Friday, October 26, 2007

Criminal Profiling Topic of the Day: Who Should be the Suspects in the McCann Case?


One of the problems with trying to understand what has happened in a crime is being on the outside of the police investigation and not knowing the whole truth of what is going on. My speculation, as is true with all of us outside the investigation, professionals included, is based on limited information. Having said that, sometimes the police have the same problem. They may have limited information due to lack of evidence, lying witnesses, incorrect scientific conclusions, altered crime scenes (staged or accidentally altered), etc. So they actually are in the same boat, only a better constructed and less leaky one.

So, in a sense, it is a struggle to solve a crime, from the inside or outside. We theorize, search for evidence, theorize some more, search for evidence, and so on, until, hopefully, we have evidence conclusive enough to affect an arrest and conviction. Sometimes the evidence never reaches that state and, even if the police are pretty darn sure who is guilty, they still cannot arrest them or they know they cannot get a conviction.

As to the professionalism of the PJ's investigation, I cannot comment on that. They may have failed in some respects and done well in some respects. I don't have enough information. Generally speaking, most police departments will claim they do an excellent job following procedure, but in reality, sometimes it is less than perfect because police officers are human and vary in skill and competence. I have worked with some police departments that have done awesome work and others that make me cringe. Sometimes it is a lack of finances; sometimes it is departmental inefficiency; sometimes you just have a sad bunch of not to bright blokes. Every profession suffers these problems. Every profession tries to do their best with what they have and most police departments want to be a credit to their profession and work to be so.

To the McCann case; I don't have a clue as to the physical evidence or timeline because of police silence and all the rumors. Therefore it is really hard to actually analyze how the crime went down. But, I will go ahead with what I generally think on the matter.

    • Maddie is unlikely to have wandered off and drowned.
    • Maddie was unlikely to have been kidnapped by a pedophile ring.
    • Maddie is unlikely to have wandered off and been abducted though that COULD have happened (if there is no physical evidence of harm or death coming to Maddie in the apartment). If this is true, she is very likely dead.
    • Maddie could have been abducted by a child predator that lived nearby. If this is true, she is likely dead.
    • Maddie could have been medicated and died accidentally while her parents were at the restaurant. If this were true, the body of Maddie would have had to be moved from the flat and hidden or hidden within the flat prior to Kate’s cry that Maddie was missing. If this is true, Maddie is dead.
    • Maddie could have died accidentally prior to the McCann’s going to dinner, giving them more time to move or hide Maddie’s body. The time at the restaurant and the checks on the kids would establish an alibi and move the time of “disappearance” further from any possible witness sightings of earlier suspicious activities of the McCanns. If this is true, Maddie is dead.
    • Kate killed Maddie, purposefully, or in a rage, and Gerry came back from tennis and found Maddie dead. He helped cover up the crime. If this is so, Kate would likely suffer from Munchausen’s syndrome by Proxy (if she killed Maddie on purpose – MSP is the label for a female psychopath who harms or kills her children; husbands of MSP women tend to be detached and very oblivious or accepting of their wive’s behaviors) or another serious psychiatric disorder (if she killed Maddie accidentally). They could have removed or hidden Maddie’s body before going to dinner or the body could have been dealt with by Gerry during his checks on the children. If this is true, Maddie is dead.
    • Gerry came back and killed Maddie in a rage. If this is so, Gerry would be likely rate high on a psychopathy checklist and be very controlling). Maddie’s body would have been dealt with before or during the evening. If this is true, Maddie is dead.
    • Kate killed Maddie, purposefully, or in a rage, and moved or hid her body without Gerry’s knowledge. She would have had to manipulate Gerry into not noticing his daughter in bed (“Maddie’s already asleep, let’s go) before going to the restaurant. She would then possibly have hoped Gerry would do the checks and find Maddie missing, distancing herself from the crime. Maybe, if Gerry actually didn’t do visual checks, Kate finally got fed up and went and did the check herself. If this is so, Kate would likely suffer from Munchausen’s Syndrome by Proxy or another serious psychiatric disorder. If this is true, Maddie is dead.

These are all the possibilities I can think of based on very limited information,

I believe only two basic scenarios are worth spending much time on;

Maddie was taken by a child predator.
Maddie died in the apartment and the parents are covering up a crime.
In both cases, Maddie is likely dead.


Robert Murat is a good suspect. He should be kept on the suspect list (even if not officially) until there is evidence that contradicts his involvement in the disappearance of Maddie or until another person is arrested.
Police should continue investigating for the possibility of another child predator who could have been responsible for the disappearance of Maddie.
The McCanns are good suspects. They were the last people to have been known to see Maddie alive and their behaviors are very concerning. They should stay on the suspect list (even if not officially) until there is evidence that contradicts their involvement in the disappearance of Maddie or until another person is arrested.

Because of the following behaviors, I tend to lean toward the McCannd been involved with the disappearance, and therefore, death of their daughter, Maddie.


They left three very young children unattended while they pursued pleasure for themselves. This is a sign of narcissism and a lack of attachment to one’s children.

Both Kate and Gerry speak about Madeleine in a very impersonal and flat manner. Gerry writes nothing personal about Maddie on his blog. Maddie seems more like an abstraction than a real child. This is a sign of lack of normal attachment.

