Friday, April 29, 2016

Why the Botched Burglary Is Such a Good Theory in the Madeleine McCann Case

As the Madeleine McCann case winds down, there is fairly good speculation that Scotland Yard's final determination will be that Madeleine McCann died as a result of a botched burglary. And there has been much disbelief that this kind of crime could have anything to do with the disappearance of Madeleine McCann; after all, what do burglars want with a three -year-old child? Why would they kidnap her instead of just running off since no three-year-old is going to be very good at identifying the burglars? How can this be a burglary if nothing of value (minus the child) was taken? Why was there no evidence of a break-in? Why did the cadaver dogs hit inside the flat if burglars removed Maddie from the apartment while in the act of burglarizing the vacation rental?

Oh, Heaven's to Betsy! Stop being so logical! Devising a theory for closing a case has little to do with  needing to prove it is true with evidence. Like a defense attorney attempting to convince a jury that the evidence the prosecution has presented may not truly explain what happened, closing a case without evidence only requires a good story and a bunch of possible - if rare - scenarios that cause the  people to think "Yeah, I guess that could be true." For once you fool people into reasonable doubt, you open the door to just about any cockamamie scenario you can dream up.

So, here is how I would close the Madeleine McCann case with a bunch of inept burglars and why I would choose this scenario.

First, I want to show that I looked into everything (well, everything to do with abduction). I would question any shady character lurking in the vicinity and look into every rumor that had to do with bad people in the area. Along the way, I would hope to find a character or characters that I could connect well enough to the date, time, and place that they, theoretically, could have committed the crime. After running through many a possibility, the best I could come up with was the botched burglary because these were the only bad guys I could place in the area at the time required. All right. Now, I need to build the scenario around these guys.

Here is what happened:

Three burglars, familiar with the area and the resort, were breaking into flats in the area and stealing a variety of items. These burglars weren't particularly skilled nor did they target especially high priced items; they just grabbed stuff that lay within the flat, hoping to make enough on their booty to split three ways and enjoy their gains. On the evening of May 3, 2007, the three burglars planned to gain access to a number of properties and worked together through cell phones, planning their positions and times to enter the residences. As they had noted a number of visitors to the resort tended to leave their patio doors open, they found it easy to access some flats quickly without having to resort to actually breaking in and drawing attention. They also donned latex medical gloves to avoid leaving fingerprints in the flats. They used this method to slip into the McCann flat but, this time, they were startled quickly by a child who wandered into the living room. She was frightened by their presence and started crying loudly. The burglars were concerned that the loud wailing would draw instant attention and they grabbed the child and covered her mouth in order to stop the noise. As has happened in other situations (sometimes by a kidnapper or a babysitter), the adult does not realize that with a child, a large hand covering the child's mouth also results in covering the child's nose and the child can quickly become asphyxiated.

After this occurred with Madeleine McCann, the lookout phoned one of the burglars to warn him that someone was approaching the flat and in desperation they pulled the sofa away from the wall and hid the child's body behind it and then hid themselves. An adult entered the flat, listened for any noise from the children's room, and then left again. At this point, the panicked burglars became afraid that in the handling of the child's body, they may have left DNA on it and so they decided to remove the child's body from the flat. With one standing lookout, the other burglar carried the child off towards the beach to where one of the burglars lived. They hatched a plan to dispose of the child's body, most likely in the ocean since her body wasn't found in any of the digs conducted in Praia da Luz.

Due to the failure of the Portuguese police to follow this line of inquiry early on, there is not enough physical evidence to take these suspects to court. However, one hopes that this information will give the McCanns closure, that they know that what happened to their daughter and that she did not suffer any kind of physical or sexual abuse. As to the community, they can rest assured that there is not a child predator in their midst who is targeting young children of Madeleine's age. Although a crime did occur, the death of Madeleine McCann was accidental and not premeditated.

