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Mystery of Madeleine McCann Disappearance Still Unsolved

Aired October 8, 2007 - 20:00:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: A beautiful 3-year-old little girl, baby Maddy, reportedly snatched during a luxury vacation resort. Her parents party down at a dinner 100 yards away, leaving baby Maddy and twin siblings home alone. Tonight, the baby Maddy mystery continues.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the last place 3-year-old Madeleine McCann was seen alive, the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Madeleine and her family, on vacation from England, spent the afternoon of May 3 by the hotel pool. This exclusive video is the first we`ve seen inside the resort grounds. Madeleine`s mom, Kate, says her little girl told her it was the best day she`d ever had. This smiling picture would be the last taken of Madeleine before she vanished just hours later.

(on camera): Much of what the police know is still a mystery to us, in part because of a Portuguese law that makes it illegal to talk about a current investigation. But details of that night have emerged and could hold the key to the case. Through various reports, here`s what we`ve learned.

(voice-over): Around 6:00 o`clock that evening, Gerry and Kate McCann say they took Madeleine and their 2-year-old twins back to this apartment. According to police, what happened to Madeleine after that last sighting is unknown. The McCanns say they put the three kids to bed around 7:30 in a room laid out like this one. Close to 8:30, the parents say they left the children alone in the apartment to join a group of friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.

KATE MCCANN, MOTHER: I think it`s quite similar to, on a summer`s evening at home, eating in your garden while the children are in their bed. You know, it`s that close.

TUCHMAN: The restaurant is located within the resort. Michael (ph) and Susan Cooper (ph) are now renting the unit right next door to where the McCanns stayed. The Coopers don`t know the McCanns but let us out on their balcony to see that the tapas bar is within eyesight of the apartment. But...

(on camera): If someone was crying inside this apartment, would you hear them at the restaurant?


TUCHMAN (voice-over): A waiter who served the table that night tells CNN the McCanns and their seven friends were not drinking as heavily as has been reported but did have some pints of beer, cocktails and a few bottles of wine. At about 9:00 o`clock, Gerry McCann says he got up to check on the children and then returned to the table. Some time after 9:15, one of the dinner guests, who was checking on her own daughter, says she saw a man walking away from the resort carrying a small child. The McCanns say it could have been the kidnapper, but the police are questioning the woman`s account.

(on camera): At around 9:30, one of the McCanns` friends came back to the apartment to check on the children, but apparently, just listened at the door. Thirty minutes later, Kate McCann herself went to see how her children were doing. She went inside the apartment and told police that Madeleine was gone, the window to the bedroom open.

(voice-over): This is what Gerry McCann told his sister.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He said that Madeleine had been abducted. She`s not the type of wee girl to wander off. They`d been checking every half an hour on the children.

TUCHMAN: Kate McCann returned to the table screaming that Madeleine had been taken.

GERRY MCCANN, FATHER: From the minute we discovered Madeleine missing, and the police were called very early on, we alerted them, you know, almost immediately.

TUCHMAN: Police arrived, and a team of detectives was assembled just before midnight. Along with resort guests, authorities searched throughout the night. At that point, police believed Madeleine had been kidnapped. They did not secure the apartment.

JOHN HILL, OCEAN CLUB MANAGER: We tried to do a strategic search from the right-hand side of the village across through to the left.

TUCHMAN: But there was no sign of missing Madeleine.

KATE MCCANN: Please, please, do not hurt her. Please don`t scare her. Please tell us where to find her or put her in a place of safety and let somebody know where she is. We beg you to let Madeleine come home.

TUCHMAN: Nearly five months later, Madeleine is still not home. Her story has captured the world`s attention, even a papal blessing, and now authorities say she may have been killed and have named her parents as suspects. The McCann family says the parents are being framed, the victims of a bungled investigation. Portuguese police won`t comment. And now billionaire Richard Branson has joined the fray, offering 100,000 pounds to help cover their legal bills.

Rumors are rampant, facts scarce. Those final hours of May 3 remain a mystery, except to the person or persons who harmed Madeleine McCann.

Gary Tuchman, CNN, Praia da Luz, Portugal.


GRACE: Joining us right now from "America`s Most Wanted," Michelle Sigona. Michelle, what`s the latest on baby Maddy?

