Thursday, October 4, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: "The Moment Madeleine was Taken."

One has to be careful when analyzing from a distance if a particular person or persons is exhibiting guilt concerning the commission of a crime. Until there is hard physical evidence linking a perpetrator or perpetrators to a crime, the case is tried in court and a conviction is handed down by a jury or judge, all is still speculation.

I am asked over and over if I think the McCanns are guilty of the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine. I always answer that I cannot say for sure because at this point I haven’t a clue as to the veracity of any of the information coming out of the European tabloid machines. I have to say I have been rather appalled by any media spawning so many “facts” that turn out to be just hearsay. It is not like proposing a theory: speculation is not claiming knowledge and is not lying, but stating something is a fact when it is not, is egregious and the media should not be doing this.

Let’s look at the supposed facts: if the DNA from Madeleine in the hire car exists, the McCanns are guilty as hell. If there is blood from Madeleine on the stairs, this only proves she was injured but not by who. If there are sedatives in her hair, this is pretty damning. So much for the “facts.” Let’s turn toward the McCanns and their behaviors. Behavioral evidence is not conclusive evidence. It is useful in determining investigative avenues to focus on and interview methodology. It is circumstantial evidence and can lend weight to a case in court but rarely can stand alone without physical evidence to support guilt. As a criminal profiler, behavioral evidence is extremely important in analyzing any case and advising police investigators of its meaning within the context of the case.

The McCanns narcissistic behavior is concerning, but they could be narcissistic people who have had they child abducted. One thing I have learned about the family of victims of horrible crimes; whatever you were like before your loved one went missing is exactly what you are like afterward. You don’t change. So, if you are a really aggressive person before the crime, you are likely going to be aggressive afterwards and fight to see the crime solved. If you were extremely passive before the incident, you might simply allow the police to do the work and hardly lift a finger. If you were a soft touch previously, you may sob your way through a television appearance. If you were a tough cookie, you may come off as a cold, uncaring, and possibly guilty of wrongdoing.

The McCanns appear pretty narcissistic in their behaviors after Madeleine’s disappearance. They worry about their physiques, their clothing, hair, and jewelry, and they like a lot of attention. But, this is exactly how they were before Maddy went missing, so I am not surprised they are acting this way. Their rather off-putting behavior does not mean they are guilty of anything more than child neglect.

But, I have been going back over the actual interviews of Gerry and Kate McCann and one statement sticks in my craw and bugs the devil out of me. It is the one thing that makes me lean toward their guilt even without any physical evidence. This is what Gerry said:

“We felt our actions were responsible. We were essentially performing our own baby listening service although we have talked of the guilt we felt at not being there at the moment Madeleine was taken.”

Maybe Gerry just misspoke. Maybe it is similar to the ear pulling thing he did when he denied that he and Kate gave Madeleine sedatives; maybe his ear just itched at that moment and he wasn’t lying. Maybe it is like when they left their twins to jet off to see the Pope claiming it was no big deal because their children were in a safe location, the very same town the abductor of their other child might still be loose in; that statement doesn’t necessarily mean they know that no real kidnapper is out there. Or when Gerry said that he and his wife Kate were "100 per cent confident" of each other's innocence,” maybe this strange wording for parents who child is abducted while they spent the evening in each other’s company, maybe I am reading more into it than is necessary. So, maybe this particular statement of Gerry’s is also just an odd choice of words. It doesn’t prove guilt. But, it does continue to force me to look at them as suspects in the real meaning of the word.


It is not because he and Kate still think that leaving their children alone is not wrong. We know they have never felt leaving tiny toddlers to fend for themselves constitutes neglect. They have said that over and over. Clearly, they are never going to accept responsibility for their horrendous actions that night. But, firstly, what Gerry admits in that statement is they were only “listening” at the door, not looking in to see if their children are all right. If they are not actually observing their children, they would not know if they were sick, injured, or missing from the room. Gerry has moved away from saying they actually checked on their children to some rather vague “listening” methodology, perhaps, one so distant, that he meant they were close enough that they should be able to hear one of the kids if they left the room screaming for them. Not only that, Gerry basically admits the window for “kidnapping” Madeleine is a whole lot larger than thirty minutes. She could have been “taken” five minutes after they left the children in bed if they never “saw” them again until Kate finally decides to not just listen at the door but actually look in on her children. But, more importantly, if Madeleine actually died during the time of the “listening” checks or her body removed during the time of the “listening” checks, it behooves the parents to carefully skirt around having to lie about “seeing” Madeleine earlier during the evening via visual checks on the children.
But, even this bit of information is not the big problem. It is the very last part of the sentence that rings warning bells to me:

“….although we have talked of the guilt we felt at not being there at the moment Madeleine was taken.”