Kate states that the last words of Maddie before she went missing were “Today has been the best day of my life.” Maddie’s last words are unusual for a three-year-old girl. Kids that young don’t usually have a concept of their “life.” “I am having the best time,” and “I am having fun” are more normal statements for that age. Next, Kate says Maddie was “very pleased with her life,” also an odd comment for an adult to say of her child. Both statements lead me to believe Kate knows Maddie is dead because of her emphasis on the inclusion of the word “life,” as though there were a set of parentheses around the first day of her life and the last. Kate may want to convince herself that she gave Maddie a good life, right up until her last day, the best day of her life. Also, it is quite common for people involved in the death of a relative to exaggerate the perfection of their relationship or the last moments to insinuate that nothing negative was going on between the parties and, therefore, nothing untoward could have occurred.

The McCanns have never personally offered the reward on television or posted the reward at the web site. Almost all parents of missing children do this.

If Kate really believes Maddie is alive and being cared for in someone’s home, she would make continual direct pleas to the captor for Maddie's return (“Please just drop her off any public location…”). Almost all parents of missing children who believe they are alive will do this.

Neither Kate of Gerry have taken or indicate they will take a polygraph. Parents of missing children do this to clear themselves so the police will not waste time focusing on them.

Kate and Gerry appearances show little fluctuation in emotion (except when they feel they are being accused of drugging Maddie). Neither breaks down and cries or blurts out anything with emotion (“Maddie! We love you, honey! Don’t give up! We will find you!” Or “Please give us our Maddie back! Oh my God, please!”) Usually in a set of parents, we will see emotions bounce around, one of them falling apart, one becoming angry; with the McCanns their answers are carefully constructed and evenly relayed. Their appearances feel more like performances than parents desperately trying to reach out to their child, the kidnapper or the public. Yes, they are British, but even a stiff-upper lip tends not to look like this under these circumstances.

There are muted flashes of anger, frustration, and annoyance directed from one of the McCanns to the other during their interviews which is very unusual for parents of a missing child. There is a strong feeling of control rather than support between the couple.

Gerry McCann commented in one interview: “In about the middle of June things, about five or six weeks, things were going really very, very quiet and I was actually quite glad of that and I thought we would start to get back to a more normal existence and a quieter form of campaigning, using the Internet and raising and broadening the political issues which have been highlighted to us and I saw that as a long term focus.”

For a parent to have any interest in political issues so soon after his child has gone missing when the one and only concern should be finding their loved one, is extremely bizarre. That Gerry should see his long term focus at this point in time as a political one is also very concerning. This statement would be less concerning if a few years had passed and the McCanns, accepting they were likely never to find their daughter, wanted to do something to help others not suffer as they had and to do something in their daughter’s name. But, to think this way so early on indicates Gerry believes or knows his daughter is dead and indicates more self-interest than interest in his daughter’s welfare.

Gerry’s blog focuses very little on Madeleine and more on his and Kate’s activities. The cheery quality of the blog and self-centeredness of the content is a sign of disconnect between Gerry and Madeleine and a sign of having moved on as if Gerry knows Maddie is already dead.

Kate states she had trouble sleeping during the first five days after Maddie went missing but has been sleeping fine since. Very few parents of abducted children can sleep very well knowing their child might be in pain, crying, and scared. Kate’s ability to sleep infers she is not worrying about Maddie because Maddie is dead already (or has an inability to feel empathy for others).

The quick return to normal activities is unusual for parents of abducted children; most obsess continually and can’t think of anything else and have trouble going through the simplest routines of life.

Kate and Gerry left their twins in Portugal while they went to see the Pope. Most parents of abducted children would be paranoid to be away from their other children for fear something would happen to them. Furthermore, to leave your children in the exact location where your other child was taken, whether one had a relative with them or not, is odd for parents who believe the abductor of their missing child is in the very same vicinity.

The McCanns left Portugal as soon as they became Aguidos. If the only reason they were made suspects was a legal one so the police could ask them important questions to help them clear themselves, they should have stayed to continue to help the police put the matter straight and get the focus off of them.

Much of the PR campaign at this point appears to be responding to public opinion and trying to answer their suspicions about the innocence of the McCanns, not finding Madeleine. Even in the latest move, the television appearance of the McCanns did not make a plea to the abductor or send a message to Maddie. It appeared to be a show to prove Kate has emotions. Following the show, an artist’s rendition of a supposed suspect was released many months after he was said to have been seen by one of their friends. The release of the picture will be counterproductive to actually finding Maddie, as not only is it based on a very questionable witness sighting, but may have nothing to do with Maddie. Such a picture will only elicit droves of worthless tips and waste police time. This is an unwise choice of strategy unless the purpose is to distract the police from focusing on the McCanns.

It is possible that the McCanns suffer from certain psychiatric designations that causes them behave in a manner which makes then look guilty of involvement in the disappearance of Maddie when in actuality, they had no part in it. For this reason, I can only say, they are good suspects; I cannot label them guilty.


So, to recap, Madeleine McCann is 99% likely to be dead. My top suspects at this point, based on behavior and what information can be validated, are the McCanns. If I were a criminal profiler working with the police on the case, I would be focusing heavily on them as my investigative focus. However, I would not rule out the possibility of a child predator and, therefore, I would spend a portion of time pursuing leads and information that might prove this possibility to be true, and I would make sure I did not force fit any evidence to match my theories nor ignore any evidence that might point me away from those theories. As new evidence surfaced, I would take this into account, reanalyze the information, and adjust my conclusions accordingly.