MICHELLE SIGONA, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Well, the latest on little Madeleine is that she`s still missing, Nancy, unfortunately. It`s been more than 150 days at this point. Kate and Gerry McCann are still suspects. They will remain suspects in Portugal for a matter -- all the way up to eight months. Also, Robert Murat, someone who was looked at early on in the investigation, is still considered a suspect in this particular case. Madeleine is still missing.

There`s also a maid at the resort, Nancy, who has not been identified. Apparently, this maid is a disgruntled person, someone who had left the resort area. Investigators are still trying to track her down. In addition, Nancy, the main -- the lead investigator has actually -- he`s been taken out of this case. And the second person in charge of this investigation, he has actually stepped down himself, requesting a leave of absence at this point.

GRACE: Do we know why he wants off the case?

SIGONA: Not too sure. Investigators are keeping pretty mum about that, unfortunately, at this point. But you know, it does have to do most likely a lot with Kate and Gerry and the British police and the fact that the lead investigator has stepped down...

GRACE: Right.

SIGONA: ... and has said a lot of...

GRACE: Right.

SIGONA: ... you know, interesting things...

GRACE: Michelle, Michelle...

SIGONA: ... about that. Yes?

GRACE: I`m running out of fingers. I guess I`ve got to go to toes as to how many different theories Portugal police have come up with about the disappearance of baby Maddy. I strongly suspect that you`ve left one of the theories out. Isn`t there a new theory that police have said maybe baby Maddy fell down the steps...

SIGONA: Right.

GRACE: ... and the parents found her and then buried her body, which makes absolutely makes no sense?

SIGONA: That is definitely a theory. And the grandmother actually spoke out earlier last week and said, you know, little Maddy must have been drugged. You know, There`s no other way that she would have fell down the steps.

GRACE: Whoa! Who said that? Who said that?

SIGONA: Apparently, this is her grandmother that stepped out and made a comment to reporters and to investigators and said that, you know, little Madeleine may have been drugged. I don`t think she realized, you know, that in a negative context of, you know, her son or her daughter actually going in and drugging little Madeleine, but that is...

GRACE: Was it...

SIGONA: ... another theory.

GRACE: ... maternal or paternal grandmother?

SIGONA: I do not know. I do not know, Nancy.

GRACE: Thanks, Grandma. OK, with all these theories floating around, Michelle Sigona, how can we take any of them seriously? And I want to hear more about the maid. Disgruntled? That`s a reason to kidnap a little baby?

SIGONA: Absolutely not. And again, this is just another one of investigators` theories at this point. This is just another person that they have not reached out to 150 days into the investigation, that they have not been able to identify.

And again, I do want to say that in this country, these kind of cases don`t happen. And in Portugal, they don`t have Amber Alerts. They don`t have the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. They don`t have the resources that we have here. But they`re working to get those kind of things in place.

GRACE: You know, frankly, Michelle Sigona, as much as you seem to be making excuses for them, I don`t think the Portuguese police could find the killer or the kidnapper if they jumped up and bit them on the neck. Thank you, Michelle.

SIGONA: Thank you.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Madeleine McCann is still alive, her abductor may well be watching news reports like this one. So today, her parents spoke directly to that person.

KATE MCCANN: Madeleine is a beautiful, bright, funny and caring little girl. She is so special. Please, please do not hurt her. Please don`t scare her. Please tell us where to find her or put her in a place of safety and let somebody know where she is. We beg you to let Madeleine come home. We need our Madeleine. Sean and Amelie need Madeleine, and Madeleine needs us. Please give our little girl back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The strain they are under is unimaginable, worse perhaps because of growing fears that this was a planned abduction. If so, then these pictures of police on the Spanish border are deeply worrying. The officers are supposed to be checking vehicles leaving Portugal. Instead, for 40 minutes, they sit in their own cars out of the rain. A van with blacked-out windows drives by. This was filmed by ITV News just 48 hours after Madeleine went missing. Even after the rain stops, the officers stood by the side of the road chatting before finally resuming their checks.

The local mayor told me he rejects any criticism of the police.

Do you believe that the police have done enough, are doing enough to catch whoever this is?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have no doubt about that. All the police, all our criminal police is involved in this affair. We don`t see them.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: But he says they are working tirelessly, searching for Gerry and Katie`s (SIC) daughter, looking for her abductor.