First, let’s look at what Gerry McCann did NOT say:

“We are horrified that we left our little girl alone and made it easy for a predator to kidnap her.”

Okay, that statement would be normal for a nonnarcissit and one who accepts responsibility for their actions, so maybe we shouldn’t think Gerry would say that. But, one might think he should have at least said this:
”..although we have talked of the guilt we felt at not realizing it was unsafe to leave Madeleine alone and because we were naive, we feel guilt that Madeleine was taken while we innocently left her unattended.”

This would be a pretty good statement, but, wait, I have to say, again, they are too narcissistic to admit to this large a mistake, so I would guess this is why Gerry didn’t say that either. BUT, let’s see examine what Gerry REALLY did say and why it is important and very concerning.

“…the guilt we felt at not being there AT THE MOMENT MADELEINE WAS TAKEN.”

First of all, Gerry, IF one of you had been there with Madeleine, there would be NO MOMENT WHEN MADELEINE WAS TAKEN. It simply could not have occurred. If one of you had been there, either the abductor would have simply turned around and given up the idea or you would have fought with the abductor to save Madeleine. She could NOT HAVE BEEN TAKEN if you were there.

Let’s analyze further. There are two very important words here: MOMENT and TAKEN.

First of all, Madeleine couldn’t have been taken in a MOMENT by an abductor. It would have taken quite a few moments to grab the child out of the bed, struggle with her, climb out a window, and carry her off.

Secondly, she wouldn’t have just been TAKEN. She would have been ABDUCTED, STOLEN, or KIDNAPPED.
TAKEN is an interesting passive word. Theoretically, it could just be Gerry and Kate trying to feel less guilty about a child predator abducting a screaming and terrified Madeleine. Maybe the word, TAKEN, just feels less awful. But, then again, maybe TAKEN is what they really mean. Maddy may have been taken from life and Gerry and Kate may feel guilt over the MOMENT that occurred. Alternatively, if they really did have help moving her body and Kate really did scream “THEY have taken Madeleine,” maybe they feel guilt over not being there at the MOMENT Madeleine was TAKEN from the room and hidden elsewhere. Perhaps, this is exactly why no one was supposed to look in on the children and why the doors were left unlocked. Maybe, the “feeling” Gerry has that a man was in the room is accurate because he set the whole thing up. But I digress.

If the MOMENT refers to a time when Kate and Gerry were off partying and Madeleine suffered a serious injury from falling down the steps or had overdosed on sedatives, they might feel guilty they were not there at that MOMENT because as doctors, had they been there at that MOMENT, they might have been able to administer medical care and save Maddy’s life. Gerry then would be admitting that MOMENTS do count and leaving your child unattended for even a MOMENT can effectively contribute to the child’s death.
Worse yet, if the McCanns were there when Madeleine died and Gerry is referring to feeling bad about not being there the MOMENT her body was moved, then one of them killed her in a fit of rage or overdosed her with sedatives before going out for the evening. This parent clearly would not be viewing themselves at fault for the incident and the other parent is one heck of a pushover and enabler. This can happen when one of the couple is desperate enough to stay in the relationship, protect one’s professional life, or keep a perfect social or personal image. Considering the great deal of minimization the McCanns have done since their daughter went missing, it is really not that big a stretch to imagine one of them acting in such a fashion.

Regardless of which scenario might be true, I think Gerry may have told the exact truth with this statement: that he and Kate DO feel guilty for

“… not being there at the MOMENT Madeleine was TAKEN.”

Does the fact, and this is an actually fact, that Gerry says he and his wife feel guilt over not being there at the MOMENT Madeleine was TAKEN– does this statement of Gerry’s mean they are guilty of Madeleine’s disappearance?

No, but it sure doesn’t help me spend a lot of time looking harder at Robert Murat and if there is much more damning information from the interviews with the McCanns, their friends, the employee of the hotel, and the physical evidence then we know of, one can’t blame the Portuguese police for not spending much time looking at him either. They would only be looking for Madeleine’s body or enough other physical evidence to charge the McCanns in the death of their daughter and subsequent obstruction of justice in hiding their daughter’s body and misleading the police investigation.