This is a scenario the McCanns can accept (they are not guilty, the Portuguese police are proven to be inept and Gonçalo Amaral completely wrong as are the trolls who support him, Scotland Yard money was well spent and the investigation solid, AND, since this scenario cannot be absolutely proven, there is still the hope Madeleine was taken by a woman who wanted a child and she is alive and well somewhere and they can still continue the fund and the search for her in toned down and less public manner).

So don't think a botched burglary could be accepted by a gullible public? I wouldn't bet on it. Even I find myself thinking that this  scenario could be true (at least it seems plausible if I do not go back and review the actual evidence of the case). And that is how it works; make up a good story but ignore the evidence.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
April 29, 2016

Cover for 'Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'

By Pat Brown

Rating: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
Published: July 27, 2011

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

How to Close a Case Without Really Proving Anything

What do the public, the police, and, sometimes, even the family of a murdered or missing person want? More than justice, they want what we term "closure." I would define "closure" as putting something troubling to rest, to have an answer that is satisfying enough to enable one to stop dwelling on the matter, regardless if it is the truth or not.

Sometimes closure, for the family is necessary simply to be able to go on living. Sometimes closure is  is necessary for the public, so they can focus on more timely and, perhaps, more important matters. Sometimes closure, for the police, means ending a screwed up investigation that is going nowhere, freeing up funds and manpower for other cases, or saving one's political butt from the accusations of the citizens, media and family of failing to bring the killer to justice or a missing person back home.

In reality, closure rarely happens in full for the family, no matter what....the damage has been done and they have to live with the consequences the rest of their lives. The real perpetrator behind bars or dead gives them justice but the pain still remains, so closure is not fully possible. And if they can't see the perpetrator behind bars, sometimes the pain is so intense, they will settle for what seems a possible explanation - a dead or already incarcerated suspect - just so they can feel there is some measure of justice. As for the police and citizens, they can move on much more quickly and most of the time they do.

So, what can we expect with the Madeleine McCann case? We can expect closure, just not the closure most of us want. We can be happy Gonçalo Amaral has been vindicated in a court of law and that a tremendous amount of information about the case is available online and in printed books and DVDs, so that the facts of the case are not swept entirely under the rug, but we are not going to see an arrest and conviction of the people we think are likely responsible for what happened to Maddie.

What we can't expect, and what has been evident since the day Scotland Yard set foot on Portuguese soil with a remit to investigate an abduction as opposed to all the evidence in the case, is that one day there would be closure of a legitimate type.  Scotland Yard is finishing up its one line of investigation "worth pursuing" - and it is most likely the three burglars, not the McCanns. By the end of the year, we should have Scotland Yard explaining how they have thoroughly analyzed the case, followed every lead, and the most likely explanation for the disappearance of Maddie McCann was a botched burglary leading to her demise and removal from the apartment, and, unfortunately, there is not enough evidence to take anyone to court; this is known as solving the case "administratively." Of course, because they cannot 100% prove that this is what happened to Maddie, the door is open for the McCanns to say it is still possible for Madeleine to be alive and out there somewhere and, therefore, the fund can continue. 

And the winners are: Scotland Yard, who made the best effort possible to solve the crime, and the McCanns who remain free of being charged with said crime. The added bonus for the McCanns is that if Scotland Yard does indeed shut down the case with the botched burglary explanation, this also "proves" Gonçalo Amaral, the Portuguese police, the Portuguese courts, and anyone who has questioned the abduction theory to be incompetant and dead wrong.

The losers are: everyone else - British citizens, Portuguese citizens, truth seekers, and missing children and their families in every country across the world.

Maybe someday the truth will out and all of us who have spent so much time seeking it will finally have OUR closure. But don't be surprised if the rest of the public is perfectly happy to accept the closure given to them by Scotland Yard because it is human nature to want to believe that parents wouldn't harm their children, that one's police agencies are above board and are spending our tax dollars in an honorable way, and the world isn't as bad as all that. Sometimes illusions are far easier to live with than  reality, aren't they?