GRACE: When we come back: Is the police case against the parents of 3-year-old baby Maddy crumbling?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is an on-the-record comment from the spokesman for the public prosecutor`s office. What we asked her was, What are Kate and Gerry McCann accused of? And she gave this response. It`s not possible to give you that information because they have not been charged yet. And furthermore, she said, there are going to be new investigations which will let us know which crime has been committed.

Now, I think we can interpret that in this way: Police may have theories about what happened, but they need more evidence. And you know, I think we have to assume that one possibility is that there won`t be charges at all.


GRACE: Three-year-old Maddy McCann vanishes on a luxury resort vacation, her parents at dinner a full football-field-length away. After months pass with no answers, police accused of bungling the investigation, and suddenly Maddy`s own mom and dad officially emerge as suspects. But it`s not long before questions emerge again about the police`s own investigation.

Now, according to UK reports, police say DNA evidence found in the McCann rental car is not 100 percent match to baby Maddy. Also, prosecutors claim without a body, there will be no conviction.


RANDY KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Whistles and boos greeted Kate McCann as she entered a Portuguese police station for a second straight day of questioning. Her husband, Gerry, followed a short time later for his latest official interview.

We can confirm both are no longer witnesses in the disappearance of their daughter, Madeleine, they are suspects. It is a stunning turn of events in a mystery that has made headlines around the world.

According to a family spokeswoman, police found traces of Madeleine`s blood on a car the family rented more than three weeks after the toddler was reported missing. There`s more. Gerry`s sister delivered a bombshell of her own, claiming Kate was offered a plea deal.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Part of it is that they`re trying to get Kate to admit to having accidentally killed Madeleine and disposed of her body, hidden and disposed of her body, which is complete nonsense. It has no factual basis whatsoever.

KAYE: In exchange for pleading guilty, McCanns family says Kate would serve two years or less in prison. Kate and Gerry have not been charged with any crime and maintain their innocence. The allegations have shocked Kate`s mother, who says her daughter is being framed.

SUSAN HEALY, MADELEINE`S GRANDMOTHER: She knows perfectly well that if this evidence exists, then it is proof that somebody inside either the police department or who`s had access to their apartment and their belongings who`s planted this evidence.

KAYE: Kate and her husband, Gerry, have never wavered from their assertion that Madeleine was kidnapped. The British couple, who are both doctors, took Madeleine and her 2-year-old twin sister and brother on a vacation to a resort in Portugal. On the night of May 3, they said they left the children sleeping in one bed to have dinner at a poolside tapas restaurant about 300 feet away. When they returned, Kate checked on the children to find Madeleine gone, with the window open.

KATE MCCANN: Please, please do not hurt her. Please don`t scare her. Please tell us where to find her.

KAYE: Police searched the resort and surrounding area. They followed numerous leads. One British national who was staying near the hotel was named a suspect, but no charges have been filed against him.

The McCanns` please for help have led to press conferences across Europe. They`ve also traveled to the U.S. and had a private meeting with the pope. The case has also attracted a celebrity following.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you have seen this little girl, please, could you go to your local authorities or police and give any information that you have?

KAYE: All along, the McCanns have never been under a cloud of suspicion until now.

Randy Kaye, CNN, New York.



MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, CNN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Well, the Portuguese police are now saying that Madeleine McCann may have fallen down the stairs and hit her head, and then her parents and their friends who they were having dinner with may have gotten rid of the body.

But this is just another theory in a number of theories since she disappeared on May 3 that the Portuguese police have said. And also, one of the main up-front investigators who sometimes talks to the media about the case, he`s been taken off of this case.

So I mean, since the beginning, I`ve said, Nancy, that it looks like that the Portuguese investigators have bungled this from the very, very beginning. Now, apparently, this investigator was taken off the case. He said that the British police were siding with Kate and Gerry McCann. So he was criticizing the British police, who were also conducting investigation along with the Portuguese. So who knows?



GRACE: You know -- Paula Hancocks joining us from Portugal, CNN correspondent -- it seem to me that the Portuguese police have an ego problem. Scotland Yard, apparently, we now learn, offered to come in and help with the case. Who would turn down Scotland Yard? They didn`t even call them back, apparently.

PAULA HANCOCKS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it certainly could be the case that Scotland Yard would have offered this help. In Britain, it`s not unusual if a case after a few weeks appears to be floundering, there doesn`t appear to be too much evidence or too much progress being made, then another force will offer help, a fresh set of eyes, if you like. So it is certainly possible that the metropolitan police, a very well respected police force, will have offered help to the Portuguese police.

