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Francisco Moita Flores: «In the Maddie case someone lies»

The Portuguese former PJ inspector Francisco Moita Flores participates in the documentary 'The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann' (DKiss). Today marks the 12th anniversary and there is still no trace of the small child.

by Julián Alía

Twelve years later, Madeleine's whereabouts are still unknown. On the night of May 3, 2007, she disappeared from her hotel(apartment) bedroom in Praia da Luz (Portugal), where she was staying with her parents Kate and Gerry McCann, who had gone out to dinner. The police inspector Francisco Moita Flores, about to turn 70, already retired and now connected to the world of literature and television, followed the case from the beginning, and now, is one of the faces of the documentary 'The disappearance of Madeleine McCann', which broadcasts tonight at DKiss at 10pm.

- What is your theory about this case?

- I have no theories, because according to a professor that I had: 'he who does not know, theorizes'. I was in Greece when the case happened and the first news I saw was on an English channel. I saw some detectives talking, who were supposed to have been hired by Maddie's parents, pulling out theories about what might have happened. It was so absurd what they said that I called a colleague to investigate the parents and the group of friends, which is something you have to do in a criminal investigation: investigate those closest to the victim.

- Why were they absurd?

- It is unthinkable that a group of parents go to a foreign country and abandon their children at home to go to dinner eighty or one hundred meters away. That was the first error in the investigation: all those theories of fantasies based on a network of paedophiles that abducted children. In a criminal investigation there must be no theories. We must raise hypotheses and questions for the events that occurred. Theories are for romances and movies, but a criminal investigation is very pragmatic, very practical, very empirical, and is not compatible with moral judgments. Those who theorize so much instead of focusing on the facts it's because they do not know how to investigate.

- How come twelve years later we still do not know what happened?

- The Judiciary Police has made mistakes. The first was to not consider the parents as suspects for the crime of abandonment and exposure that they did with their children. This crime is known in Portuguese law: crime of exposure and abandonment of minors. This is the main mistake that was made, and from this point on everything has been manipulated.

- Do you think it will be resolved?

- I do not think it's going to be resolved. The only way to solve this case would be to do a reconstruction of that night, because if you read the case files you realize that within the group of eight people who were there, there are people who are lying, and some, blatantly.

- How did you live the case?

- I experienced it with a lot of tension, obviously, for being such a mediatic case, but also with the necessary distance to be able to analyse it, because it has been a case that the public opinion has fallen in love with. Thanks to this distance I have been able to see the errors and the virtues of the case. One of the mistakes, as I said, was the sequence of theories that were impossible. It is impossible for an abductor, whoever he is, to enter quietly through the door, pick up the girl and go out with her in his arms through that specific window.

- Do you ever get used to these situations?

- Yes, you get used to dealing with crimes every day; it is our routine. But Portugal is the safest country in Europe and in the 40 years of democracy we have, besides Maddie, only 3 other children have disappeared. There was never a network of paedophiles, abductors ... That never existed in Portugal, it is an invention that has been made to protect the parents of Maddie and their group of friends.

- Why did you leave the police?

- I have been a policeman for many years and I have always been studying, but the moment came when I had to decide whether to pursue a university career or to continue with the police work and I chose the university option.

- Was it then when you started in the world of literature and TV?

- No, the writer's career has always been parallel to that of the police. Now I'm retired, but I'm still writing fiction.

in El Correo, May 3 2019 (Spanish)

Netflix Series on the Maddie case, considered by many experts on the case as heavily biased in favour of the McCann couple and poor on details, omitting several facts publicly available in the PJ case files.

Maddie. Those who do not know, theorize.
And after fifteen years* and twelve million pounds, the poor creature's whereabouts remain unknown. But there are things we know.

The Netflix documentary into the disappearance of Maddie, the little English girl that disappeared in the Algarve, prompted news about the case, and with them, old and new theories about the fate of the poor child resurfaced. In fact, as an old teacher said, those who do not know, theorize. Nothing better to spend half an hour of small talk without any solutions or answers.

It is true. Those who do not know, theorize. And after fifteen years and twelve million pounds, the poor creature's whereabouts remain unknown. But there are things we know. That the English police made the largest campaign ever in search of a British child and did not do the same in hundreds of cases, which they are responsible for, that annually happen in England. Why so much investment in one child? Well, it is not known. And those who do not know, theorize.

It is extraordinary that, after so many years, what the British police did, and repeated to exhaustion, was to explore the very same hypotheses that the Portuguese police explored. They brought nothing new, they have nothing to substantiate an abduction, they haven't announced the possibility of a solid suspect. It seems that there is only one absolute truth to this millionaire investigation: the parents and the parent's friends who that night abandoned their children to their fate are clearly protected by the police investigation. Why this complicity so promiscuous, when the British police knows, like all the police in the world, that it is precisely in the child's immediate circle that the key to the problem lies? That's right, we do not know. And those who do not know, theorize.