I hope we will see progress soon in the investigation of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance, so the whole matter can be put the rest and justice will be seen for this little girl and those who love her.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown


    transfattyacid said...

    There was a reward offered - £2.5 million if my memory is correct. It came from various sources - the bulk came for the News of the World.

    Earlier in the investigation there was an attempt by a convicted child abusers Danilo Chemilo (sic) to give information in order to collect the reward. He and his girlfriend were wacthed at their home in southern spain, and arrested - children, not their own - were found in the house.

    Since then the reward has been played down.

    Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...

    Yes, the reward was offered but not by the McCanns. Most parents beg to go on television to announce rewards. If they are on a show, they will butt in on the interview to hold up a reward poster.

    Why would the McCanns want to play down reward money? Although I am not a big proponant of reward offerings, every parent I know wants to offer a reward. Probably, if my daughter vanished I would jump on that bandwagon in desperation.

    Anonymous said...

    The fact is nobody knows, including Pat Brown. If these parents are innocent and Madeleine was abducted, which is the most likely scenario, then just think of the suffering that has been heaped on them.

    Yes they were arrogant to go out and leave their chidren alone. Boy, have they paid for it and they will pay for the rest of their lives. Kate McCann has not accepted that Madeleine is likely dead.

    Will the police get to the bottom of it? Maybe, but it will be very hard for them to accept a child was taken. Portugal likes to market itself as safe for children.

    The parents were being watched in the resort. Probably by two people and the raised blinds were because the abductor looked outside before leaving, maybe even passing the child to someone else. IMO.

    We had a child taken from a bath in her own home here in the UK. She was raped and left in an alley. Just imagine what the parents would have suffered if she had not bee found.

    Time to show some compassion, until we know otherwise. There is a little girl missing.

    Indiansummer said...

    Hi Pat,
    what do You mean about this?
    Kate and Gerry are philosophical about the media coverage but they cannot let this level of vile criticism go. They are absolutely shocked and stunned.

    "When the time is right they will be taking action against anyone who they feel has overstepped the mark. It is good that Correio printed the name of the Spanish psychologist whose opinions they published. He is one more person on the list of people to sue." Daily Mail

    And another question:
    It is thinkable,that the parents make a perfect plan to kill her daughter, to bury her body and to make a lot of money with the media theatre ? if they have a narcissm personality- Maddie was not perfect, with the mistake in one eye and may be a hyper activity by herself.(or autism)

    distantobserver said...

    A convincing and balanced analysis. A few points as feedback.
    With hyperactive children, rage killings have happened, nothing outlandish about the hypothesis. Overdosing with sedatives is also perfectly possible (one of the symptoms is vomiting which can very well lead to aspiration of one's own vomit). This is why "We are sorry we were not there at the moment she was taken" sounds natural when "taken" is replacing "dying (of asphyxiation, for example)" - so, indeed, taken from this world.
    The local predator theory is also possible (that depends partly on how often the children were actually checked on). My problem with this theory is that even if parents leave their children alone, they would at least lock the door. First the McCanns insisted that the shutters had been jimmied and only when this was disproved, the unlocked door came into play.

    Some things that you have mentioned elsewhere could be added here, e.g. Kate's four-second pause after she was asked whether Madeleine was asleep when she left her, and her subsequent stammering answer. A red flag totally backed by studies in the field of discourse analysis (preferred=psychologically easy answers are short and come promptly, dispreferred= psychologically difficult ones are preceded by pauses and tend to be convoluted).

    One more argument, this time against the oft-stated "They are damned if they do and damned if they don't"(e.g., if they shut up now like Jon Benet's parents, they would also be accused): what if this dilemma is caused exactly by the fact that they are actually involved? So if they come out, their behavior will betray them - most of our behavior is, after all, unconscious, we do not have control over it - and they if they hide, well, they are hiding the behavior that would betray them. So it might indeed be an insoluble dilemma but for obvious reasons.

    You could also add one more of your earlier arguments: their behavior falls far beyond normal. Another cliche repeated ad nauseam is that all people grieve differently. Well, all people walk differently,too, and some even limp, but there are limits, there is a range of normal behavior. People do not walk on their heads, not because it is "written somewhere that they should not" but just because they do not! Plus, if the McCanns were truthful in saying that they believe the child was abducted by pedophiles, the emotion would be insufferable worry, not grief (I think you have mentioned this somewhere, too). So their behavior is far beyond the RANGE of normal behavior.

    Finally, there is the "cultural" argument. I have by now read hundreds of expressions of outrage by the British at being portrayed as child-neglecters. They keep repeating that what the McCanns did on these four nights is not the "British" thing to do, normal Brits would not leave their children unattended, on family holidays they often break the early to bed rule and take their children with them, or else hire a babysitter, or else stay at home. So this behavior is not in the range of normal from the cultural point of view, either.

    Hope you keep commenting on the case!

    CJ said...

    Thank you, Pat Brown, for tying together so well many of the reasons why I feel the McCanns are not being honest. The bit about what Kate claims were Madeleine's last words is completely unbelievable. I was rather surprised the public seemed to buy that. And also, Kate's claim that Madeleine was a Harry Potter fan. Some of the McCann claims would amusing if this wasn't such a tragedy. And Gerry's blog. I mean, how much more do people need to convince them these parents are not being truthful. In fact, I believe Gerry and Kate are almost enjoying deflecting truths and replacing them with self-promotion garbage for the purpose of ensuring their future in the limelight. For what reasons are yet unknown but we do have clues from the official suspects themselves:
    Gerry's "wider agenda"
    Kate's wish to quit her job and work in child welfare. (in what capacity, I would love to know??)