But the fact is, Madeleine disappeared on Portuguese territory. It is not the territory of the metropolitan police. So it`s not beyond the realms of expectation that they would have offered but certainly wouldn`t have been expected that they would have had to accept the metropolitan`s offer.

GRACE: At least call back, for Pete`s sake!

(END VIDEOTAPE) (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Four months after his daughter Madeleine`s disappearance, it is Gerry McCann, the girl`s father, who points out his wife had only been interviewed by police once before. It`s not that he is questioning his wife. He strongly denies Kate had anything to do with their daughter`s disappearance. At issue is why Portuguese police didn`t interview Kate McCann more thoroughly earlier on. And U.S. experts agree, saying that would have been standard procedure.

ERNIE ALLEN, PRES., NATIONAL CTR FOR MISSING AND EXPLOITED CHILDREN: It is surprising. And certainly, in this country, one of the first things that law enforcement would do is question the parents, question those who are around the children.

SNOW: Take the case of Polly Klaas, who was abducted from her home in 1993 and was found dead months later. Her father, Marc, says he and other family members were questioned by police and cleared within a week of Polly`s disappearance.

MARC KLAAS, KLAAS KIDS FOUNDATION: We took polygraph exams, we answered all their questions until they were satisfied that we had nothing to do with it, and then they moved on.

SNOW: Critics, including the McCanns, have questioned the way the police in the small resort town of Portugal where Madeleine disappeared have handled the case throughout. The hotel room where the McCanns stayed, for example, was not immediately secured after the McCanns vacated. John Walsh, who has become an advocate for missing children after his own son disappeared, calls the case a nightmare.

JOHN WALSH, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": This police agency, this small agency -- and I`m a big supporter of law enforcement -- has made mistake after mistake, not taking DNA, not securing this crime scene, not asking for international help. When you`re in trouble and you`re a small agency, you ask for help -- Scotland Yard, other agencies within Portugal.

SNOW (on camera): Portuguese police eventually did ask for help. British search dogs were brought in and found traces of blood that were later tested in Britain. As for the Portuguese police, they`re remaining silent and not commenting on this case as the investigation continues.

Mary Snow, CNN, New York.



BROOKS: You know, initially, we heard about DNA evidence found in the rental car, in the boot or the trunk of the car, underneath the rug, but we haven`t heard anything more about this. And when they went back to the great -- went back to Great Britain, Kate and Gerry were supposed to be interviewed again by the British authorities. They haven`t been.

So who knows where this investigation is. You know, it`s been going on since May 3, and it`s just right now -- it`s up in the air. Now, there was another theory that came along, too, that an employee, a disgruntled employee of the Ocean Club, this glamorous club where they were staying, may have taken Madeleine McCann. But that was a tip, and they`re running that out, so that doesn`t look like it`s going anywhere, either.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: With barely a look up at the cameras, Kate McCann emerged, officially now a suspect in the disappearance of her own daughter. She had been told at noon that she was no longer considered just a witness, vastly increasing the psychological pressure on her.

Kate had arrived here looking visibly exhausted and emotionally drained. There were some whistles from the crowd but also a few shouts of support. Those closest to her are adamant she is innocent, but they acknowledge the shocking possibility that the police may soon charge Kate with Madeleine`s death.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s horrified by it, absolutely horrified. And she hopes and prays that Madeleine`s still alive and she sincerely wants to be reunited -- you know, she wants her daughter back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Outside the police station, a large crowd has gathered. Interest here is extraordinarily high, people expressing divided views. But some British tourists are here to offer support.

What did you shout as she went in?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We support you, Kate. All of Britain supports her, I think.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Then it was Gerry McCann`s turn to arrive for police questioning. He appeared astonishingly composed, given the pressure on both him and his wife. Kate, remember, had been questioned yesterday until 1:00 in the morning. It had lasted 11 grueling hours, and now we know what Kate had been confronted with. There were five people in the room, Kate McCann with her two lawyers, and opposite them, two Portuguese detectives. At one point, the detectives said Madeleine`s blood had been found in Gerry and Kate`s hire car. Kate expressed outrage. She swore at the investigators and said the implication was ludicrous, and she pointed out the car was rented 25 days after Madeleine`s disappearance.

