Netflix is set to premiere a documentary about the disappearance of Madeleine McCann later this month. Unfortunately for the Netflix team, this launch is garnering some negative attention. During the film’s planning stage, the production team reached out to the McCanns to begin a discussion about their potential involvement. Ultimately, the McCanns declined to participate in the documentary in any way. Even without their blessing, Netflix chose to move forward with their true crime flick. As the release date approaches, the McCanns have issued a statement expressing their dismay at the film’s impending reveal.
“We did not see - and still do not see - how this programme will help the search for Madeleine, and, particularly given there is an active police investigation, it could potentially hinder it.”
Madeleine McCann’s Disappearance
Nearly twelve years ago, Madeleine McCann disappeared from her parents’ vacation flat Portugal. Just days shy of turning 4, Madeleine was sleeping in the flat with her two younger siblings. Her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, were dining with friends with whom they were vacationing. Most nights during their stay the friends reserved a specific table at the neighboring tapas restaurant. From this table, the adults could see the rooftop of the apartment but not the door or windows. Every half an hour or so, one of the adults would stop in to check on the sleeping children. A few hours into the evening, Kate McCann checked on the children and noticed the door to the bedroom was ajar. When Kate approached, she noticed Madeleine’s blanket and stuffed animal on the bed. Maddie, unfortunately, was nowhere to be seen.
Kate And Gerry McCann Come Under Suspicion
That’s where the story of Maddie’s disappearance begins. Terrifying as the initial shock may have been, the situation only became more twisted and convoluted as the years passed. Kate and Gerry immediately drew speculative fire from critics, as Kate was the one to discover her daughter was missing. Because the McCanns were UK citizens, the Portuguese police investigatory process was unfamiliar to them and caused even more confusion. Further complicating matters, the case achieved international notoriety. Within a few weeks, the McCanns had created a website to help raise funds and awareness for Maddie’s plight.
Maddie was last seen on May 3rd, 2007. By June 6th, reporters began peppering the McCanns with what had been left unspoken to that point. Sabine Mueller, a German radio reporter provoked the pair:
"How do you feel about the fact that more and more people seem to be pointing the finger at you, saying the way you behave is not the way people would normally behave when their child is abducted and they seem to imply that you might have something to do with it?"
Just four months after Maddie was last seen, the Portuguese police declared Gerry and Kate McCann suspects in their daughter’s disappearance. On July 21st, 2008, the Portuguese Attorney General cleared the McCanns of all suspicion and officially closed the case.
Maddie is missing to this day.
Missing Children Need Parents To Push The Investigation
Because toddlers and babies cannot advocate for themselves, their parents must do so. In a guide designed by the National Center For Missing & Exploited Children, all children under the age of 13 are considered at extreme risk when missing. During an investigation, police are taught to observe family dynamics and interview all family and friends. Parents provide momentum in police investigations, pushing detectives to consider every angle. The McCanns are involved in the UK investigation of Maddie’s disappearance to this day. Their statement regarding Netflix’s new documentary reveals their faith that the case still has legs.
How To Keep Your Toddler Safe From Kidnapping
Maddie McCann was either kidnapped or she wandered from home. It’s more likely that she was abducted against her will, given her age. Babies and toddlers are especially vulnerable to abduction. They may not understand the danger in a kidnapping scenario, so we parents must look out for them. KidGuard, a family-friendly safety company, provides a few helpful safety tips specifically to protect babies and toddlers from tragedy.
- Keep up-to-date medical records on your child. These can provide identifying features.
- Make a mental note of your child’s clothing and appearance.
- NEVER display your child’s name on clothing, bags, etc. - it can be used by the would-be kidnapper to gain familiarity and trust.
- Accompany young children to the restroom in public spaces.
- NEVER leave a child under the age of 9 alone at home, in the car, or in a public place.
Gerry and Kate McCann are unwilling to participate in the upcoming Netflix documentary about their missing daughter. In any other case, one might assume the parents wanted privacy or closure. Could the McCanns be hiding a dark secret? Perhaps their reluctance stems from a fear of being caught. To this writer, their own criminal involvement seems extremely unlikely. We may never understand why the McCanns took such a risk in leaving their door unlocked, or why their children were sleeping alone. In the same way, we may never understand why the McCanns are refusing to speak to Netflix for the sake of their daughter. May they find peace and may Netflix find the truth about Madeleine McCann’s disappearance.