    Pat, one thing I'm appalled about with the US McCann media.
    They seem as (intentionally?) clueless as the UK's.
    I'm awaiting more experts who have actually studied this case (no, not Nancy Grace!) to step up to the plate. Now that you've done that, hopefully other experts in various fields of criminology will do the same!

    Celtic sleuth said...

    I too witnessed 'muted flashes of anger, frustration and annoyance' between both parents during interviews. In the last interview Kate was asked a question in Spanish and her reply was first a snorted laugh followed by 'What do you think?'. It became apparent that she was asked about whether they were a happy couple.

    This is a good summary of the case.

    Arrebenta said...

    Really very good.
    Have you ever think about a ritual murder?...

    Anonymous said...

    This has been the most enlighting blog about this subject that I have seen on the internet.

    I do agree that the parents are highly suspect.

    I have also seen children that have been sexually abused with that far-away or almost blank look in their eyes, and the moment I saw Madeline's picture that thought struck me. Makes me wonder if that wasn't the case in this situation, and the mother knew and was angry at the child.

    Anonymous said...

    First - they covered the dead bodie in the hot sands of dunes - where they used to go for jogging - bevor and after the 3th of May.

    25 Days of drying - like a sandmumie.

    A 400-miles-trip to Huelva and back - of no reason?

    Or visiting the industrial Huelva acidlakes? (70 ha)

    And DNA and hairs in the car - down in the reserve-wheel-box.

    Anonymous said...

    Excellent synopsis of why I question so many aspects of this case. Pat Brown, hope you continue to enlighten us. The UK media and even some of their so-called experts have done everything possible to promote the McCanns as almost saints. I don't understand why the UK public is not protesting the obvious bias dished daily in almost gargantuous portions.
    It really is quite shocking how facts, events and even the Portuguese police are twisted into something other than they are.
    Somehow the McCanns have managed to bamboozle even wealthy supporters who are paying for their legal fees and now we hear the McCann mortgage payments are being met thanks to donors who thought they were giving money to "Find Madeleine". It's just crazy!

    Anonymous said...

    As a British mother of three could I please add my voice to the many Brits who, as a comment above says, angrily deny that it is in the least a normal part of British culture to leave our children unsupervised. This is the thing that has made me angriest of all about this case, the deliberate slandering of all British parents to protect two criminally neglectful ones who won't admit they did wrong. I know NO British parent who would ever consider leaving their children alone as the McCanns did. It is certainly true that in normal, non-holiday circumstances British parents are more likely to go out without their children than with them at night. But crucially, we only do this if we have a babysitter. We (or 99.9% of us, that is, everyone except the McCanns and, apparently, a few journalists) never, never leave our children alone, any more than American, Portuguese or any parent would. We have just as much imagination and intelligence as anyone else and we know it takes roughly 5 seconds for a child to get into trouble. And this idea that the McCanns' behaviour can be explained by a 'stiff upper lip' culture - well, just possibly that might have been the case say 60 years ago. Now, no. Forget it. It is a completely outdated stereotype.

    Jenny, UK

    Anonymous said...

    Oct 26 5.05 wrote:

    "If these parents are innocent and Madeleine was abducted, which is the most likely scenario, then just think of the suffering that has been heaped on them."

    They are the creators of their own suffering.

    You cannot explain their behaviour.

    You cannot explain their numerous lies about their checking on the children.

    You cannot explain why they left their children alone night after night.

    You cannot explain how Gerry McCann claims he went to check on the children, but didn't actually see Madeleine.

    You cannot explain, therefore, what he was actually doing at the apartment during dinner.

    You can't explain how they told the world they "very very frequently" checked the children, when clearly they did not.

    You cannot explain their pre-occupation with protecting themselves, when their daughter is missing.

    You cannot explain their refusal to accept any responsibility for their own actions.

    You cannot explain that their charade that does not ring true because they are so disconnected with what others see as normal.

    You cannot explain how they insult others, as Jenny above refers to.

    You cannot explain how they refuse to answer police questions.

    You cannot explain how they fleed Portugal like a pair of common criminals.

    You cannot explain why they only hired a car 25 days after Madeleine went missing, while others were out
    day after day looking for her.

    You cannot explain why they were running or playing tennis while others were looking for Madeleine.

    There are a hundred aspects of this case you cannot explain.

    You cannot explain it, unless you work on the basis that they are guilty and they have serious flaws in their personalities.

    Anonymous said...

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    Anonymous said...

    Pat, you said that neither Kate nor Gerry had taken or indicate that they will take a polygraph.

    Although, the polygraph test is not recognized by the British or Portuguese authorities, it was reported in the British press that the McCanns would like to take the polygraph test in Portugal to clear their names because they were confident of their innocence, according to a source close to the couple.

    The Daily Mail, 21 September 2007:

    Later, a Portuguese newspaper the 24Horas asked to McCanns if they wanted to pass the test in Portugal, the newspaper was ready to pay the polygraph test: Clarence Mitchell said that the answer was a big NO.

    The 24Horas:

    The Gazeta Digital:

    “We know that the lie detector is not accepted by Portuguese authorities, so the McCann don't want to be submitted to a test” said Clarence Mitchell, spokesman of the McCanns.

    Anonymous said...