A number of cars had been taken away and tested by forensic experts, including Renault Scenic (ph) the couple had rented in late May. For many weeks, Gerry and Kate have dealt with media rumors that they may have been involved. Under a month ago, I asked the McCanns if they`d always been honest with investigators.

GERRY MCCANN: We have left absolutely nothing out that we have known about at any point and...

KATE MCCANN: We just want Madeleine back. You know, we will do anything to cooperate with the police to get Madeleine back.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Now the McCanns are under scrutiny like never before, facing a personal and legal nightmare, and everyone here is left wondering about the strength of the forensic evidence that has produced such a stunning development in the case.

Robert More (ph), ITV News in Portimao.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If Maddy was found today, one thing you can do is certainly try to identify injuries. And the identification of injuries is primarily going to be skeletal. You`re going to be interested in, say, fractures of bones, fractures of skull. And at this point, you would want to have a forensic anthropologist examine the skeletal structures to try to find injury. Now, another thing that you can do, certainly, is toxicology. You can obtain, say, some muscle and provide that to a toxicologist and get an idea of what drugs, if any, are present in Maddy`s system.



GRACE: Three-year-old little baby Maddy reportedly snatched during a luxury resort vacation, little girl missing 150 days. That`s right: 1-5- 0. Then, a grainy photo emerges of a toddler girl, features eerily similar to baby Maddy. The snapshot taken a few hundred miles from the McCann`s luxury resort. But is the toddler girl baby Maddy?


PAUL DAVIES, ITV NEWS CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It all began when a Spanish tourist stopped to take this photograph of what appeared to be a family group on the road to Tangiers. It immediately struck the holidaymaker that the little light-skinned blonde girl being carried on a woman`s back looked out of place with the rest of the party. She even wondered, "Could it possibly be Madeleine McCann?"

Clara Torres say she and her partner asked each other, could they have found the missing British girl, and dismissed the idea as impossible. She told reporters it was only after returning from holiday she read about other possible sightings of Madeleine in Morocco and realized her camera might hold invaluable evidence. Her photographs have now been sent to Interpol. The latest technology will compare them with the most recent pictures of Madeleine.

MICHAEL BROMBY, FACE RECOGNITION EXPERT: My first thoughts are, it`s quite a poor image. The larger image that we see has lots of other people, large scenery in the background. And when the image is zoomed in to what`s suspected to be Madeleine, we found that the graininess and the very poor quality of the image, we can`t really see an awful lot of detail. So from an expert`s point of view, it`s difficult to see features such as the eyes, the nose and the mouth to be able to make any kind of measurements or any kind of observations of how unique that picture is.

DAVIES: Even before this latest possible sighting, Kate and Gerry McCann had traveled to Morocco searching for their daughter. There had been several alleged sightings there. On May the 9th, there were two apparent sightings in Marrakech, one at a petrol station, the other at a hotel. In late May, a woman claimed to have seen Madeleine in the north of the country in Zao (ph).

The latest picture was taken on August the 31st, just south of Tangiers in Zinat. The McCanns have been here before. They`ll be waiting to see where this latest development leads before responding to it and any impact it might have on their own status in the Portuguese police investigation.

Paul Davies, ITV News.


GRACE: Is this picture baby Maddy? And not only that, is the police case against Maddy`s parents crumbling? The Portuguese police now backing off, back-paddling.

I want it go out to Jerry Lawton, chief reporter with the "Daily Star." Tell me about this photo, Jerry.

JERRY LAWTON, REPORTER: It`s quite dramatic, to be honest, Nancy. What happened, we`ve got a Spanish holiday maker, a tourist in Morocco. She`s taking some pictures on an isolated remote mountain trail in the north of the region, and when she looks at the photos, she sees a blonde, fair-skinned girl being carried on the back of an Arab woman among a group of Arab-looking family. She`s suspicious because she instantly looks at the girl and thinks that could be Madeleine McCann.

GRACE: We`re taking a look at it right now, Jerry. With us, Jerry Lawton from the "Daily Star." What have we learned so far?

LAWTON: Well, what we`ve learned so far, the development has been quite dramatic. Immediately, investigators dash to a remote mountain region called Zinat in the north of Morocco, very isolated, olive trees, very few TVs, radio, a remote region of transients, largely. Astonishingly, this family is tracked down, and the heartbreaking news for Madeleine McCann`s parents is that the daughter is, in fact, the daughter of an olive farmer. She`s a 5-year-old girl, and she does not bear the distinctive trait of a flaw in her right eye that Madeleine bears.