If the McCanns are innocent of having anything to do with Maddy’s disappearance, I feel sorry that they have had to suffer all the allegations on top of the anguish of losing a daughter. However, I feel much sorrier for Madeleine, who would have had to suffer through a horrible sexual assault and a violent end to her life because of willful neglect of her parents.

The McCanns are reaping what they sowed and there are responsible for the results of their actions. They only anger they should express is towards themselves, not the police or public trying to find out what happened to Maddy, and they only horror they should feel should be at their own actions and the horrible hurt it brought to their innocent little girl.

But the McCanns apparently feel negative emotions toward themselves over only one issue:


Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

Photo courtesy of Google images


Anonymous said...

You raise some excellent points, Pat.

The McCanns certainly do say strange things, like Gerry McCann comparing the situation to having a student overdraft in an interview, or explaining in his blog that at least they can sleep better, now the weather has improved.

I believe that try as they may to create a charade, they frequently reveal themselves for the narcissists they are.

In my view, they live in a fantasy world where by pretending to look for Madeleine, they receive comfort and sympathy from all around them, a sort of Munchausen's effect, keeping their pride and their reputations intact, which is the most important thing to them.

In searching for Madeleine and denying any wrong doing, they can pretend to themselves Madeleine will be found and they are not what those around them would be disgusted by if the truth was revealed. They have no choice but to keep up their fantasy. It is a fantasy they can almost believe themselves. This is all about saving themselves from seeing their own selves in the mirror. They are in denial.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...

I tend to wholeheartedly agree with your analysis. Nothing about their behavior sits right and their reactions to what goes on around them seems to come more from calculated responses to how they are being viewed by the public and the police. For example, even though Kate said she has had no problem sleeping and is trying to live as normal a life as possible, suddenly, probably in reaction to people's disbelief that grieving people rarely would act that way, Kate says she is crying daily. I remember a Deaf MSP patient of mine I interpreted for at the hospital, who would quiz me as to what a mother does with a child. Then, when the doctor ask her how things were going with her little one, she would repeat,verbatim, what I had said in the waiting room! (read books, play Candyland, do artwork with clay, etc.) Kate now asks a child psychologist how she should be the best parents to the twins under the circumstances because she doesn't want to do things wrong. Is this the same woman who still thinks leaving her children alone to be "taken" is okay?

Yes, I think it is a highly internalized act by both the McCanns. Very well orchestrated one hopes they are wrong about their guilt.


Anonymous said...

Yes, they repeat phrases as if they have been rehearsing them and yet they still say things that make them appear suspicious. It is as if they have no grasp of what is regarded as normal they are so detached from reality.

This was noticable in the first TV interviews at the end of May. These interviews rang alarm bells for many people.

It is not for anyone to say how others should react if their child is "abducted," but the phrases and the logic they used to excuse leaving the children alone "like being in the back garden" and Gerry McCann's "student overdraft" analogy was very strange to say the least.

Then we have Gerry McCann explaining that what they did was "within the boundaries of good parenting" as confirmed by "the authorities."

It isn't as if the McCanns are a pair of irresponsible underage parents who are clueless about looking after children. They are both doctors. Both highly trained in the caring profession. One week away from home without the extra help they are used to and they cannot deal with the responsibilities of parenting.

If they put their heads in their hands and pleaded for other parents not to make the same mistake as them, the public would have a lot more sympathy. But they will not cross that line of admitting they did anything wrong. Instead they would like us to think thousands do it and their only fault was being unlucky.

One has to ask why this is. Is it partly because they must also protect their friends who also left their children alone and agreed to come up with stories about that night to protect the McCanns and therefore themselves?

None of the stories have any ring of truth. From the story of the friend who was away during much of the evening and returned to carry on socialising leaving his daughter alone who had been sick, to Gerry McCann saying he checked on his children, but did not actually check to see where Madeleine was.

Then there is the story of the friend who said she saw a man carrying what she later realised was Madeleine and she could describe every detail of the man seen from behind in dim light as he was hurrying away, from his classically styled shoes, his pants, his shirt, his hair style, his height and his age. Yet the sighting was so insignificant she returned to the Tapas bar to carry on socialising. So how could she recall all those details?

The Portugese police are reported to have said on the night of May 3rd, that it was a "story badly told." Even the shutter story has been debunked by the police and the resort management. So how did the abductor get in? "Oh we left the patio undoors unlocked." Again no ring of truth or logic...unless it was a fictional abduction.