    I have never said these two are saints, I picked up the discrepancies in the first interview they gave. But no one here knows for sure that they harmed their little girl and if they did not and she was abducted, then what is written here is truly wicked.


    Yes, they did protect their own interests, because as doctors they knew they were in trouble and would lose their livelihood if they were charged with neglect. Not ideal and the PR adviser of Mark Warner should have advised them to admit what they did.

    The interviews and replies were clearly crafted by PR people.

    Of course the marriage would be under strain, whose idea was it to leave the children? the other spouse would be very resentful.

    The anger in their eyes has looked like they have been crying to me. Gerry in particular has the red eyes of someone who has been very upset. Kate is wasting.

    They thought Portugal was completely safe. Everyone thinks that, until we start to dig and find it has a paedophile problem.

    The did not want to spend the money on a baby sitter, yes that is bad. The were arrogant doctors who thought they could do better by dropping in to see the children.

    I believe the child was watched by an employee of Mark Warner, was then taken and used. Very likely dead and lying nearby.

    The McCann's have not been able to speak openly about what happened, ever played Chinese whispers?

    There are no laws against paedophilia in Portugal, that is why they all head there.

    Madeleine looked like a happy and loved little girl to me and I would certainly say, that all the photographs taken of her are a sign she was adored.

    Who would not stumble when being questioned, if you were being wrongly accused of harming you little girl, whilst being interviewed on television.

    The blind was raised from the inside because the intruder looked out to see was around before leaving the apartment.

    Would nine friends, really cooperate to cover up the death of a little girl and the disposal of her body?

    Highly unlikely. As I said, show some compassion until you really know.

    Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...


    Still photos of a child or a family do not show the dynamics of what is going on inside it. I have seen many an Olan Mills photo on the walls of the homes of rapists, serial killers, child abusers, etc. Everyone in those photos is smiling. I have seen beautific smiles on the faces of a twelve-year-old girls who was raped and murdered by their own biological fathers the week after the photo was taken and the same happy face on a fourteen-year-old girl taken weeks before she commmitted suicide.

    I am basing my concerns about the McManns' behaviors not on one isolated goof up or the fact Kate doesn't cry on camera but the totality of all the families I have dealt with over the last decade and a half. The McCann fall way outside of the norm. This may mean they are an anomoly and totally innocent of any distortion of the truth in Maddie's but, if this is so, their PR team or they themselves need to recognize that they are derailing the investigation and destroying the good will of those who care about missing children.

    A mistake is one thing, but arrogantly refusing to recognize the damage one is doing is another. Britney Spears has the same problem. For example, going to the tanning booth right after losing custody of one's kids (if this report is true)hardly shows much sadness on the part of Britney. If most of us had just been told we couldn't see our children, we would go home and hide in our bedrooms and cry (some my get drunk at a bar). But, the tanning booth? Mmmm...yeah, maybe she was crying in there, but it is an odd place to go when one is devastated. What that behavior shows is, "Oh, well, whatever...." Of course, a one time behavior doesn't really usually dictate what the public thinks of someone (unless it is egregious) but the continual behaviors that eat away at that individual's reputation. Britney has a whole bunch of those episodes marring her character and we can't blame folks for not viewing her in the way she has allowed us to view her.

    The McCanns have the same problem. Odd behavior after odd behavior has caused people to think there is something not trustworthy or honest about the couple. It may turn out that the McCanns didn't accidentally or purposefully harm Madeleine, but unfortunately they way they behave makes people think they did.

    Anonymous said...

    Dear profiler,

    They thought the Witches of Salem were guilty too!

    I see you mention that the McCann's may suffer from certain psychiatric designations, well who wouldn't in the circumstances? It is a wonder they are still standing.

    In both our countries, there is a presumption of innocence until proven guilty. Why have they not been charged?

    In Portugal, an arguido is someone who has been given legal protection, not necessarily a suspect as our newspapers think.

    If they are innocent, then this will go down in the history books in the same way as other infamous trials have. Like witch burning and the Spanish Inquisition.

    Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...

    Apparently, you forget the case of the Aisenbergs, the United States of America's on Maddie in the form of baby Sabrina. The parents concerning behaviors got them to become Number One suspects and even Mark Klaas, whose daughter was abducted from a slumber party and murdered, goes to town on this couple. He apparently, in spite of knowing exactly how it feels to be looked at as a suspect, doesn't buy their stories. You can read two stories on the case:

    The presumption of innocence is a matter of legal verbiage, not that we should presume someone is innocent through and through and never examine the possibility of their guilt unless they confess or a videotape falls into our hands showing they indeed committed the crime.

    The Salem Witch Trials and the McCann case have absolutely nothing in common. They are apples and oranges and the circumstances are entirely different.

    Anonymous said...

    Actually I have never heard of the Aisenbergs,or baby Sabrina. It did not hit the headlines worldwide the way the Madeleine abduction has.

    Whatever happened to baby Sabrina and whatever her parents think, does not mean they have any insight to this case or ability to make a judgement on the MCCann's guilt.

    No evidence has been published legitemately.

    The Witches of Salem is relevant. It shows how people can be whipped up into believeing things and how stories can be twisted to show guilt when people are innocent.

    In this country they had ducking stools. It's a wonder they have not brought those back yet.

    distantobserver said...

