Madeleine McCann's parents receive apology from Portuguese police for handling of daughter's disappearance

  • 31/10/2023

The parents of Madeleine McCann have received an apology from Portuguese police for the way they handled the three-year-old's disappearance.  

According to the BBC, Portuguese detectives travelled from Lisbon to London earlier this year, where the McCanns live, to make an apology in person.  

It's reported detectives met Madeleine's father Gerry and apologised for the way the detectives investigated the case and treated the whānau.  

The McCann family though have not spoken about the apology.   

In 2007, Madeleine disappeared from her parents' holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, in Portugal, triggering a large missing person investigation.  

At the time Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry were put officially under suspicion by Portugal police for their daughter's disappearance.  

The BBC reported the parents were questioned by detectives, who believed they staged an abduction and concealed their daughter's body.  

Kate was reportedly offered a deal to admit covering up her daughter's death in exchange for a shorter sentence, the BBC reports.   

By 2008 the parents were no longer under suspicion, though, a former detective continued to suggest they were involved in Madeleine's disappearance.  

Fifteen years on, Portuguese police say their initial investigation was not handled properly, there was insufficient importance given at the time to missing children, and that her parents' position as foreigners is an environment police did not understand or appreciate.   

The BBC was told detectives briefed the McCanns on their ongoing investigation into their daughter's disappearance.  

A German prosecutor, Hans Christian Wolters, told the apology was a "good sign" and it meant there was a "development in the case".  

The suspicion is now on German man Christian Breuckner, who was living in Praia da Luz when the three-year-old disappeared.   

He is currently serving a life sentence for the 2005 rape of an elderly US woman, which was reportedly committed close to the McCanns' Praia da Luz apartment.   

It comes after a three-day search of a Portuguese reservoir earlier this year, where officials combed the area for new evidence.  

In May, Kate and Gerry marked the 16th anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, saying she is "still very much missed" and they "await a breakthrough".