1.Everyone shall possess the right to freely express and publicise his thoughts in words, images or by any other means, as well as the right to inform others, inform himself and be informed without hindrance or discrimination 2.Exercise of the said rights shall not be hindered or limited by any type or form of censorship Constitution of the Portuguese Republic, Article 37.º

Dog Detects car of the McCann Couple

Investigation: Traces of blood and smell of the death in the vehicle

One of the dogs used by the PJ signalled Kate and Gerry car among ten vehicles parked in an underground parking triggered by the cadaver odour

The vehicle used by Kate and Gerry McCann, a Renault Scénic, travelled, in a little over a month, between the 27th of May and 3rd of July, 2750 kilometres, at a time when the McCanns were globetrotting. This was one of the leads followed by the investigators of the Maddie case. The PJ tried to clarify who drove the car and which were the routes done by the vehicle where traces [body fluids, DNA] presumed to belong to Madeleine were found.

The vehicle was handed over to the McCanns with 3114 kilometres, on the 27th of May of last year, just a few days before one of the most mediatic travels done by the parents of the disappeared child in Praia da Luz on the 3rd of May of 2007: the audience with the Pope Benedict XVI. On the 3rd of July, the car's kilometer counter registered 5864 kilometres.


The vehicle driven by the McCanns turned out to be one of the most important means of proof for the PJ, after traces of the child had been found by the English dogs, namely odour to human cadaver and to blood.

In one of the cino-techniques [Human Remains detection by expert dogs] done on 6th of August by the dog ‘Eddie’, of the English Springer Spaniel race, who detects odour of cadaver, the animal signalled the car of the McCanns between ten vehicles that were in an underground parking. There were traces of blood in the key and at the car boot. The key still had odour to corpse.

Identical traces were found by the animals in the Ocean Club’s apartment, in a flowerbed in the back yard, in two of Kate's clothes and in one of Maddie’s and in the 'plush toy' of the child, which the mother carried everywhere.

In the apartment there were evidences, specifically in the couple’s room (in a corner, near the wardrobe) and in the living room (behind of the sofa, next to the side window of the apartment).


The investigation to the disappearance of Madeleine McCann was archived by the Attorney General of the Republic (PGR) on the 21st of July.

The process can be reopened if new elements of proof appear.

The process made available to the media on Tuesday was recorded in a DVD. The process has more than 30 thousand pages, which correspond to 47 volumes of investigation.

Source: Correio da Manhã 09.08.2008

Extracts on the Cadaver dogs from the PJ Final Report (click here to read the full report)

pages 35 and 36

(...) Now the question related to the performance of the British dogs will be covered, along with the consequent quality assumed by the parents of MADELEINE, once again with the ability to revisit the description later in the report.

In this way, from pages 1989 and following, one can read the full report by MARK HARRISON, whose specialty is the search for missing people or homicide victims, including catastrophe scenarios. He provided the use of canines, specialized in the detection of vestiges of human blood and human cadaver odor.

This is an inspection technique commonly used in the United Kingdom, frequently with positive results, consisting of the utilization of two especially trained dogs.

One of the dogs is trained to detect cadaver odor and the other to detect vestiges of human blood, with existing knowledge that their prior usage had resulted in significant results, principally in the detection of vestiges, which had then been, later, confirmed in the laboratory.

After a positive joint meeting with the British police, it was decided to use this capability and a large number of objects and locations were examined, with these diligences being recorded in films which are included in the documentation (appendix III).

In some of these locations and objects, the animals exhibited the behaviour of identification and “signaling”, including:

pages 37 and 38 - to follow

1 - Apartment 5A, of the resort ‘Ocean Club’, place from where the child disappeared.

- cadaver odour dog:
*in the couple’s bedroom, in a corner, close to the wardrobe;
*in the living room, behind the sofa, close to the lateral window of the apartment;

- blood dog:
* in the living room, behind the sofa, close to the lateral window of the apartment (exactly as it was signalled by the cadaver odour dog);

2 – Area of the backyard, close to the apartment 5A:

- cadaver odour dog:
* in a flowerbed, commented by the dog handler the lightness of the scent detected;

3 – Apartments where the rest of the elements of the group stayed

* NOTHING was detected by any of the dogs;

4 – House of the MCCANNs at the date of the inspection [second apartment]

* NOTHING at the house, was detected by any of the dogs;

5 - In the area of Vila da Luz

* NOTHING was detected by any of the dogs;

6 – In the clothes and belongings of the Family MCCANN

- cadaver odour dog:
* in two pieces of clothing belonging to KATE HEALY
* in a piece of clothing of the minor MADELEINE
* in the plush toy, possibly belonging to MADELEINE (it was detected cadaver odour, when the plush was inside the residence – at the date occupied by the family)

7 – In the vehicle used by the MCCANN family

- cadaver odour dog:
* signalled the key of the vehicle;

- blood dog:
* signalled the key of the vehicle;
* signalled the interior of the vehicle’s boot;

8 – In the vehicle used by a friend of the family, who stayed in the same resort, matching some of the holiday days.

pages 39 and 40

* NOTHING was detected by either dog;

9. In all the vehicles that were used by arguido ROBERT MURAT and persons that are close to him;

* NOTHING was detected by either dog.

(in a total of ten vehicles, the cadaver odour dog and the blood odour dog only signaled the vehicle that belonged to the MCCANN family, which was rented on the 27th of May)

On the locations and the pieces that were marked and signaled by the blood dog, forensics tests were performed, especially at a reputed British laboratory (Forensic Science Service – check Appendixes I and VII – FSS Final Report) but also, some of them at the reputed National Institute of Forensics Medicine (check Appendix I), whose final results did not corroborate the canine markings, which is to say, cellular material was collected that was not identified as pertaining to anyone specific, and it was not even possible to determine the quality of that material (v.g. whether it could be blood or another type of bodily fluid).

But during a first scientific approach (pages 2617 and following), the possibility of a match between the DNA profile of MADELEINE and some of the collected residues (among which those that existed in the Renault Scenic that had been rented by the McCANN couple were abundant) was raised; a match which, as can be verified in the aforementioned final report from the FSS, failed to be verified, after the execution of long and complex testing.

On pages 2461 and following, the translation of the comments that were made by the dog handler, during the inspection actions, was appended.

Based on the action of the canine team and the aforementioned initial scientific approach, which revealed the possibility of the existence of a cadaver inside the apartment and in the vehicle that was used by the MCCANN family, and in order to allow for GERALD McCANN and KATE HEALY to see their position within the process safeguarded, they were made arguidos, in face of the mere possibility of their involvement with the possible cadaver. During the questioning as arguidos, they denied any responsibility in the disappearance of their daughter.

It may be questioned that KATE HEALY was not immediately made an arguida, but rather inquired, as a witness, and only afterwards, following said inquisition, did she assume that quality.

Therefore, the constitution of KATE HEALY as an arguida was made when she was confronted with concrete elements that might lead to her incrimination, a fact that, within the terms of the penal process law, would officiously force that constitution.(....)

The dogs’ work as described by their own handler - Jornal de Notícias
7 Aug 2008
The cadaver detection dog “Eddie” and the blood detection dog “Keela” showed themselves as “very excited” when they entered apartment 5A of the Ocean Club, the one that had been occupied by the McCann couple during their holidays...

"Madeleine died in the apartment" - Correio da Manhã
23 Jul 2008
We talk about blood residues because the CSI dog is trained to detect only that bodily fluid. The reports that were used to based the decision on, which were written by experts Mark Harrison and Martin Grime, are clear: the CSI dog was...

English defended the use of the dogs - Correio da Manhã
20 Jul 2008
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...

McCanns Case: How can a dog sniff through concrete?
26 Feb 2008
The McCanns previously tried to dismiss the cadaver dogs findings, stating that the Cadaver dogs were manipulated to react to the Renault Scenic therefore implying that the South Yorkshire police special team handling the dogs was...

External and Interesting sources: 
Cadaver Dog Handbook (Forensic Training & Tactics) - PDF File
Cadaver dogs are canines, Canis familiaris, which are specially trained to find human decomposition scent and alert their handlers to its location. They are used in a variety of forensic contexts, including search and discovery of human cadavers, body parts, or body fluids....

At the former children's home at Haut de la Garenne in Jersey, a sensational discovery was made in February; a fragment of what might have been human bone. It was unearthed by a dog trained to detect human remains...


  1. Joana,
    this cadaver dogs handbook in PDF is very interesting.
    But why can't we read Mark Harrison's and Martin Grime's report ?

  2. Of course, none of this, as far as I am aware, has made it into our Sunday tabloids. Instead the columnists seem keen, overly keen if you ask me, to cling to the idea that Madeleine is in the clutches of deranged perverts.

    And therein lies a problem as far as dicovering the truth is concerned. Some People actually want this pair to get off scot free regardless of any involvement they may have had in a child's disappearance.

    I remember, some time ago, reading one columnist, I don't remember who, state that if the McCs are guilty then his/her faith in human nature 'would be destroyed.' Sad but true.

    So - let's just abide by our stereotypes of good and evil and look away from the shedloads of incriminating evidence. Let us hope it all just fades away.

    Every investigation into child abuse at children's homes reveals details of cover-ups and corruption by professional and relatively powerful people, while others look away or are threatened or are disbelieved. These events take place behind closed doors and are witnessed by small numbers of people.

    This affair, however, has been played out in public and has been influenced by some very senior establishment figures. When the truth of this case finally emerges, and the cover-up and corruption is revealed, no-one in these positions of influence will be able to claim that he/she was duped - not the editors, not Clary, not govt. meddlers. No-one.

    Speaking of Clarence, somebody commented that he is looking jaded these days. I agree. He is looking kind of forlorn. Thinking of changing sides? Just think of the block-buster he could pen - all that filthy lucre -
    My Light-bulb Moment: The Day I Turned Them In, by Clarence Mitchell. Even I would buy a copy. Blimey, I'd even send him a Christmas card in Pentonville.

  3. A super nice day!

    13 marcas assinaladas na parede.São muitas!Muitas!Muitas.

    Li que 1 peça de roupa da Pequenina também tinha odor a cadáver.
    (aqui ou no P.).


    Lembrando o passado(já ultrapassado)da ginástica sueca,mais conhecida por ginástica cueca....insiste,insiste,insiste,insiste.

    Portanto,J.,P.,D.,Esp. e tantos outros insistam,insistam,insistam.
    Repisar e tornar a repisar para despertar as mentes obscurecidas e adormecidas,muito mal adormecidas;demasiadamente anestesiadas e contaminadas.

    Bem haja quem trabalha com toda esta insistência,absolutamente necessária.



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