    Vincent Bugliosi (a very famous lawyer, the one who successfully prosecuted the Manso gang) has put the same point on "innocent until proven guilty" very cogently. This presumption holds during a trial: the jury is required to regard the defendant innocent and the burden of proof of guilt lies entirely on the prosecution (the defendant does not have to PROVE his/her innocence, the prosecution has to prove his/her guilt beyond reasonable doubt - it is enough for the defece to create this reasonable doubt). It does not work out this way all the time - the jurors are human, after all, but this is the principle. And obviously no official consequences deriving from guilt should befall anyone who is not proven guilty in court (i.e. no incarceration, etc - let alone no burning at the stake - the Salem comparison is so totally out of place here). But otherwise, Bugliosi points out that police would not be able to work if they were forbidden to view any suspect at any point of their investigation as guilty - they would be totally paralysed. The prosecution can and generally does believe the defendant is guilty from the very beginning of the trial - again, they could not do their job properly if they di not, and they publicly state during the opeig statement tnat they intend to prove the guilt. And public speculation/theories on somebody's possible guilt or innocence is, likewise, completely compatible with the principle of innocent until proven guilty (especially if one has to do with public personas who, as a result of their own direct appeal, have received £ 1 000 000 plus in the form of donations, including from childre selling their toys on the e-bay), after all, nobody forces the suspect to read any of it and it has no legal consequences whatsoever. Most people in the US believe O.J. Simpson is guilty, and say so publicly even though he was acquitted in the criminal trial. So the principle, in itself absolutely sound, is often misinterpreted to mean more than it actually means.

    Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...

    Excellent comment! I must say, I learn some fine points from you everytime you post. You present such a balanced and well-supported argument with clear examples, we can all learn from them.

    Yes, "innocent until proven guilty" is meant for the courts, not for the social arena. If we roll back a couple of hundred years, I am sure we would find women at the quilting circle and men at the pub analyzing cases of interest just like we do on the Internet today.

    One of the legal misuses of this concept of innocent until proven guilty I think is highly twisted in the defenses with of change of venue and in only seating jurors who are so out-of-the-news loop that they are know nothing of a case. It is an odd concept that one is contaminated by discussion prior to a trial. I may feel at this point the McCanns are good suspects, but put me in a courtroom with the actual evidence and discussion of that evidence and I may find that the McCanns are not the least bit guilty of Madeleine's disappearance. I know this is true because I have walked into certain police cases with a strong theory and then when I found that certain information has not gotten to me before I arrived (sometimes I found it on a paper napkin among the interview notes!), then I would think, "Well, damn, not that changes everything, doesn't it?." This is similar to the way police theory works as well. They go on the information they have and if it changes, so might their theory. Unfortunately, since so many people believe no theory should be formulated prior to having all the evidence in (an unworkable idea if one wants to forward and investigation; one MUST have a theory, and, like with the prosecution, the theory presumes guilt of a party to proceed), that police tend to say nothing because, for if they do put out their theory of the moment,they will get jumped all over for attacking someone before the investigation is "finished", and if that theory changes, they will be mocked as being "wrong." Misunderstanding this basic necessity of the investigative process makes for much animosity.

    (BTW, drop me an email...I would love to know your background and your interest in criminal cases).

    distantobserver said...

    First, apologies for the typos in the previous post.
    One more point: I cannot find the text where Pat Brown states that she has never heard of a case of parents of abducted children being given advice to hide their grief lest the abductor gets a thrill out of watching them. I have posted about this somewhere else but this seems also a good place to repeat this: to me this advice (if indeed ever given to the McCanns) has always seemed total nonsense. I cannot for the life of me imagine a pedophile predator in any way changing their behavior based on what they see on TV. Just think about it: "What a disappointment! They do not seem to be heartbroken at all! All my thrill gone: I'd better return this pest of a child to them" - can anyone seriously claim such thinking would go on in an abductor's head? Or is the assumption that, thrilled by the parents' grief, the pedophile will be even more cruel to the child, so this has to be avoided? Excuse me, a pedophile is cruel is cruel is cruel no matter what they see on TV (repetition intended). Meanwhile, if the child was really taken by someone for adoption, seeing the parents going crazy with grief and worry might have a softening impact: they might at one point be prevailed to return the child. It is genuinely good to get confirmation from somebody with actual experience in the field that such idiotic advice is never given - easy to see why. It does serve, however, as a convenient excuse for people unable to show emotions (for whatever reason). Thanks also to the poster above who said that the "British upper lip" is a 60-year old stereotype: that's my impression based on all my British friends, too, but as a foreigner I felt somewhat powerless against this "cultural" argument, unconvincing as it seemed.

    distantobserver said...

    Thanks for the nice words: much appreciated coming from someone whose analyses I genuiely enjoy reading!

    I'll try to e-mail as soon as I get back home (would not like to do it in a haste).

    Looking forward to futher comments!

    Anonymous said...

    I must say I do not agree with a Distant Observer. Nobody is suggesting that the police should not thoroughly investigate the McCann's and their evidence in and outside of the Court. If they harmed their child, well they deserve to be punished.

    What I, as an English person am concerned about, is that people have gone far beyond assessing the facts that are known to us and have even invented them.
    The portuguese method of investigation is that nothing is made public until people are charged, despite the leaks to he media. So no one outside knows the full facts.

    Neverthless, it has not stopped The Profiler, writing a long piece about Gerry mcCann bringing Madeleine's body back to the UK in a suitcase. This is totally made up! That is where innocent until proven guilty should come in. Yes, discuss it and have a view, but many people have invented the most outlandish ideas and put them in writing on the internet.
    Knowing as we do, that Portugal DOES have a problem with paedophiles and unfortunately has very lax laws, it seems highly likely to me, that the child was abducted, but of course we have not got the full facts. It is not impossible she died in an accident, but I cannot believe nine professionals would risk their careers covering up the death and disposal of a little girl.