It's enough to read the process. The eight protagonists of this story lied about what they did that night. The statements of several of them are contradictory. Knowing who is lying is resolved with a reconstruction of the night of the crime. Something that will not cost more than twenty thousand pounds, including travelling expenses. The English police have always refused this step. Why? I do not know. And those who do not know, theorize. That is the case with Netflix.

in Correio da Manhã, April 14, 2019
*12 years and possibly more than £12 million pounds - w/t to unknown for correction


  1. Will be broadcast in Portugal, on Investigation Discovery (exclusive to NOS operator) on the 26 of May at 23pm. Have the impression it will be as biased as the Netflix series was.

    Press release by ID

    -- Two-Part Special Event Premieres Sunday, April 7 at 9/8c, Exclusively on ID –
    (Silver Spring, MD) – For Kate and Gerry McCann, the night of May 3, 2007 was the day their dream Portugal vacation turned into a living nightmare. This infamous night was when their 3-year-old daughter, Madeleine, vanished from their hotel room just yards from where the young parents were dining. Convinced she was kidnapped from her bed, the McCanns desperately plead for Madeleine’s safe return, sparking a worldwide manhunt. But as international authorities ramped up their efforts, a veil of suspicion was cast on everyone by law enforcement and loved ones alike. Ten years following her shocking disappearance, Investigation Discovery (ID) examines what really happened to Madeleine McCann that fateful night in the two-hour special event, MADELEINE MCCANN: AN ID MURDER MYSTERY premiering Sunday, April 7 at 9/8c.
    “The disappearance of Madeline McCann is every parent’s true life, nightmare: your little daughter is snatched from your hotel room in a foreign country, vanishing seemingly into thin air,” said Henry Schleiff, Group President of Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America. “Someone out there knows what really happened to Madeleine McCann, which is why we are eager to engage our passionate viewers in helping us to bring renewed attention to this heartbreaking case and, hopefully, find justice for Madeleine, once and for all.”
    The latest installment from ID’s breakout MURDER MYSTERY franchise, MADELEINE MCCANN examines the case from top to bottom, dissecting the timeline leading up to Madeleine’s disappearance and the subsequent actions taken by law enforcement and loved ones alike to find her. The mini-series features all-new and exclusive interviews with key players in the investigation, including members of law enforcement, the McCann’s legal team, and a flurry of criminal experts and journalists who followed the case from the very beginning.
    MADELEINE MCCANN: AN ID MURDER MYSTERY is produced for ID by American Media, Inc. and Jupiter Entertainment with Allison Wallach, Tim McConville, David Pecker, and Dylan Howard as Executive Producers. For Investigation Discovery, Pamela Deutsch is senior executive producer, Sara Kozak is senior vice president of production, Kevin Bennett is general manager, and Henry Schleiff is Group President of Investigation Discovery, Travel Channel, American Heroes Channel and Destination America.


  2. There's a mistake in the article: "And after fifteen years and twelve million pounds, the poor creature's whereabouts remain unknown." It's 12 years and fifteen million pounds (at least). Otherwise good to read some very sound and rational commentary.

    1. You're absolutely right, 12 years no doubt, as to the millions I'm not entirely sure of the number now, in 2018 was close to £12 million pounds. However since that's how the article was written by Mr. Moita Flores or how it was published in CdM, I'll just add a note to the translation to reflect your correction. Thank you :)

  3. Just checked. The actual figure is £11.74 + £150K as advanced by British media sources (3 May 2019). "More funding pending". Same source.

    The above figures do not include the money spent by the Portuguese PJ or, for that matter, the Madeleine Fund Limited payments to "retired inspectors, ex-MI5/GCHQ agents, assorted con-men and other dummies"(quote).

  4. Hello, Joana whom we have read just in the British reflecting newspaper that Amaral puts his new book. The paper says that the publisher has said them that there is no book and not even a draught of every book. The McCanns are relieved about that. We are confused everybody about that concerning that, why this would become accidental and ask themselves whether you have some information with regard to his book.

    1. Hello, could you please send me the link to that article if it is online, thank you.

  5. All the money in the world won't find Madeleine if they don't look in the right places! Start with the parents, tapas 7 and a reconstruction, this case could have been solved years ago if the Police forces in both countries had done their job properly.

  6. There any truth to the saterlite picture's USA have of pdl of the night of the 3rd.may 2007.


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