No one likes to think of an abducted child as being dead, least of all the parents. Even detectives on a case hold out hope that a kidnapped juvenile will be found alive and returned home to his or her family. Police officers deal enough every day with sad endings and they cross their fingers and hope that this time, they will save a child's life, not find her skeleton in the weeds along the side of a road. They would like to triumphantly reunite the child with her parents, not knock on the door and deliver the dreaded message to the poor mother and father.
But, then there is reality. Most stranger abductions don't end well unless you stop them in progress. Unfortunately, the statistics out there on child abduction are vague and distorted. In spite of stranger child abduction being a major fear of parents the world over, it is hard to the actual facts on the issue. Here are the only bits I could find on the statistics:
115 children were the victims of “stereotypical” kidnapping. (These crimes involve someone the child does not know or someone of slight acquaintance, who holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.)
- 40% of children in stereotypical kidnappings are killed.
- 4% of children are never found.
- 79% kidnappings are carried out by strangers and 21% by acquaintances.
Very few are toddlers or little girls from ages three to five. There seem to be no exact statistics on the age of the children abducted, by whom, and what happened to them. So, in lieu of finding these, I put out a challenge to the folks that believe statistics support Madeleine McCann being alive. I asked people to give me the names of little girls who had been abducted by total strangers who were found alive after months or years. So, far I have had only one name given to me; Tara Burke, a toddler who was found alive ten months after she was abducted by a sexual predator duo. This crime was 29 years ago in 1982.
I can, however, name little girl after little girl who was abducted by a stranger and was found dead in the following days, weeks, months, or years. But, so far, I have only been given the name of one child victim over a period of three decades who was found alive. I am sure there are a few more but the point I am making is there are incredibly few of these cases with a "happy ending" in comparison to little abducted girls who have been murdered by their kidnappers. Yes, a few preteen and teen girls have been found alive after being abducted: Jaycee Dugard, Elizabeth Smart, Natascha Kampusch - these girls were kept as sex slaves and were at an age the rapist viewed them as "young women" who should enjoy being taught sex techniques and could learn how to please the captor. Little three-year-old girls like Madeleine McCann are not going to do well in the "girlfriend" department and will lie there and cry and scream. Little girls are raped and murdered almost 100% of the time. Sad but true.
Therefore, if Madeleine McCann was indeed kidnapped by a stranger, there is very little possibility she was alive even three hours later. Does that mean a truly good tip should be ignored that points in the direction that she is alive and held captive somewhere? Of course not. She could be the one in whatever high number that wasn't murdered. But, detectives have to be realistic when it comes to using resources. They can't waste millions of dollars and massive hours of manpower running down ridiculous sightings and unlikely scenarios.
Likewise, Gerry and Kate McCann should tell donators that, although they hope Madeleine will be the miracle child recovered alive this decade, they recognize the chances of that happening are very, very slim. Then, if people want to contribute to finding a perpetrator who might have taken Maddie and killed her (to get justice and save other little girls), they can do that. If they want to give money in spite of the horribly poor odds of finding Madeleine alive, this is their choice. But the McCanns should tell the truth and donators should know it.
The McCanns, if they didn't have anything to do with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann and want to find her and who took her, they ought to be using donations to look for a dead child in Praia da Luz buried in someone's backyard.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown