7 July 2012

Attorney General's Office and Expert dismiss speculation about Maddie's body


South African businessman says georadar detected object that may be Maddie's body

by João Paulo Costa and Marisa Rodrigues

The process of Madeleine McCann's disappearance will only be reopened “if there are new facts, credible and relevant and not mere hypotheses or speculations”. That was the reaction of the Procuradoria-Geral da República [Attorney General's Office] that emerged, this Thursday, after the theory of a South African businessman became known, according to which the body of the child is buried in the garden of the house of the former arguido Robert Murat in Praia da Luz, Lagos.

What was reported as a “new lead” is not being understood by the authorities as sufficiently strong to advance with any kind of diligences [steps/work] on the ground. “That information is being regarded as all others that have arrived to the process” said to JN, the national director of the Judiciary Police (PJ), Pedro do Carmo.

To the “Expresso” [link to video] the real estate businessman guarantees to have found Maddie's body in the garden of the house where Murat lived at the time when the girl disappeared, on the 3 of May of 2007. Casa Liliana where currently only Robert's 80 year-old mother, Jenny, lives is just a few meters from the Ocean Club, the resort where the McCanns were staying in their holidays.

Between the 16th and the 28th of June, Stephen Birch, 47 years-old, states that he monitored the house and that during night time he invaded [illegally trespassed] the property in order to examine the terrain with a georadar that signals subsoil variations. Without further explanations, Birch is convinced that it is the girl's body.

Fernando Almeida, the expert in Geophysics and professor at the University of Aveiro that participated in the investigations done with georadar to Murat's house back in 2007, says that the signal that was detected may correspond to objects, debris, rock fragments, supply pipes, etc... and he explains that “this method always requires confirmation by excavation, otherwise the interpretations are only hypotheses”.

Fernando Almeida. Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences at the University of Aveiro. Specialized in Geophysics.

What was your involvement in the investigation to the Maddie Case?

In August 2007 I joined an international team, among which was the English investigator Mark Harrison, to perform georadar surveys in Murat's residence. The work was exhausting, lasted two days and involved over 20 people.

Could that work be done in the same way today?

At that moment only two or three months had gone by since the disappearance; the possible turning of the terrain and vegetation at that time allowed to perform a rigorous work that after all these years would no longer be that easy. It is a terrain constituted by limestone with terra rossa [reddish-brown soil] and for that reason it would be much more difficult due to the natural compaction of the soil. I admit that the work done now (by the South African) may have detected anomalies, possibly even some that we detected at the time. From what emerged, it was a work done with many difficulties, not comparable, due to the elapsed time, with the work done by the team that I joined, especially regarding the degree of certainty in the interpretations.

What kind of methodology was employed?

It was a scientific research methodology based on the division of the space into sectors of the residence - indoors and outdoors - each sector was examined with various georadars at different depths, depending on the request of the criminal investigators. The geophysical anomalies identified as suspicious were interpreted by sector. Upon determination of the depth of the targets, they were subject to verification by excavation.

Aerial view of Casa Liliana where the forensic teams conducted their searches in August 2007, unknown newspaper source

More Doubts

Gonçalo Amaral

Gonçalo Amaral, former PJ coordinator, recalls that the garden of Robert Murat's house was inspected using a ground-penetrating radar as well as sensors and that “nothing related with the disappearance was detected”. Excavations were also made.

About Roman villa

Casa Liliana is just over 100 meters from the Ocean Club. The resort, surrounding houses and accesses were built upon the ruins of a Roman villa; to detect traces in the subsoil when infrastructure works are done is frequent.

Jornal de Notícias, July 6, 2012, paper edition, page. 14

42 comments:

  1. Back with several articles and a video to translate, hope all readers and friends are well :) Will be posting as time permits.

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  2. Phew ....... so glad you`re back Joana ... and hope you are well too.
    Louisee

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  3. Thank you for this, Joana. People need to know that Murat's property was not breezily checked over and an grave overlooked. Not only this, but no evidence ended up connecting Madeleine's disappearance to Murat even though he was reasonable person-of-interest in the early days. Evidence, as we all know, pointed away from Murat to the McCanns and this is where the investigation remains mired and frozen unless Madeleine's body is found or someone talks or the McCanns go back to Portugal and allow the investigation to continue on unimpeded.