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
April 27, 2016

Cover for 'Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'

By Pat Brown

Rating: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
Published: July 27, 2011

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Why There was a Dead Cat in Profiler Pat Brown's Shower

Okay, you all have come up with some interesting scenarios, some closer to the truth than the others. Some of you used the evidence to develop some reasonable good answer and others simply fantasized a scenario that had no real connection to the evidence!

First, what evidence was there?

1) A witness stated they saw a still warmish dead bloody cat in Pat Brown's shower at 10 pm that day, the witness saw a check from Amazon with what appeared to be blood on it, and both were gone the following day at 3 pm.

Although I did tell you there was actually a dead cat in my shower and I showed you a photo of the check with red stuff on it, there is no proof that the witness was accurate about the condition of the cat or that the cat and the check were gone the next day. If you accepted the witness' statement, you accepted certain things that may or may not be true (was the cat really still warm? Did the witness actually touch the cat to find out? What was the extent of the injury to the cat? Did the witness turn the cat over to examine it? Was the red stuff on the check really blood?) Any theory developed based on the witness statement is questionable because we cannot be sure the witness was accurate. For that matter, the witness could be trying to make Pat Brown look bad.

2) Okay, let us say that the witness was reliable and everything the witness stated was true. Next question, whose cat was that orange cat? Guessing that it is Pat Brown's cat or not is just guessing and this guessing can radically change the theory and motive.

Answer; not Pat Brown's cat.

3) Because there was blood on the check, it is guessed that Pat Brown got the check from her mailbox and that is why there is blood on it. Well, that is possible, but the check could have been lying around and just gotten touched. But, okay, it is true that the check had been picked up just before the cat incident. Some of you decided, therefore, that the cat must have been killed in my driveway because I went to the mailbox at my home and that is when it happened. There was an assumption I have a mailbox at my home. There we go with assuming again! Answer: I do NOT have a mailbox at my home. The mail for the residence address is actually delivered to a house about five houses away because my house, at this point in time, does not actually have a different address (long story concerning a large family plot of land that used to be a farm). Where I get my mail is at a UPS box in town (which I also have for business purposes and so that when I travel my mail is in a safe place). I picked up the Amazon check and because I was curious what the dollar total was, I opened it in my car, dropped it on the passenger seat and then drove toward my house.

4) Did I run over the cat? Some thought I did which is why the cat ended up at my home. Some thought I was trying to save it...although I think I would have done better taking the cat straight to an emergency vet place. There is actually no proof that I was the one that hit the cat....was there blood on my tires? We don't know because my car was not checked for that evidence....that kind of evidence has not been reported. So, making a scenario that I killed that cat is based only on what you THINK my motive for carrying the cat back to my house might save it...whatever. I did not kill the cat.

5) So, I saw a still cat in the road and I pulled over and backed up to check it out. It was dark out, so I put on my flashers and jumped out and picked up the cat which was still warm and soft so I knew it had just been hit. I brought it in my car so I could examine it under the inside light. I grabbed a bunch of papers and cover my seat and then laid the cat on them (unfortunately, I forgot my check was lying there). Once inside the car, I noticed that the cat was beyond help.

Now, HERE is where a motive for bringing the cat home is a bit convoluted and I want you to note that when you subscribe a motive to what people do and say, "Oh, it is clear this is why!" Or "Well, he wouldn't have done THAT!", be careful because you may have no real clue why the person did what they did and the motive you conjure up is more in your head than in the perpetrator's head. 

So, why did Pat Brown bring the dead cat home and lay it in her shower? Is she a ghoul? Was she planning on doing an autopsy on the cat? Did she want to take creepy dead cat photos? Did she want to clean it up and give it a proper burial because she is a lover of cats? Unless you have a lot of information on me and my history, you may be completely wrong.

