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English defended the use of the dogs - Correio da Manhã

TracesFinding the trail of a death changed the direction of the investigation

An exhaustive report explains the possible scenarios to hide a body and defends the animals’ reliability

Mark Harrison, the English police who was designated to help the Polícia Judiciária in the search for Madeleine McCann, wrote a report last summer, in which he defended the usage of the dogs that are experts in the detection of cadaver odours and blood traces. The discovery of the residues and the signaling of the trail of a cadaver thus ended up formally changing the direction of an investigation that had been limited to the theory of abduction until then.

The report, which praises the Portuguese authorities’ work, suggested that the animals should be taken to all the locations where the body might have been hidden. From the apartment that had been rented by the McCanns up to the crèche, through the beach and the church area.

Mark Harrison explained that it was necessary to analyse the scenarios of Madeleine having been killed that night and her body abandoned by a person on foot or by car. The expert added that despite of the high costs of that search, it should be carried out in order to clarify the case.

Dogs are reliable

In the report, Mark Harrison says that it us very unlikely that the body was buried in the sand. The English policeman defends that a launch into the sea is the most likely scenario, while the body should also be searched for within an area of cliffs and dense bushes that lies east of Praia da Luz.

The two English dogs were presented as an indispensable help to the investigation, after their abilities and the manner in which they are trained were explained in detail, as well as the fact that they both react to blood traces and cadaver odours, without a single episode of “false positives” in the investigations.

In his report, Mark Harrison listed cases of success that offered a guarantee of reliability. And he asserted that if the dogs came to signal Maddie’s death, then it would be a fact.


High costs - Mark Harrison stressed the high costs of the dogs. Their daily rate amounted to one thousand euros; the cost of the trip for them and their handlers was of 2750. There was also the cost of the passport for the animals (450 euros), adding to the lodging, the food and the transportation of the vehicles that were necessary for the animals.

False positives – Eddie, the dog that specialized in cadaver odour detection, has never given a false alert. He has participated in approximately 200 searches in homicide scenarios in Great Britain and never signaled any products that derived from meat or any other food item.

Human blood – Keela was trained exclusively with human blood; blood that is subject to strict testing and which comes from hospitals. She locates contaminated guns, smells vehicles and clothing items, and accurately detects residues, even if the locations are subject to cleaning.


Kate refused to answer the PJ

Kate refused to answer tens of questions from the Polícia Judiciária. After the first day of questioning, when she appeared in the company of her lawyer but was heard as a witness, Kate changed her stance. Being made an arguida and the fact that the authorities assumed that they admitted her involvement in the disappearance of her daughter Madeleine, led her to adopt a different attitude.

She refused to reply, for example, why she left the twins behind in the bedroom in order to call her husband and friends at the restaurant, after finding out that Maddie had disappeared.

She also failed to explain why she had not searched for her daughter in the first moments, sitting on the bed almost without moving, and she offered no explanation for the fact that the preliminary test results from the English lab detected traces in the car boot and behind the sofa, traces whose DNA resembled Maddie’s.

Other details from her personal and professional life remained unanswered. Kate refused, for example, to explain whether or not it was true that before the holidays she had admitted she had a bad premonition. Whether or not she had ever complained that the twins were very restless or had ever admitted to deliver the guard of Maddie to a relative.

Kate also remained expressionless when she was confronted with the possibility that she had quit working because she could not handle the pressure of raising he three small children.

She did not explain how the cadaver odour was found on her clothes and on the soft toy that was normally used by Maddie, or why the dogs marked the death inside the apartment.

Kate also chose not to clarify who had called Sky News, nor did she reveal whom she had called in the moments that immediately followed the disappearance.

In her deposition, Kate was also confronted with the fact that her refusal to make a statement might hinder the discovery of her daughter’s whereabouts. Nevertheless, she kept her silence.

Mother’s DNA on the window

The window had been forced open and the abductor had taken the child through it. That was the first possibility that was advanced by Kate to the authorities that collected residues on location. But the tests that were done at the IML [Portuguese forensics institute] ended up isolating just one DNA which did not belong to the child but rather to Kate. To the PJ, it is also practically impossible for anyone to carry the child out of that window, which does not even open completely.

Gerry accepted to speak to the police

On the day that he was made an arguido, Gerry accepted to answer all of the Judiciária’s questions.

Doubts about surveillance on the children

The PJ found contradictions in the friends’ testimonies concerning the manner in which the children were watched over.

Denied the use of sedatives on the children

Kate and Gerry have always denied to the PJ that they medicated the children or used any sedative to make them sleep. Maddie’s parents thus stated that their children went to bed early simply because they were used to that, and it was not even usual for them to wake in the middle of the night. CM knows that months after Maddie disappeared, Kate suggested to the Judiciária that the twins should be tested in order to find out whether they had been sedated that night. Something that the investigators found strange, given the fact that being doctors, they both knew that any residue would have disappeared by then. This was considered to be another indicator that Kate and Gerry were not telling the whole truth about what happened on the 3rd of May, hiding what had happened to the child.


Recorded PJ taped action – The dogs’ search was recorded by the Polícia Judiciária. The handler also wrote an extensive report that translated the signs that had been detected by the animals during their search for traces.

TIR English address – Kate stated her identity and her residence and gave her English address. Therefore, the return home was not considered to be an escape from justice.

Return Postponed promise – When they returned home, the McCanns promised to return if it was necessary to make a statement. The reconstitution was requested, but the friends boycotted it.

source: Correio da Manhã, 20.07.2008, paper edition


  1. Joana,

    face a tudo isto e àquilo que é relatado hoje no DN, o MP tem obrigação moral de os levar a tribunal.

    Como é que não há hoje nenhum artigo na imprensa portuguesa que exponha o ponto de vista dos cidadãos portugueses em relação à forma como estes suspeitos estão a safar-se?

    Como não há um jornalista que venha à televisão ou aos jornais para que o MP possa tb levar em conta a forma como todos nos sentimos? Até porque é também uma questão de justiça para os outros pais portugueses que REALMRNTE não sabem do paradeiro dos filhos.

    Por favor Joana,se puder, invista no dia de hoje. Que o MP se decida por levá-los a tribunal. perdido por 10, perdido por 100.Pelo menos terão de demonstrar a sua inocência.

    Se ler os jornais ingleses de hoje, verá que vale a pena não baixar os braços.


  2. The dirty stinking McCanns without a doubt had something to do with the death of their daughter Madeleine and then set about a cover up.
    Presuming Madeleine's death was a accident what pisses me off is the matter of fact way the Mccann's acted, no sign of upset or distress, poor Madeleine, not even mourned by those meant to care and love her the most, her parents.
    But for the bloggers and sites like his Madeleine would now be forgotten, her passing from this world only mourned by people who never even knew her.
    Although it seems the McCanns have got away with it and will not face court for what they have done I find some comfort that the McShits will forever be vilified and live with the finger pointing by the public who have not been hoodwinked by them and those who seek to protect them.
    When Aramal's book is published here it will hopefully make their supporters realise what a pair of bastards the McCanns are.
    Lets just hope Madeleine is in peace and that one day her remains are found and she is afforded the dignity of a proper burial.

  3. The wilful refusal of the Mccann's to answer questions and their rush home as soon as they could and their reluctance and refusal to return to hunt for Madeleine or answer questions is NOT an act of any innocent party. Most of britain feels the same but are gagged from our views being published in our newspapers.

    Thank you Joana for making s safe havern available where we can read factual news reports (denied to us in the UK) and actually have the chance somewhere to state our opinions and concerns.


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