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  4. I'm struggling to imagine what "facts" might arise, to satisfy the Attorney-General, without being the result of prior "speculation". A statement/confession by one of the Tapas Group, I suppose, would satisfy him. And if that statement declared "I believe Maddie was buried under a secondary path on Casa Liliana", then the A-G would look pretty silly.

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  5. Pat, if you read what this charlatan claims he is not saying Robert Murat had anything to do with it. He has actually given the initials of a person he clearly thinks helped the Mccanns, a person easily identified from the files. And he also says it was done that night, he has even 'identified' exactly when the 'grave' was dug and then filled. He's just another publicity-seeking fool, and I hope he has deep pockets as he could be sued.

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  6. I cant understand why AG Office dont want to check this out, her body could have been quite easly buried there well after the dogs had finished the work intrusted in them.

    This can't be spin, what good is it to the McCanns?? or is someone else doing their own spinning?????

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  7. I cannot understand if justice authorities in any country are told that the body of a missing child might be located in a specific place, regardless of prior searches, how they can not search to confirm or deny the claim. Unless they are 100% the child's remains are not where claimed, how can this report be ignored?

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  8. Profiler Pat Brown has quickly dismissed the Birch finding. However, the Birch theory does have a modicum of plausibility and worth looking at carefully. Pat Brown has said it's impossible because the Police have already searched and dug up the Murat Villa. This was done just a few days after Murat became an arguido. What if Madeleine was buried in the Villa grounds after the Police search? Brilliant! The perpetrators of this crime knew The Police wouldn't search the villa again? Surely not! They wouldn't because Murat was by this time off the hook and the attention now on the McCanns.

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  9. Come on McCanns , " No stone unturned " rememember .

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  10. Welcome back Joana (((hugs))), along with your team you've been missed.

    Regarding Stephen Birch's claims, I don't believe any of his story. Stephen Birch believes there is a body buried in Robert Murat's mum's garden. He believes the body is Madeleine and he knows that she was buried on May the 3rd, between 22:00hrs and 22:15. He also says that he doesn't believe Robert Murat is involved with Madeleine's death or burial.

    However at the time Madeleine was supposed to have been buried, Robert Murat was at home with his mum. Stephen Birch can't tell me that no one within the Murat's house didn't hear the sound of someone digging a hole in the garden. Plus the hole must have been dug well before Madeleine was placed in the ground, because it would have taken a lot longer than 15 minutes to dig a hole, put Madeleine in the hole and then cover her up with soil.

    If Robert Murat or his mum didn't hear the sound of digging, they would have noticed a mound in their garden and so would the police when they made two searches of the garden, which included digging.

    The PJ haven't taken his story seriously, because if they had, they would have immediately had the garden dug up with forensics standing by, ready to examine the grave and remove any bones that were in the grave.

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  11. anon @19.38 Agree. It would be a relatively easy task as it's a very small area and Birch can pinpoint it exactly. I don't believe there is any truth in it but this is about a missing child and should not be ignored. Even if the possibility of her being there is minute, it's still a possibility (I suppose it's possible it was done at a later date though Birch claims it was 3 May). Imo the ground should be excavated, if only for the Murats peace of mind.

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  12. It is a very clever Catch 22 situation this chap from SA has created.

    Enormous pressure on the judiciary to do some digging and dismiss this obvious hoax, but apparently that can only be done after reopening the case.

    I think I like it...

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  13. This whole business raises so many fascinating questions, above all why is Birch doing this? Apart from the risk of criminal charges the man is setting himself up to become the laughing stock of the world.

    Possible answers:

    1.Poor man is seriously deranged. Unfortunately for this point of view he comes across as much more intelligent and level-headed, and more confident, than many of the other characters who have popped up in this case. But it is still possible of course that here we have someone who could put Walter Mitty to shame with his fantasies.

