“Martha? I’m stepping out on the balcony for a smoke. Hey, Martha, come here! What the hell is that man doing at that window? You see right there? He’s busting in the window? Martha, go call the police! Hey, he’s crawling in flat….must be planning to steal…oh, my god, Martha! Tell the police he’s carrying out a child! I’m running downstairs! Maybe I can stop him!”
(The above is an imagined scenario for those who are pretended to not understand this...clearly I am just trying to make a point).
Yes, you are looking at Apartment 5A, the very apartment the McCanns were renting on May 3rd, 2007. The time is 10 pm on February 12, 2012. The photo was taken from the third floor of the building across the street. There was some shrubbery along the left wall of the parking lot that has been removed but the view of the McCanns door and window would not have been obscured (I must add since I have been rightly corrected and I have doublechecked the photos at that time, there are trees also lining the back side on the street, it is difficult to say today if one is high up looking down from one balcony or the other, who can see the window). My purpose of this photo was to show that the window and door of 5A was not a location that was as hidden from view as one might think.
Predators who crawl in and out windows tend to choose windows that look out on dark empty spaces or are nowhere near other buildings. For example, a predator might break in on the back side of an apartment building that has no lights and nothing but a deserted lot behind. A predator might crawl in the back window of an isolated house. But the 5A window was on a corner with traffic going by, on a parking lot which people are driving in and out of, under other apartment windows, across from other apartments and next to other apartments. Partially obscured from some angles, the predator knows the window is not obscured at other angles. He may not know exactly who can see him and who can't. For example, there is a break in the trees where the drive comes into the parking lot and through which the window can be seen. Just knowning that there is an apartment building looming over one's crime area for people to look down on you (either breaking in or out or leaving the area with a child) would be unnerving. Any predator would be smarter going in the back door which is far easier to slip in and out of and not be seen.
The lights on the buildings and in the streets turn the building into a veritable fishbowl (some claim massive lighting improvement since that day but I have heard that it has not changed much). What idiot would think breaking in the window at Apartment 5A or carrying a child out of that window or even the door next to it would be a terribly bright idea? One thing kidnappers know is there are enough human fish in the sea that one doesn’t have to abduct someone under such risky conditions.
There are those who note the style of lamps in town have changed (from globe-shaped to the more boxy style now seen) and there are a couple of added lights to the McCann building. True, but this does not mean that the location was dark and dismal and a predator would be able to skulk around unseen. From my third floor apartment, I can clearly see the windows in the building on the other side of the road from the McCanns and it has no added lights at all. It is not clear that the change of street lamp has significantly increased lighting (some say it has and some say it hasn't - I haven't found statistics on this) but, suffice it to say, if it was good enough light for Jane Tanner to see a man carrying a little child off at a distance and be able to describe his clothes and hers, then it is possible for many others to see this man as well. He would know this and choosing so public a location to abduct a child would be unusual. Finally, it was a full moon night, so the lighting may have been even better than normal (though not necessarily that early, but a predator may not be thinking of that because the night before moonrise was earlier and we don´t even know if he might have not gotten an opportunity - if he did - until two hours later.
The next picture shows the front side of the apartment building with close-up of the window of Apartment 5A. I am standing in the doorway. Can you see how bright it is at night? (Again that light may be deceptive as it was added , but you can see how exposed the window is on a path people are coming out of their apartments on and at the end of that wall is the entrance from the parking lot, not to mention a full moon shining down on white buildings and light-colored walks). What would Mr. Predator do if he crawled out of the window with a child to find a car pulling in to park right there in the lot? He would be trapped. He still has to walk down that little path, turn right out the opening into the parking lot, come back down along the wall, then cross the parking lot, go out of the parking lot, turn right and walk down to the corner and cross the street - where Jane Tanner supposedly saw him.
It is also worth noting that there is a lack of proper photos and videos from that night or even the next, so we don't know the exact conditions. Furthermore, we cannot trust what photos and videos show us because they can be brightened or darkened according to what the presented of these evidences want the audience to think. Supporters of the abduction theory may want Jane Tanner´s sighting area to be brightened and the window darkened. Nonsupporters of the abduction theory may want Jane Tanner's sighting area to be pitch black and the window sitting in a spotlight. So, we likely will have difficulty in knowning the reality. However, and again, the predator does what is wisest and I still have to say that the front of 5A is not the choice a predator should make when the back door, the supposedly open sliding back door, exists and cuts down on ones visibility leaving the residence and escaping from the area.
This picture shows the corner where Jane Tanner sees a man cross the street coming from the apartment, child in his outstretched hands. If you were an abductor, would you be comfortable choosing to walk out in the open, across the well-light street with three people on it? Would you at least think walking the other direction hugging the wall might be a bit smarter, maybe cut down your chances of being seen? (The abuctor MAY have seen just seen the backs of Gerry and Jez as he peeped around the corner and stepped out just as Jane came out of the Tapas door and up the street getting caught in her sight line.) But walking the other direction is much safer and smarter unless one has no choice).
Robert Murat, the only other Arguido (suspect) in the case, lived on a couple blocks down the way in the direction Jane Tanner claimed the man carrying a child was walking. But, Robert Murat was a known individual in town and many people in Praia da Luz own places here or rent for a long period of time and return year after year. Would someone who knows people might recognize him walk down well-lit streets - his face totally exposed – straight to his own house? He would have to have an IQ far below 70 to think this would be clever.
If anyone took a child from the apartment, it would be smarter to walk the opposite way of the man Jane Tanner claims to have seen. Here you can see the wall I just mentioned that he could walk very close to and be out of sight of anyone looking down from the tall apartment building across the street. Even more intelligent would be for an abductor to leave the back of the apartment by the sliding glass doors and hurry down the enclosed path which leads up to the parking area at the front of the apartment and go out at the end of the street and onward to the darker end of the road. It is exactly this path that leads to the Smith sighting.
Praia da Luz is a very cozy, brightly lit, off-the-main road very small and charming resort town. No sex ring is going to choose this location to target children. A child sex predator might lurk about here but he would be wiser abducting a child from the outskirts of the town or in pretty much any other nearby village. There are some darker side streets further to the edge of the town that a predator or someone carrying a child would be a bit less visible . Apartment 5A would rank pretty much at the bottom of any abductor’s list of places to grab a kid. The only reason someone would remove a child from 5A would be of necessity. Then he would never take the route Jane Tanner claimed she saw the man carrying a child.
More on the most likely route one would take to carry Madeleine from Apartment 5A in my next blog.
Criminal Profiler Pat Brown