The reason I brought the cat home: no, I did not feel a need for a good cat burial. I normally would have just laid the cat on the side of the road in the bushes. No, I did not want to do weird crime scene stuff with the kitty. What I wondered when I saw the cat in the road and when I examined him in my car was if that cat might actually be my missing cat Rouxy. Rouxy was an orange cat who went missing after I moved in 18 months earlier. This cat was the right color and a male and had Rouxy's tail and color of eyes. I wanted to take the cat home where I could then access my photos and do a comparison because I couldn't remember the exact details of what Rouxy looked like. So I brought the cat in and placed him where it was best to keep a bloody dead cat...on a plastic bag in the shower. I went and found my photos and did the comparison. Turned out, I forgot that Rouxy had white paws and this cat didn't...not my lost cat. In the morning, I took the cat out to the woods and buried it and took the check to deposit in the bank.

So, now look back at your own theory of the crime and ask yourself how much was based on evidence and how much was merely conjecture? This is what happens when you analyze a case on the Internet or by watching TV, when you analyze at a distance and do not have proper access to all the evidence or the ability to question people about things. The more you base your theory on random information and unproven sources, the more likely you are to have a theory that is not at all accurate. 

Just because something COULD have happened or someone MAY have done this or someone MAY have had this motive, doesn't make it so. I COULD have run over the cat but there was no proof of it. I COULD have felt guilty over the cat's death but where was the evidence that this is a fact? The cat COULD have been killed on my property but where was the evidence of this? Quite frankly, with the evidence I gave you, the only theory that should have been created from the limited evidence is this:

Based on the fact, Pat Brown herself (and not the witness) told you that there was a dead cat in the shower, Pat Brown or someone else who had access to her house placed a dying or dead cat in her shower.

THAT is actually all you know from the evidence. If your theory included more than this, you didn't base it on the actual facts.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
May 6, 2016

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Dead Cat in the Shower and The Danger of Generating Theories Based on Limited and Imagined Evidence

I have written more than once of the danger of developing theories based on possible scenarios rather than on actual evidence, that when someone puts together bits of evidence in order to support a theory of choice rather than basing their theory on real forensic and behavioral evidence, a case can become convoluted and misrepresented. The number of theories in unsolved cases like Madeleine McCann and JonBenet Ramsey and many other less publicized cases escalates over time and more and more insignificant pieces of information become fodder for yet more theories. These bits of info are often given more meaning and weight than when the case was fresh simply because people are looking for a smoking gun that will break the case wide open and finally bring answers and closure. Likewise, for some solved cases like that of Steven Avery; speculation on who ELSE could have done it has spawned a dozen or more theories, most based on zero evidence or one bit of information from which a complete murder scenario and motive have been developed.

As an example of how speculation can spawn so many theories (in spite of the fact that just ONE thing happened), I want my readers to come up with their theory on the dead cat in Pat Brown's shower.

I will spare animal lovers a photo of the dead cat in the shower, but, suffice it to say, there was indeed, last night, a dead cat in criminal profiler Pat Brown's shower (this is a fact, not a fictional scenario). So suppose someone reported that they saw in Pat Brown's shower at 10 pm, an dead orange cat laying on a trash bag. There was blood about the cat's ears and mouth and the body was still soft. They also saw, on the dining table nearby, this odd piece of evidence: a check from Amazon with what appears to be blood on it.

The same person claims that they returned the next day at 3 pm in the afternoon and the dead cat and the bloody check were both no longer in the home of Pat Brown.

Okay, readers, what is your theory as to the dead cat in Pat Brown's shower? When I get ten responses, I will then discuss the evidence, the theories, and what actually happened.

So bring it on!

If you are new here, read the responses below - all the theories - and then go here for the answer:

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown
April 5, 2016

Cover for 'Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann'

By Pat Brown

Rating: 1 star1 star1 star1 star1 star
Published: July 27, 2011

What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.