There is nothing the McCanns say and nothing the friends are reported to have said that I can believe.

I am not a psychologist, but I am an actor and a writer and
If I was creating a character I would expect to create a fully fledged three-dimensional character that did not slip out of character to reveal the actor behind the mask.

One cannot presume them guilty until proven so, but through their own behaviour they certainly make themselves look guilty.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...

I continue to like your thinking and I think you are quite a fine psychologist! (Probably better than a number of the daft ones out there in the world).

As to the sighting of the friend who saw the "man running with the little girl." Isn't it highly suspect that when Kate comes back after her check on Madeleine and screams, "They've taken her," this "friend" didn't cry out, "Oh my God, I think that must have been Madeleine I saw being carted off!" Instead, she just kept that to herself for a day or two or three and, meanwhile, while the kidnapper was off raping and murdering Madeleine, the "friend" was helping Kate waste precious time while searching for a lost child (even though Kate, and, Gerry, AND the "friend" now all KNOW Maddy has been abducted. No sense calling the police right off, is there?


Anonymous said...

I agree Pat. By the way, what a splendid blog you have here.

Yes, the delayed memory syndrome.

And how odd Kate left the twins alone after one child had already been abducted, allegedly, unless it was a fabricated abduction.

How odd Kate claimed she was screaming for Madeleine in the apartment, yet the twins still kept sleeping, unless they were sedated.

And according to Kate in interview, the apartment was only twenty yards away from the Tapas bar and they could see the apartment. So, unless that was another pack of lies, why did she even have to leave the apartment to get help? She could have surely just screamed for help from the balcony and Gerry would have seen her!

Funny but the delayed memory syndrome happens time and time again in this case.

Jane Tanner's story of a man escaping into the night. Seemed to have been delayed to put Murat in the frame. Later Mr McCann's sisters' tell millions of TV viewers it was "definitely Madeleine," proving the McCanns innocent.

Gerry McCann's story that he thought the kidnapper was already in the apartment. Guess What? Story delayed until after the McCanns had fled Portugal like a pair of common criminals. The police have stated that the McCanns are required to inform them if they have any new recollections, but the McCanns do not bother to inform them of this delayed memory. Always "happy to co-operate" with the police, they do not even answer police questions, yet give the media new stories that the police have not heard.

Cuddle Cat being a major clue according to the McCanns, being placed out of reach of Madeleine. Story delayed until after Cuddle cat had been carried around for months and washed.

Every story they come up with is discredited by their own words.

Then we have numerous sightings of Madeleine. All are positive it was Madeleine but none of the witnesses called out her name or followed her and her kidnappers. Some waited weeks to tell anyone.

Now I am not saying all these people who believed they saw Madeleine, made it up, but I would say all of them did not see Madeleine and obviously had no real conviction at the time that they really had seen her.

Gerry McCann knows that if you put pictures of Madeleine on every supermarket trolley in Portugal and Spain, people will start to claim they have seen her, even if she is not even alive.

I give him credit for being a master manipulator, to perpetuate a myth so successfully and involve the British Prime Minister, the Pope, the Whitehouse, millionaires, JK Rowling and David Beckham. Some have even said that his manipulation skills suggest he must be a genius.

I am reminded of peadophiles who can manipulate all around them, appearing as the friendly loving parent, relative or family friend of a child, while abusing the child. They will stop at nothing to perpetuate their lies and to build a protective shield around them to hide the truth.

There are few facts that are reportedly verified by independent witnesses.

One is that Gerry McCann was seen outside the apartment that evening by his tennis partner, Jeremy Wilkins. What we also know is that according to Gerry, he did NOT check on his children. He has admitted he did not check on Madeleine. He did not even check to see what room she was in.

So if he was not checking on the children and we know he was there, what was he doing at the apartment? What business did he have to be there if he was not there to check on his children?

It seems to me he was probably double checking the crime scene had nothing incriminating laying around and he was probably opening the shutter from the inside to set the stage for the abduction.

This is the only logical explanation, as both the police and Mark Warner staff have stated it is not possible the shutter was opened from the outside and there is no evidence it was "jemmied" as the McCann family were told to repeat to the British media.

If by chance he should read your blog, maybe he can tell us what he was doing at the apartment during dinner if he wasn't there to open the shutter or to check on his children.

Maybe he can have another delayed memory and think up an even more ridiculous explanation than those he has already provided.

