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

PJ received 247 complaints concerning the disappearance of minors this year

If Madeleine McCann is alive, she is 6 years old this Tuesday. This is the most heavily media covered case that is being followed on national territory. But the disappearance of Portuguese children is a hard reality that has not been given the same media exposure as the English child. In the area of Lisbon alone, there are over 30 missing teenagers since the beginning of the year. Nevertheless, the Judiciária claims success concerning the recovery of children since Maddie’s disappearance, in the Lisbon area.

The success is lower with teenagers over 12 years of age. Since January until the end of April this year, the Judiciária has already received 247 complaints about disappearances, and at the moment, 32 cases are still under investigation, which means they haven’t been found yet.

Such is the case of Pamela Matias dos Santos, now aged 18, who has been missing since September 2007. And Maria Armanda Varela, aged 16, missing for over 6 months. Álvaro Neto, also aged 16, with unknown whereabouts since the beginning of the year.

Missing children since May 2007

Sara Sofia Lopes dos Santos is aged 3 and has been missing since the beginning of the year, in the Algarve area, where she lived. It’s a possible parental abduction, as the authorities suspect that she has been taken by her mother.

On the Polícia Judiciária’s website she is now the only missing child since Maddie’s disappearance.

The success is especially visible in the Lisbon region. Since the 3rd of May 2007, 131 children disappeared but all were found, safe and sound.

What changed since the Maddie case? The process of Maddie’s disappearance was archived less than one year ago.

source: SIC, 12.05.2009


  1. What's changed is that the profile of missing children all over the world has been raised to a much higher level through these unfortunate circumstances. The Amber Alert, or equivalent, has been put in place to help aid a quick response when children go missing. If we all asked ourselves the question "How many children did we know about before Madeleine wemt missing?" I think the majority of us would have to hang our head in shame and say very few. Well done all missing agencies around the world in recovering missing children.
    Unfortunately Madeliene is still not home and is one of the unfortunate ones.

    Thinking of Madeleine Beth McCann on her birthday.

  2. To Anonymous,

    The amber alert is only viable if the parent knows roughly when their child disappeared.

    There is more chance of the recovery of their child if their parents co-operate with the police and don't lie to cover their own backs like the McCann's did.

  3. The amber alert system isn't the only one. It is appropriate for the United states. There are others which work well for Europe, and are run by the police. We should stop presenting the issue as if it was amber alert or nothing. Once again, this is also a marketing trick that some have played with the public opinion: Let us not forget there is a lot of money involved behind the system, as it will apply to the whole of Europe. Some have managed to make us think "amber alert", as soon as we think of disappeared children, the same as we would associate Coca-cola with soft drinks, or Ford for cars . Well it isn't a yes or no question, it has many answers, and I think we Europeans don't need to copy, or to let another continent run the business, when we have other ways, more adapted to our needs, and which have proved succesful.

  4. I suspect the only reason the McCann inquiry was closed was because of the opposite opinions of the McCanns and the British Government - the the girl was abducted - and the police that this was not the case. Also the parents were hardly helpful to the police preferring publicity.

  5. SIC television "boss" might be pro-McCann, but some of their reporters alredy seem to have made up their own minds on this case, despite the channels mild pro- McCann tendency. Yesterday, two of their jornalists had a slip of tongue that showed what they really feel about the case:
    Conceição Lino, presenter of the "Nós por cá" show, ended the program saying something in the lines of "tomorrow Madeleine McCann would be 6 if she were alive,ermm..., if she IS alive".
    Later, at the end of the evening news, Clara de Sousa had an even bigger slip, as she said that "SIC was going the broadcast the McCann doc., that was made to mark the 2nd anniversary of Madeleine McCann's deat...(h)...ermmm, disappearance"!!!
    These two have showed what their ideas on the subject are...


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