved, that might have been when it occurred. Erm, so there was plenty of running around through the back streets and back to the apartment and then, you know, where's the, where are the Police, where are the Police, erm, and so went back down to the reception, this would have been about thirty minutes or so later, erm, back to reception, erm, and at that point, Gerry had come down as well, erm, and, erm, you know, was obviously, you know, sort of intermittently sort of calm and then completely, you know, hysterically upset, it was sort of, you know, it was sort of pretty sort of upsetting, because you didn't know what to really say, because you can't really say, you know, it's going to be okay, because, you know, you assume the worst and it's going to be particularly awful, you know, it's going, you know, some, erm, person's got, (inaudible), some xxxxxxx's got my, you know, got my daughter and she's so innocent.

Edited text
. . .we were back and forth to the reception as well.
And I think what the reception probably did was ring the MARK WARNER people and say there's somebody that's saying there's a child missing, because by that time there were lots of MARK WARNER people around,
and they were very good, that might have been the impetus that got them to ring the Police,
so there was plenty of running around through the back streets and back to the apartment and then [I] went back down to the reception, this would have been about thirty minutes or so later, and at that point Gerry had come down as well, and, was sort of intermittently calm and then completely hysterically upset . . .

Reference 7
Edited text

Reply "No I don’t remember much about the weather on that night, I’m just thinking more about when we were actually running along the beach and along the front doing the search and I don’t recall it being particularly windy .