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Twins without memory of a dramatic loss - Correio da Manhã

Investigation: Sean and Amelie learned to speak in Portugal

Can the twins, Maddie’s siblings, remember how the English girl disappeared from the apartment in Praia da Luz, on the 3rd of May 2007? “No”, considers neuropsychologist Nelson Lima.

Sean and Amelie were two years old on that tragic evening when their sister disappeared. “At that age, a child is not able to retain any memory whatsoever”, the president of the Intelligence Institute, in Oporto, refers.

The creation of memory obeys the completion of three exercises by the brain, the neuropsychologist explained. The first one is observation; the second one is the registration of the facts, an ability that is not developed in a two-year-old child yet, and which is vital to carry out the third operation: remembrance.

“There are persons who state that they remember experiences that took place before the age of two”, but, according to Nelson Lima, “that is not possible. In truth, there is no memory of those events”.

“What exists is a different situation, which is called a virtual picture. In this case, the individual shapes an image of the story later on, and assumes that as real. It is not memory, it’s a construction that is built by imagination, based on witness accounts”, he added. A virtual reality that Sean or Amelie may have created and expressed in the meantime, because according to their father, Gerry, the twins started speaking in Portugal, after losing their sister.

Future memory

Recollections of Maddie – If she is alive, Maddie is now five years old, which means that she is able to remember.

Twins asleep – Testimonies reveal that, despite the turmoil that was created after the disappearance was discovered, the twins continued to sleep. They may therefore not have seen Maddie’s last moments in the bedroom.

Taken from the crèche – Maddie’s siblings frequented the Ocean Club’s crèche until July 2007, when the parents moved into a villa.

source: Correio da Manhã, 17.08.2008


  1. I am a twin and at 60 years of age can remember sitting in a pram with my sister and dropping toys over the side at around the same age as Madeleine's siblings when her parents reported her 'missing'.

    We were not given medication as children and suffered no abnormal 'drowsiness' night or day as a result.

    Given the comotozed condition of the twins found by PJ, they would obviously have heard/seen nothing.

    They must have been equally comotozed the night Madeleine was reportedly heard crying for 1 hr 15 mins, followed by more noise on the McCanns being summoned to placate her.

    It's normal in cases of missing children to consider the effects on siblings and act accordingly.
    Marketing Madeleine in a seeingly unrelenting high media profile campaign will cause inevitably cause problems for the twins. Firstly, when starting school which could well worsen into adulthood.

    The impact on the sons of the fraudulent behaviour of the 'canoeist' was devastating. Normal intelligent children ask questions and they will hold memories of the sister they loved. There was a photo on Viv's blog of Madeleine spoon feeding her brother. Love binds and memories go deep. It's not determined by a scientific 'sliding rule'; it's individual and immeasurable.

    Humans cannot see the 200 million receptors used by Eddie & Keela of which us humans possess only around 5 million. Yet they exist, cannot be replicated by scientists; invaluable, especially in cases of children reported 'missing' by their parents.

    The McCanns will not be able to keep the twins quiet as they grow up. They will have to face society and the inevitable effects of a high profile marketing campaign. There are none so forthright in their questions as children.

  2. Bom dia,todos os dias.

    Os ataques furiosos aos NOSSOS!!!!

    As notícias originais vêm em:


  3. Our three children were speaking fluently at 2 years of age and asking many questions as children do in their quest for knowledge.

    The twins development supports reports that children placed in nurseries are often slower in developing than children who have a one to one relationship with a parent in their formative years.

    A child not talking until 2 years of age is a real cause for concern.

  4. Childhood memories can be rather puzzling. I have memories I can place very early in my childhood years but often wonder how much is first hand recollection and how much is what I heard my mother report.

    Precocious infants may be able to have earlier memories than most but the McCann twins are not beyond the boundaries of average development if they only started talking when their parents say. Children can ask embarassing questions, ranging from 'Why does grandma have a moustache?' to rather pointed questions that will be very hard to answer as is the case with the twins in relation to the disappearance of their sister.

  5. Based on my personal experiences, I have to disagree with Mr.Lima. My sister, my mother and I live in different provinces in Canada, but every summer we all meet at my mother's house. My niece at 25 months remembered in detail things that happened in that house a year earlier. My niece started to talk very early so I guess she is not your average child. My point is that each individual is different and we can't put everyone under the same umbrella.

  6. Nanny Catriona Baker said the twins weren't in the apartment at 10.05pm on the night that Madeleine disappeared. Yet, they were back in their cots with no sheets, when the GNR arrived. Whose apartment were they in that evening and more importantly, WHY?

  7. I believe that Nelson Lima is wrong. A child of two remembers faces and voices, and remembers certain early words. They may well remember what happened to Madeleine. The trouble is they will be brainwashed by the McCanns. They will remember what they are told.

  8. It's ridiculous to say a child not talking until two years of age is a real cause for concern! My son didn't talk until he was 3 years old, he is 8 now and speaks fluent portuguese and english. He is also above average in all subjects at school apart from sports which he's not interested on. A bit of an academic and brainy child.


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