Before actually entering the appreciation of the present inquiry, it is useful to take a summarised look at the enormous dimension of the inquiry which is constituted of 17 Volumes, with a global processing of approximately 4500 leafs, 9 appendixes that are integrated by 55 Volumes, in which 12000 leafs and other relevant pieces were gathered, analysed and treated; further 22 dossiers were constituted, with more than 5000 leafs, concerning fanciful or senseless news, yet organised out of mere caution.
Therefore, this inquiry, which demonstrates the pertinent commitment of the Polícia Judiciária (PJ) in the resolution of the disappearance of minor Madeleine McCann, demanded from it the performance or coordination of several diligences as described in the various files, namely: the preservation of the location of the fact (although it had already been rummaged by numerous people as we will discuss ahead); several collections and examinations on the existence of eventual traces; a circumstantiated photographic report; the installation, in the first 24 hours, of an extensive operational scheme, including the participation of several police and civil protection forces, in a total of over 130 elements; the reinforcement, in the next 24 hours, of said operational scheme, with the mobilisation of over 300 members of police forces and public entities; the installation of control posts on roads and on the Southern terrestrial border with Spain; the use of sniffer dog teams; the use of exceptional search and rescue teams (aerial, terrestrial and maritime), alerts and diffusion all over the country and abroad. As a mere example, during the following weeks and on a permanent basis, two helicopters, four vessels and several all-road vehicles, apart from private airplanes and boats, were employed; in the same manner, the investigation operations were coordinated with the specific search operations, with hundreds of diligences performed, like the identification and the formal and informal hearing of citizens, door-to-door searches, in the impressive number of 443, at the residences and tourist resorts of Vila da Luz and its surroundings, the identification and search of vehicles, and searches on the terrain, in an area that started out covering 15 Km2, and progressively grew to 30Km2 (where special attention was paid to locations like wells, passages, tunnels, reservoirs and lakes).
During the following days, more than 700 persons who might possess some relevant information about the disappearance were formally and informally questioned, with the PJ using more than 100 officers from several departments of Portimão, Faro and Lisbon, who worked on a consecutive base of 24 hours per day to accomplish the task.
All the locations where there could be images that might be related to the case (like, for example, restaurants and petrol stations) were equally consulted, and the telephone lines of the permanent services of the Portimão and Faro departments were made available. A mobile police post was installed in Vila da Luz to collect information.
Apart from the already mentioned identifications and door-to-door house searches, the listing, contact and interview with known local suspects with previous connections to sexual criminality against minors, was performed.
The PJ was especially careful to promote regular meetings with the missing child’s parents and also designated a Liaison Officer for the family, for permanent support and relationship, with the active following and cooperation of the Royal British Consulate in Portimão.
Shortly after the beginning of the investigation, continuous relationships with the Leicestershire Constabulary, which, for the effect, sent several of its officers to Portugal, with the PJ equally sending officers to the United Kingdom, were established, and intense cooperation and understanding was registered between these entities, which were united in the common purpose of searching for the missing child, and for the truth.
In the inquiry, it is clear that the PJ never dismissed any information or credible elements that might lead to the revelation of facts, with over 2000 formal and informal diligences carried out over the months, and the PJ having explored, nationally and internationally, all of the information with a higher or lower degree of credibility, with special relevance for tens of supposed sightings or trackings of the child, most of which were widely reported by the press.
As an example, cases of international cooperation can be mentioned, namely with Spain, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom, which led to the detention or identification of persons that tried to introduce misleading information about the hypothetical destiny or tracking of the child.
In summary, it is notorious that the PJ spared no efforts in the sense of making exceptional technical, human and financial means available to find the child and to discover the truth of facts, having been completely accompanied in this effort by the Leicestershire Constabulary, the police force that is located in the city of Leicester, where most of the people in the holiday group come from."
in: Processo 201/07.0 GALGS - Volume XVII - pages 4592-4595 (Public Prosecutor's Archiving Dispatch)
The Archiving of the Madeleine McCann Process: One Year On - Part I
The Archiving of the Madeleine McCann Process: One Year On - Part II
The Archiving of the Madeleine McCann Process: One Year On - Part III
The Archiving of the Madeleine McCann Process: One Year On - Part IV
The Archiving of the Madeleine McCann Process: One Year On - Part V
The Archiving of the Madeleine McCann Process: One Year On - Part VI
The Archiving of the Madeleine McCann Process: One Year On - Part VII
The Archiving of the Madeleine McCann Process: One Year On - Part VIII
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