    So if the McCann's are innoccent, notwithstanding their stupidy at leaving their children, then these crass and made up stories with no evidence are truly wicked.
    I debate it with the best of them but I don't let my imagination add things to it.

    As far as the Witches of Salem are concerned, read The Crucible. It will show you how innocent people were found guilty because everything they said and their behaviour, was given a different meaning.

    You are not the only people that are experts, I am an expert too. If you learn the child has been abducted and murdered, will you look back and be comfortable with everything you have said about the parents on an international website?

    I prefer to feel some compassion and if it was my little girl I don't know what I would do.

    Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...

    I didn't say he did that. I said it is one of the many possibilities that the police should look into should the DNA in the car exist. Police must pay attention to ALL avenues of investigation and not ignore one method of keeping a body from being discovered.

    I agree that any paper that claimed a fact was a fact and that fact was not, should be sued. One cannot say, "Police find DNA from Madeleine in the boot of the hire car," if this is not true. However, one can say, IF police have found DNA of Madeleine in the hire car, then the parents would likely have been involved in the crime. The key word is IF.

    As far as compassion, as a profiler I am asked my opinions and analyses on crime. It would be impossible to give an opinion if I were not able to speculate on anything without someone feeling bad about what I said.

    Tonight on Nancy Grace we talked about the missing wife, Staci Peterson. Her police officer husband said he thinks she just took off for a bit of private time (going on four days now and no one has heard of her). This man has been married four times, has been accused of taking bribes and domestic abuse, cheated on wife number three with wife number four, estranged wife number three and she ended up dead during divorce finalization in a strange drowning accident in her bathtub, and then this cop married wife number four (who was just turning 18; he is in his 50s). Okay, so I am asked what I think. What I think is the police should be looking very hard at this man and this man, if he has nothing to hide, should allow the police into his home to look around, allow them to check his vehicles, and take a polygraph. Maybe the girl ran off, but the man has a bad track record of bad stuff happening around him and to his wives, so police are naturally going to suspect him. Am I being cruel to suggest he may have actually drowned his third wife and he may have killed his fourth wife? As a profiler, should I simply say, "My heart goes out to this man as he must be secretly suffering (even though he says he isn't even worried) and concerned about his wife and we shouldn't consider him to have possibly done anything wrong because his last wife's death was ruled an accident, the bribery charge was never proven, the domestic abuse charges were just an ex-wife's court divorce shenanigans, and just because he had a girlfriend while he was married doesn't mean he has done anything many other men have done. So, let's just wait and see if the girl comes home and let's wait and see if a body shows up and, meanwhile, I have nothing but sympathy for this man and his dilemma."

    ::laughs::Okay, maybe this would make me a nicer person, but I would be a pretty lame profiler. I call things as I see them and I see this man's behavior and past as suspicious enough to consider him a good suspect in the disappearance of his wife.

    Anonymous said...

    I read your last post with interest and don't disagree that as a profiler you can speculate.

    There is not a single piece of evidence in the McCanns' case that has been placed in the public domain by the police. There are leaks to Horas, a known scandal sheet, that is all, we don't know if a policeman involved in the investigation leaked.

    What we do know is that the McCanns' have no track record of harming children, are part of a large family and there have been no leaks from their medical associates or neighbours about them that would raise suspicion.

    The only thing we know is Madeleine is gone. The Forensic Service in the UK has denied the DNA stories in the Portuguese press.

    So there is nothing. Gerry has no record of anyone close to him drowning in a bath, it seems a steady first time marriage and their family group loves them and supports them.

    So there is nothing to profile but their eyes and body language as well as their interviews, that were crafted by professionals. Third rate PRs in my opinion.

    There are plenty of reasons for being suspicious of the husband in the Staci Peterson case.

    I am also not suggesting that it is impossible for doctors to commit crimes, as we know they do.

    I do think, it is nigh on impossible for a group of professionals, whose lives would be ruined, to engage in such a cover up.

    What I would prefer to see from the media, is an honest assessment of stranger danger, which I think is much worse than parents realise.

    Child pornography is now big business, with the Mafia involved and worth $billions. That said, I think little Madeleine was taken by an individual and is long gone.

    I have young children within my family and I have warned the family, about these holiday resorts in countries that claim to love children so much that they are perfectly safe.

    They are often Catholic countries and we all know about the scandal of cover up in the Catholic church.

    Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...

    I would agree we have no valid info as to details as to what happened that night other than what the McCanns have stated themselves. This is why I cannot say what happened with much absoluteness. This include child abduction. I CAN say the child pedophile rind is extremely unlikely. Madeleine as a target makes little sense . Brits on vacation in resorts are difficult and dangerous targets and not worth the risk when there are poor children from less connected families available a dime a dozen. I have no problem, however, with believing it is a pedophile just being in the area, grabbing Maddie if there is a big enough window of opportunity and taking her to his house and killing her when he is finished with his fun. Much of this depends on how regurly the Tapas 9 checked on their children. If I were a child abductor and had the choice of a six-year-old girl playing alone outside her home or trying to sneak into a resort in between 15 minute checks (hoping that they stuck with the schedule and some worried parent didn't decide to come earlier), slip into a room, subdue the child, and carry her away without running into anyone, I would pick the kid on the street. But, if I saw the parents might be gone for an hour at a time and the streets tended to be deserted, I might be more willing to try for the kid. Paedos simply do what is easiest; they rarely are obsessed with any child in particular.