    2. He is perfectly sane, but looking for a reward, or perhaps just glory. Easily dismissed because unless he really has found the body, all he will get is ridicule and ignominy and he must know that.

    3. He is of sound mind yet perfectly confident about his claims. Which simply raises more questions: why so confident, when he hasn`t even seen what is buried in that spot? And what exactly led him to take his expensive equipment to this particular spot, and strike gold, as he thinks, when he could have taken it anywhere in Portugal, no, anywhere in the world? And why and how is he prepared to pinpoint the exact time of the digging and burial to the minute?

    Who knows? But if Birch is in full possession of his faculties there seems in my humble opinion to be only one rational explanation for his making such fantastic, potentially dangerous but confident claims: he has been in contact with somebody who knows exactly what happened that night.

    As to why, given the way this has all blown up, the police of either country concerned can`t find a way to resolve it, and if is all just a load of nonsense, to get it out the way as quickly as possible - after all we are not talking huge resources or expense here, and it wouldn't be the first garden the police had dug up to no avail, well again....who knows?

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  14. Great to see you back Joana.

    Pat @no 3,Has there ever been a case in your experience of a body having been buried in a place after the site had been thoroughly searched previously ?

    A.Dubliner.

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  15. Anonymous, yes, I did read somewhere that he said he didn't think Murat did it but I didn't see the bit where he gave someone's initials. Even stupider still...like someone is going to take a shovel onto someone's property (especially at that location) and dig a grave...ludicrous indeed.

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  16. My comments to the others who think the police should dig up everyone's yard on the say so of some psychic or nutcase....this would be irresponsible and a violation of citizen's rights. One has to have a thing called "probable cause" to go searching people's property.

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  17. It wouldn't hurt to take a look.

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  18. I hope Murat tells them to go fuck off!

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  19. Pat @ 22.59 If someone claimed that the body of a missing child was buried on my property I would want the police to come and investigate that claim pronto. Even if I knew it was complete tosh, ignoring it would cause me tremendous stress and worry. I would need the police or an independent authority to have the claim checked out and confirmed as tosh.

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  20. Precisely Pat, the PGR (Attorney General's Office) can't order the Judiciary Police to do searches, which would likely force the re-opening of the process per law, based on a crime. And a crime was what Stephen Birch committed. Besides what you wrote, the PJ can't do searches without the authorization of a judge, and in this particular case of the judge and prosecutor connected to the case.

    To @13 On a Correio da Manhã's article from the 5th of July - that I still have to translate - in a small box at the top of the page Birch is quoted as saying that at the beginning he had "a financial interest in solving the case", and that latter that become an "emotional" one. Not sure if the citation is truthful, but make of that what you will...

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  21. Never mind getting PGR or any authority`s permission, its Jenny Murat`s property, her garden, why doesn`t she just get in touch with Mr. Birch, discover the exact spot and then get someone to bring a shovel round and dig. And if Robert is innocent why doesn`t he get his shovel out and dig? Anyone who is innocent will want that garden dug. Anyone who doesn`t want it dug, is automatically suspect imo.

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  22. Why doesn't some wealthy TV channel just turn up and give the owners silly money to get specialists to dig it up? I'm sure if conducted live it would be watched. Unless their is a law against offering someone money to dig small hole in their garden.
    Anyway, that's what I would do.

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  23. WELCOME BACK, JOANA! we all missed you and we hope that your trip Around the World in 800 Days was nice!
    Well, that Stephen you comment about (does his surname have really gotten a R?) should be sued by Murat and his mother because it is a crime, what he did.
    This could mean that perhaps the Met are about to tell something and the McCanns are behind this new story,making new smoke and mirrors.

    I hope Murat will sue him, asking a horrible amount of money, like the McCanns use to demand for themselves. There must be a possibility of making money out of this absurdity.


    About the Brunt video I told about and that disappeared.
    I found it back and please call on youtube


    "Brunt-Implanting the idea that Kate was the perpretator"

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  24. Let Stephen Birch excavate himself, helped by the McCanns.

    This is obviously a new attempt to manipulate the police.