GRACE: What flaw is that?

LAWTON: She has a flaw in her right eye, which basically is a -- what is commonly known as a leaking iris or a cat eye syndrome. It`s quite distinctive, and it`s formed the basis, really, of the entire hunt for Madeleine McCann. They`ve built an entire poster network around it, on the basis that many, many girls of that age who are blonde can look the same, but this flaw is quite rare and is a distinctive flaw that you would notice when you looked directly into Madeleine`s eyes. And it`s on that basis that the identity has been proved.

GRACE: Out to a special guest joining us, Clarence Mitchell. This is the McCann family spokesperson.

Mr. Mitchell, thank you for being with us. What was the family reaction when they just -- when they first heard about this photo that looks startlingly similar to baby Maddy?

CLARENCE MITCHELL, MCCANN FAMILY SPOKESPERSON: Nancy, it`s good to be with you. Yes, unfortunately, we`ve been down this road several times before. There have been other sightings of Madeleine in Morocco and, indeed, in other countries.

Every time, Kate and Gerry are obviously extremely interested to get to the bottom of each sighting. They want to know more than anybody else in the world if it`s their daughter. But each time, hopes have been dashed. And, you know, they just have to pick themselves up and get on with it again and refocus their efforts into finding Madeleine and urging everybody around the world who`s aware of their case to keep their eyes open and report it to the authorities. Any sighting could be valuable. And they keep going through all of these emotional ups and downs that they suffer every time there`s a setback like this.

GRACE: I can`t even imagine what it would be like to think you`ve finally found your child only to learn that the photo may not be legit. With me, Clarence Mitchell, McCann family spokesperson.

And also, Mr. Mitchell, we are hearing now the complete opposite of what we were told a couple of weeks ago. Now we`re hearing the police bore down on Mrs. McCann to try to get a confession because they`re basically out of ideas.

MITCHELL: Well, I can`t actually comment on the details of the investigation. It`s still an active case in Portugal. And Gerry and Kate are not allowed to speak out, and by extension nor am I. But essentially, yes, the investigation took that turn, and both parents were declared suspects, or arguido, as the Portuguese call it, which means they haven`t been charged, they`re not formally accused of a crime yet, but it means the police are suspicious of them.

But Kate and Gerry can wholly explain anything the police may have found, any evidence the police may have found in their apartment or their vehicle, and there are wholly innocent reasons, and they will defend themselves in court if it comes to charges. But I`m hopeful that it won`t.

GRACE: Mr. Mitchell, I pray that you are right. I pray that you are right, because when I look at Maddy`s parents, I do not want to believe they had anything to do with this.



GRACE: After over 14 hours of intense police interrogation about their girl`s disappearance, Kate and Gerry McCann return to England, home, as suspects. Baby Maddy`s parents deny involvement and then re-launch a massive campaign to find their girl.


EMILY CHANG, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Kate and Gerry McCann fight back, giving their first interview since being named as suspects in their daughter`s disappearance. They told select British newspapers DNA reportedly found in the trunk of their hired car can be easily explained. That`s where they threw a pair of Madeleine`s unwashed pajamas and the twins` dirty diapers when they moved apartments in Praia da Luz. And their spokesperson said there are a number of other possibilities.

MITCHELL: As many as 30, even more, people had contact with that vehicle during the period it was hired. Not just the McCanns, they were picking up family, friends, and members of the family from the airport, other campaign workers were in it. I drove around in it.

CHANG: The Portuguese police are said to have found at least two samples of DNA in the car that could be Madeleine`s.

PAUL MARTIN, NOTTINGHAM UNIVERSITY: Where you have mixing of samples, biological samples, by fluids or whatever between different family members, that makes the picture much more complicated. So, inevitably, even if Madeleine had not been in the car, if the twins had been in the car and you took a DNA sample, you would expect to get at least partial match because they`re genetically related.

CHANG: Dr. Paul Martin, a DNA expert who has no connection to this case, also says any samples collected could have easily been contaminated.

MARTIN: I think the evidence has to be treated extremely cautiously. And I think most people working in this area would say that conviction by DNA evidence alone is insufficient. So there has to be other evidence to support the case. DNA is just part of the process, of the investigation and conviction.

CHANG: And the investigation continues, as does media coverage around the clock.