    But, as to would the McCanns harm a child? We don't know. We simply don't. We do know they will neglect children and this is a big red flag. We do know they will risk thei child's safety for their own fun. Now, to be fair, we all do make choices which are not always perfect because life goes on. In India and in Mexico you see entire families on motorscooters. Lack of finances makes for taking certain chances or one could never leave the house. However, the McCanns could afford sitters and they could take turns watching the kids. I would not have expected THIS particular choice from well-heeled doctors because they had so many alternatives. This tells me a little something about the McCanns priorities.

    erica said...

    Wow! You make all excellent points!

    I can add to these things I know as a mother of a two and four year old:

    Children OFTEN wake up throughout the night (especially the early part of the night). Why were the McCann's so confident about leaving their kids alone, if they were not sedated in some way. They say they did not give them "sedatives." They did not say they did not give them cold medicine. They did not say they did not give them substances of any kind. I'm betting a cold remedy. (kids cold medicines have just been recalled all over US for causing strokes)

    If children aged 2-4 DO wake up and are unsupervised, they are sure to participate in activities that will endanger their well being. I can think of 100 they might do in a hotel room. Why were they not concerned about their kids? They were either given a substance to make them sleep, or their parents do have a severe mental problem.

    If I left my kids (which I'd NEVER do) and came back to find one missing, I'd hunt for quite a while, knocking on doors, looking in hiding places, etc before I'd ever assume they were taken. Why did Kate not do this? Why didn't she check the pool, play area, etc before jumping to conclusions? This will never make sense to me.

    HOW could Kate leave her other two children to go on a press tour if she really believed there was a child abuductor on the loose?

    Why did they remain in Spain with their other kids if there really was a child abductor near by?

    Why did they hire such an experienced PR and legal team if they are innocent?

    I could go on for days about things that just don't make sense abou the McCanns.

    I KNOW they are not innocent! It will come out sooner or later.

    Keep posting Pat!

    Criminal Profiler Pat Brown said...

    Thanks much, Erica!

    You are correct about paedos; they do what is easiest. They keep their eye out for a window of opportunity. In theory, this does not eliminate this being the scenario for the disappearance of Maddie. But, the parent's behaviors keep making one look away from that.

    Also, it is important to note that ONE particular behavior doesn't amount to much, but it is the many peculiar behaviors that raise the red flags. Kind of like the philandering husband; it isn't that he comes home late one night with an odd reason (lie) that indicates he is a likely adulterer. Maybe he was embarrassed over some othr naughty thing (like he smoked some dope in a parking lot with an old hippie friend and he doesn't want his churchgoing wife to know he lapsed into old amusements). But, it is the sudden interest in new musics, the many disappearing acts, the new fresh appearance, the walk to the other room each time he answers the cell phone, etc.

    Likewise, with the McCanns. It isn't about the fact that Kate doesn't cry but that she sleeps well at night also, that they jog, that they don't personalize Maddie, that they don't advertize the reward, etc. etc.

    It is the sum of things that makes the red flags unfurl.

    Anonymous said...

    To Pat Brown.

    Out of curiosity, how many British people have you profiled and how many of them have been Scots?

    I'm just wondering how well qualified you are to analyse the McCanns' - and specifically Gerry McCann's use of language.

    There was an interesting tv documentary on last week about the unprecedented level of false reporting about this case. The documentary was specifically damning about people who have made public their opinions about the case without being privy to any of the actual facts or evidence.

    ELR said...

    So glad to have found your blog!

    All excellent thought's from an unbiased professional.

    I am from the US but often read the Daily Mirror Forum's. It is refreshing to hear intelligent AND unheated thought's on the case.

    I have always dismissed the media speculation but have been simply "amazed" by the verifiable actions and words of the McCann's. I would say the first reports of "Toddler abducted from her bed while parents, who are doctors, dine at nearby restaurant" was my first ??? moment. And you have so systematically stated all of the ??? actions / words they have made since that first one that have made many stop and wonder.
    It really is all of their actions collectively that make them easy suspects....Of course, the lack of sincere emotion is the first thought. Yes, they say they were discouraged from showing emotion but they were also discouraged of pointing out Madeleine's eye condition yet they did not follow this piece of advice because, as Gerry McCann said, it was good from a marketing standpoint...Murat stay's in the frame and the only eyebrow raising issues seem to be his eagerness to be involved in the early days of the investigation, his affair with a married woman and his "dodgy eye"...not too long of a list...though we will see. I will keep an open mind as suggested!

    Thanks for the BLOG...I will keep coming back!

    Nicholas said...

    Pat Brown

    This ecxellent profiling.

    Thank you for your insight and spot on observations.


    The Old Summerhouse said...

    To 'anonymous' so you believe mainstream media tv shows predict reality?? That is quite a naive way of thinking, Plus what has a dialect ( Scottish) or otherwise have to do with 'statement analysis?, I suggest you watch an excellent video by Peter Hyatt who is an expert in the above and has analysed the McCann Australian interview of 2008' which clearly demonstrates the Mcanns use of language ( the actual English language words they use, rather than any dialect? ) to implicate themselves and also showing clearly an 'embedded' confession in their interview.