    The PJ can propose the McCanns: "We start the excavation AFTER Kate answers the 48 questions".

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  25. If the PJ accepts one speculation, we will get hundreds every week, in order to delay the revision.

    It can not become again a pre-rogatory-letters-time, when the McCanns did everything to delay them: sightings, sightings...

    If Madeleine is buried in Murat's garden (which she isn't), she will not run away and she can wait.
    While she waits, the parents can bring her flowers.

    The Met and the PJ have to finish their revision before starting the next step.


    The proof that she is not there is on the fact that the McCanns want an excavation: finding the body, followed by an autopsy, broken neck, broken skull, pink blancket, traces of sedation,hair, bones, dressed up for the funeral, perhaps regular clothes(no pyjamas), a toy... The McCanns are not stupid, are they?

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  26. Obrigada to all for the welcome backs :) Meanwhile next translated article» Robert Murat likely to sue South African businessman Enjoy your weekend.

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  27. Welcome back from me too!

    There could be several reasons why Birch has decided to take the action he has.

    It may be to try and force a re-opening.
    Or alternatively it's a hoax and should be dealt with as such.
    It's now time for Madeleine to be found/declared deceased.

    We should be asking - who is behind Birch.

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  28. JUST GLAD YOU ARE BACK TAKE CARE JOANA ITS A JUNGLE OUT THERE,KEEP UP YOUR GOOD WORK ITS NICE TO BE UPDATED, FREEDOM OF SPEECH .OBRIGADA VERONICA

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  29. Small point, but shouldn't the trespass/search dates have been *June*? Quote: "Between the 16th and the 28th of July"

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  30. Is everyone forgetting the dogs?

    Quite apart from those two brilliant four-legged detectives, Eddie the Cadaver Dog and Keela the Blood Dog who ONLY alerted to McCann places and items (apartment, clothes, terrace, garden, car, Cuddlecat...etc) I'm talking about Jenny Murat's two hounds, as described in the Algarve Resident: ",,,large Serra da Estrela dogs that are kept outside as guard dogs."

    The Stephen Birch story is bunkum but it remains to be seen whether he's mad, bad, sad or on someone's payroll.


    Obrigada querida Joana, great to see you! I hope you are well? Beijinhos :g

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  31. Great to see you too querida Jilly, missed u :) beijinhos and hugs xx

    Anonymous @29 thank you, it was my mistake. It's corrected now.

    ------
    An article just came up at CdM that might elucidate some doubts, titled «South African businessman challenges Robert Murat» http://is.gd/4GcYfx, similar to «Parents defy the police to investigate lead» http://is.gd/MAIqOa, even though only the PGR (Attorney General's Office) can make that decision, as the McCanns lawyer, former head of the Portuguese Order of Lawyers, knows.

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  32. Another lunatic obsessed with Maddy's disappearance. How many more do we still have to endure? He clearly didn't hear the McCann couple: Madeleine IS alive! If they say so.....we must believe :o

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  33. Glad you are back Joana!

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  34. Isto Pode ser uma jogada suja dos Mccann/ Murat para se verem definitivamente livres do que sobra do corpo. Sei que Pode ser morbida esta ideia, mas este caso ja teve tantos ingredientes maus que tudo e possivel.
    Murat, segundo parece, casou e ja nao vive na Casa Liliana. A Casa ate dizem que ja sofreu obras depois da PJ ter feito as escavacoes de 2007. A mae, mais dia menos dia tambem deixara a Casa. Imaginem que a PJ ate morde o isco e faz escavacoes mas nao encontra nada. O lugar passa a ser o candidato perfeito para transferir definitivamente o que sobra do corpo. Fica definitivamente fora dos olhos e do interesse da policia. Entretanto a propriedade sera vendida e se acidentalmente, algo se descobrir no futuro, a culpa será atribuida a outros. Muito provavelmente a um empregado que participou nas obras. Nesta historia, quem se trama e sempre o mexilhao porque os verdadeiros culpados e seus cumplices tem advogados e conselheiros de renome que sabem bem como se montam jogadas....