Anonymous said...

Kate & Gerry from the beginning have both behaved like parents whose child had died through no fault of theirs. They have never behaved like parents of an abducted child. They don't have the haunted look in their eyes that such parents have, they are not constantly unconsciously or consciously looking for her when they are out and about, they happily leave the twins to be minded by others.

They behave like parents whose child has died, who feel no responsibility for the death and who have accepted their child's death. They make jokes like Kate's comment about Madeleine giving her tuppence worth to the abductor.

When I first heard Gerry's statement that they feel guilty for "... not being there at the MOMENT Madeleine was TAKEN" to me it meant that they feel guilt that they weren't there WITH her at the MOMENT she DIED. Taken is a common euphemism for died. They steadfastly refuse to see their behaviour as neglect but no doubt felt sadness and a sense of guilt that they weren't with her when she passed on. Given their refusal to see their behaviour as neglect that statement is understandable if Madeleine died accidentally while her parents were dining, maybe by falling while trying to retrieve her cuddle cat that had been placed out of reach in her parents room, and is supported if the reports of a blood spray pattern consistent with a broken neck are true. If it happened this way Kate may not have discovered her body when she came back to check on her and Kate's cry of 'they've taken her' was because she at first thought Madeleine been taken by the staff, a neighbour or the pj. They had been pointedly offered babysitting services and there had been complaints made about Madeleine crying for long periods when the children were left alone. That would also explain why she left the twins in the room when she rushed back to the restaurant.

Anonymous said...

But come on.. there was no time to come up with a story between them, hide the body and then put on a brave face and finish off their tapas. Then to hide her for weeks with media folowing them everyhwere. Of course the y would say "moment" - surely that is how they would see it, someone came in took Madeleine and left. Interesting theories but no... don't think so.

Someone in Portugal said...

"But come on.. there was no time to come up with a story between them, hide the body and then put on a brave face and finish off their tapas. Then to hide her for weeks with media folowing them everyhwere. Of course the y would say "moment" - surely that is how they would see it, someone came in took Madeleine and left. Interesting theories but no... don't think so."

Well, I think when they went to the Tapas Bar, the body was already concealed and when Gerry went back to check at 9pm, he just came back to finish the "crime-scene" re-arrangements.

Let's face it, this pair lacks absolute conscience on how to look after kids. They were neglecting them night after night, leaving them alone. During the day, that was easy: they were dumped at the Ocean Club's creche. Something happened right after they went to pick her up at the creche and they (or at least Kate) started to panick. What to do when you have a good career and everybody can see you're nothing than a child neglector? Let's "hide" it from everybody! We will tell the world she was taken by a kidnapper and use our "good friends" to help putting this case on top of news. What is also odd is the fact Gerry wanted to speak with the Priest at 4 am. Why? Was the Priest going to find her?

Probably what they weren't expecting was the snow-ball effect.

To finish this comment, there's something I would like to tell as well: they have used the Portuguese people the much as they could and they've always spat on their faces. They've always focused the Media Campaign on the British Press, forgetting Madeleine was "abducted" in Portugal. This speaks volumes....
(sorry for my broken English).

Anonymous said...

To the poster above. You raise some interesting points!

Yes, why did Gerry want to see the priest? Very good question. This may be significant. It is reported by Sol that Gerry asked where the church was.

How could he not know how to get to the church if he was at Chaplins two days before (right next door to the church) or if he went down the main road to the beach again by the church.

How could he not know where the church is? Did he only ask where it was to create a charade that he did not know where the church was?

Did he go to the church (or somewhere near or en-route to the church) to check that Madeleine was
sufficiently hidden?

A paranoia is bound to creep in if he had hidden the body. He would feel compelled to check that scene as he would feel compelled to double check the scene of the apartment before the charade began.

If I was the police I would want to check every square inch of the area
leading to the church and the beach and immediate areas.

I would also be interested in what happened on the night of May 28th, the day the hire car was allegedly first hired and the day before the McCanns flew to Rome to meet the Pope and start their European publicity tour.

Why did they hire a car just before they were about to leave? Did they need to hire car for a particular reason? Obviously it wasn't to look for Madeleine. They had three weeks without a car after Madeleine disappeared and then needed one immediately when they found out they were having to leave PDL for the first nights since May 3rd.

Where did they go on the night of May 28th?

erica said...

Pat, why aren't you working on this case?

And why can't those cops find any decent evidence?