Kate and Gerry McCann also told British newspapers they talk about Madeleine all the time. In fact, the twins often ask about her. They simply tell them she isn`t here at the moment, but they remain surrounded by her toys, her other belongings, and photographs as each day passes without her.

Emily Chang, CNN, in Rothley, England.


GRACE: To Ed Miller, weigh in. Why did they claim they suspected the McCanns?

ED MILLER, REPORTER, "AMERICA`S MOST WANTED": Well, very good question, especially since it happened so very late after the investigation. You know this. In any investigation, you always look at the people who are closest first. So why would they look at them way after the fact? The only matter -- the only question that you can say is Portuguese police blew it from the very beginning and were just looking for someone to blame.

GRACE: Yes, parents have dig in. They`re always the first suspects. Very quickly, Jeff Gardere. What do you make -- your analysis of the parents` public pleas for help?

GARDERE: Well, I think that the parents are very genuine in what they`re doing, and this is the way that they have to keep their lives going, keep the hope going, by keeping everyone else involved, and keeping this child`s memory alive, even if something serious has happened to her that we may not know exactly what it is.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Before Madeleine McCann went missing, her family lived a quiet, ordinary life here, about 2 1/2 hours north of London. We came here to the village of Rothley, England, to learn more about Madeleine McCann`s parents. We wanted to know what life was like for them before they started making headlines around the world, before British celebrities started pleading for the safe return of their daughter, before they met with the pope.

We came here to ask a very simple question: What can you tell us about Kate and Gerry McCann?

NICKY GILL, KATE MCCANN`S BEST FRIEND: They`re extremely good for each other. They bounce off each other. They`re excellent parents. They`ve formed a really good family unit. They balance each other really well, actually. They`re the two sides of a coin. They really are.

KAYE: Nicky Gill and Linda McQueen grew up with Kate McCann. Nikki is her best friend.

What is it that you think that people should know about Kate and Gerry McCann?

GILL: For me, it`s that the two special people who love the children dearly. They would not harm a single hair on their heads. They just want them back.

KAYE: Both women say Kate wanted five children but needed in-vitro fertilization.

GILL: Whatever they needed to do, they were prepared to go the whole way to have a baby and to have a family. And it was just crucial to them.

KAYE (voice-over): Much of the storm around this story began when tabloid newspapers published what they say are bits and pieces of Kate`s diary, painting a very different picture of Kate. CNN has not independently confirmed these reports. The papers say Kate was a frustrated mother who described her children as "hysterical," "hyperactive," "difficult to control," adding Madeleine`s excessive energy "exhausts" her.

(on screen): Was Kate overwhelmed by the children, as this report about the diary suggests?

LINDA MCQUEEN, FRIEND OF THE MCCANN FAMILY: Overwhelmed by the children? No.

GILL: No. She just loves the children. And like I said before, she`s a mom that goes and takes it all in stride. She`s not -- to listen to her with them, she`s so calm and, "Yes, it`s fine." There`s no air of anything negative about her.

KAYE (voice-over): "Flash," a Portuguese magazine, says Kate McCann told them the first six months of Maddy`s life were very difficult. "She cried practically for 18 hours a day. I had to permanently carry her around."

The magazine reports, after the twins were born, Kate says Madeleine started to demand lots of attention. "She`d run up and down screaming in the background shouting for my attention." A spokesperson for the McCanns confirms Kate was interviewed by the magazine, but denies she complained about Madeleine being colicky or demanding attention.

(on screen): Are Kate and Gerry McCann negligent when it comes to their children?

MCQUEEN: Not at all. No. Not at all. It couldn`t be further from the truth. It really couldn`t. They`re really strong, caring parents.

KAYE: Kate and Gerry met studying medicine in Glasgow, where Gerry grew up. When Kate took a job in New Zealand, Gerry followed.

MCQUEEN: I think he went to the pub one night and said, "I`ve met the girl of my dreams."

KAYE: The couple married in Kate`s hometown of Liverpool at this church in 1998. In 2003, Madeleine was born. Then came the twins. The family settled in Rothley. Kate worked part-time as a general practitioner so she could be home more.

DR. DOUG SKEHAN, GERRY MCCANN`S BOSS: One has to say they have everything that you would want for, and suddenly everything has turned into a nightmare.

KAYE: Madeleine`s great uncle says this is not the first time the couple has dealt with hard times. Both come from working-class families.