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  35. :j Hey! What happened to your lateral thinking? It would not have been so presposterous for a couple of desperados or indeed a culprit to bury Madeleine's corpse there AFTERWARDS; the question is:

    Who would take that risk (under cover of the night)?

    This raises numerous questions but I shall stick to just one possibility here - one which is consistent with the forensic dogs' findings.

    From the "usual suspects" point of view this would not have been such a bad diversion tactic to start with - and an intelligent ploy to follow up afterwards...

    You wait for the police to finish digging a garden of someone made suspect and as soon as the police does so, you bury the body there - knowing it is most unlikely the police would want to dig it all up again. Good thinking, hein?

    This brings us back to Jane Tanner's (McCann's friend) controversial and contradictory testimonies but I am already making too many assumptions here.

    First of all we would need this theory to be validated and it is most unlikely the PJ will do so for obvious reasons. It seems to me the onus is on Mr. Murat to invite the media (who I am sure would glady pay for the digging) and find out for himself.

    Naturally, he might be worried such a finding would make him a suspect all over again. Not necessarily. Hiding the child's body in his garden would have been a devilishly clever plot (assuming there was one) by someone highly intelligent. Guess who? I have no idea of who the culprit(s) could be but the forensic dogs obviously do (...)

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  36. Dig it up then...if i went to the stinking feds with my suspicion of a buried body they would have to react....so react dig whatever is down there up 10 mimuite job give or take, not as if its burried 20 metres is it, then nce you finished digging stick a fucking tree in the empty hole walk round tonthe church and arrest the priest. You see catholics seem to think they can go through life commiting what ever vile depraved act and its all forgiven sunday morning...

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  37. Olá! Happy to see you back Joana!
    I have no doubt that Fernando Almeida and his team did a good job. Then again, "errare humanum esde": they might have overseen something... so I'm in favor of further excavations.

    But my expectations are low... and you knwo why. You already know were I believe further searches should be made, right? ;)

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  38. Anon 36

    Try to improve your writing and moderate your language. We are not all chavs you know.

    Talk about Catholics! What about Protestants? Shall we have a look at the records and find out what the score is like?

    What about the Jewish and the Buddhists and the Taoists not to mention the Muslims?

    People's behaviour has nothing to do with their religion. Truly religious people, if anything else, more often than not, show a much higher moral, ethical behaviour than adrift materialists. You just cannot overgeneralised. That's prejudice.

    Just because one or two sheep have gone astray that does not mean all other sheep are celebrity porno stars! Pureese!

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  39. Joana Pat ..you are both dissapointing me immensly with your quick judgements - i would not of expected it from you two wise ladies.

    Firstly Pat - nutcases,crankpots,physics etc is a generalisation - the Man who has handed this information in at first appearence would not seem to fit those descriptions - Pat what is your profile of him ?
    the "probable cause" ? can you elaborate... given the location and FACT that this property has been linked to the case along with Robert Murat.
    Joana - you talk of him committing a crime in respect to trespassing onto the property without permission.
    Can i ask what would you think regarding the mccanns having their daughter put alongside anothers girl who had been abducted without asking for permission.

    or again will it be a different set of laws applied by the powers that be.

    mojo

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  40. @25

    By the time the Met finish their revision Madeleine would have been dead 7 years. Perhaps just in time to declare her 'officially dead'.

    Is that the case in Portugal, UK ? Don't know, but it is the case here in South Africa.

    Don't know Birch personally, but why not dig up the property ? Could do no harm to satisfy everyone concerned, the McCanns, Murat and the general public.

    I'm sure Birch being a property developer could replace Murat's concrete driveway free and gratis if nothing or something is found.

    If nothing is found then that would end speculation and the McCanns can find another story for the Media.

    Sandie

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  41. E que tal fazer a escavação... só para eliminar de vez esta possibilidade? Custava assim tanto?

    How about doing the digging... just to eliminate this possibility once and for all? Would it be that hard???

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  42. So glad that you are back, Joana! Have missed you! Looking forward to more posts from you, And its nice to see other McCann Case Files friends here welcoming you too. Hi gang! LOL! Brit A. xx

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