BRIAN KENNEDY, MADELEINE`S GREAT UNCLE: Sometimes people automatically assume, because you have two doctors, they must be quite well-off and wealthy. It`s been a long struggle for them to get where they are now. And just as life was looking good, this sort of thing happens.

KAYE: Their home in Rothley is a fortress now. Police block the street. Reporters wait on their every move. All Kate and Gerry want, those closest to them say, is for the focus to return to finding Madeleine.

GILL: They are heartbroken. Their little girl is gone, and we`ve still got no answers as to where she is.

KAYE: No answers as to what happened to her either, until somebody starts talking.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Rothley, England.


GRACE: Marc Klaas, you have been in this spot before, but unlike many people, Marc Klaas, when his daughter, Polly, went missing, he said, "Here I am. Question me, polygraph me, take my blood, take my hair, check my apartment, check my car, please, and then go find the real perpetrator." You know, there may be a million reasons why she would not want to take a plea, if, in fact, she`s responsible, Marc.

KLAAS: Well, that`s very true. And I think what I`d like to point out here is that this investigation was so bungled, they not only had no protocols, but they apparently had no clue as to how to investigate a kidnapping case, because they seemed to pay very little attention to the family until many months later. And in the United States, 78 percent of all abductions are family abductions, so that`s where they should have looked. They should have done their questioning. They should have done their polygraphy. They should have been able to deal with this and not have to go back and engage in all of this nonsense right now.

Mrs. McCann is in a situation where she is not going to admit guilt. The entire world is looking at her. And if she had done something, the time would have been at the beginning.

GRACE: Excellent thought, Marc Klaas. But if that DNA really has turned up in the trunk, they`re in a lot of hot water.

Out to Emily Chang in Rothley, England. None of these guests that had dinner with the McCanns can place Maddy at any time that evening. Nobody saw Maddy alive? What time was the last time Maddy was seen alive by anybody other than the parents?

CHANG: Well, the last time Maddy was seen alive was about 2 1/2 hours before the McCanns went to dinner. And their account of what happened hangs on the accounts of about seven friends that they were having dinner with. And all of those friends have come out publicly supporting them, the McCanns, proclaiming their innocence. However, not all of them have -- we don`t know exactly what they`ve said to police.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Over the last 100 days has been trying to increase the chances of finding Madeleine, and we don`t know of any specific evidence which has changed the belief that we had that there was a reasonable chance Madeleine is still alive.




UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the Portuguese police are wanting them back, then Kate and Gerry McCann have said they will go back. That is a guarantee they gave before leaving Portugal. And they remain -- make no mistake about it -- in a very, very precarious legal situation. They could be charged within days. It`s just not at all clear, and the ball is now very firmly in the court of the Portuguese detectives.


GRACE: A beautiful 4-year-old baby girl goes missing from a luxury resort hotel while her parents are at a dinner party. Where is baby Maddy?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If the search for Madeleine in the area surrounding her disappearance is being scaled down, then where is its emphasis now?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Up here you`re reminded of how easy it would be for an abductor to hide away a little girl amongst the apartments and the holiday home and how difficult it would be to find her. The search would have to be fast-moving and methodical. Now, if the hunt for Madeleine has been like that, it`s been far from obvious.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Police may have theories about what happened, but they need more evidence. And, you know, I think we have to assume that one possibility is that there won`t be charges at all.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this baby girl Madeleine McCann or just another false alarm?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We saw this group of people. We took some photos, but as soon as we took them, we saw a blonde, blonde girl who caught our eye. We both looked at each other; we thought of Madeleine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The case of mistaken identity raises the hopes of a nation. But just as quickly as the photo surfaces, hope may be fleeting.

GERRY MCCANN, FATHER OF MISSING CHILD: A little girl called Maddy was taken from a family hotel room. As I`m sure you understand, we need to do everything possible to help the police with their inquiries in finding her. If you have seen this little girl, please could you go to your local authorities or police and give any information that you have, any genuine information that you have. Please, please help us. Thank you.


GRACE: Tonight, let`s stop to remember Army Corporal Javier Paredes, just 24, San Antonio, Texas, killed, Iraq. An Army medic receiving the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, remembered for his sense of humor, always wearing a smile, leaves behind grieving aunt, Maria, dad, Austino, and four brothers. Javier Paredes, American hero.

Thank you to our guests, but our biggest thank you to you for being with us, inviting us into your homes. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.