May 25, 2007 / 6:04 PM / 11 years ago

TIMELINE - The disappearance of Madeleine McCann

LONDON - Four-year-old Madeleine McCann from Rothley, Leicestershire, disappeared on May 3 during a holiday with her parents in the Algarve region of southern Portugal.

Here is a chronology of developments:

May 3 - The girl goes missing from her bedroom between 9:30 and 10 p.m. while her parents Kate and Gerry are dining just 100 yards away at the Mark Warner Ocean Club holiday resort in Praia da Luz. A window and shutter are open and she is presumed to have been abducted.

May 4 - McCann family members and British media criticise local police for what they call a slow initial response, failure to notify ports and borders in time, and failure to secure the crime scene, which may have led to vital clues being lost.

Police say that under Portuguese secrecy laws they are unable to reveal details of the investigation.

Speculation swirls that the kidnapper comes from Britain.

May 5 - Police say they have put together a sketch of a suspect and confirm they believe Madeleine is still alive and being held within three miles of the crime scene. Media reports say the sketch is vague and only features the back of a man’s head.

May 7 - Kate McCann makes an emotional appeal for her daughter’s safe return.

May 8 - Police say they have investigated 350 suspicious incidents but still have no idea where she might be.

Portuguese newspaper Correio de Manha says Madeleine may have been kidnapped by a paedophile ring.

Two criminal behaviour experts fly in from Britain.

Manchester United’s Portuguese striker Cristiano Ronaldo joins appeals for her release.

May 10 - The search around the resort winds down. Attention focuses on a blonde woman seen acting suspiciously before the girl’s disappearance.

May 11 - Scottish businessman Stephen Winyard offers a one million pound reward.

Former England football captain David Beckham makes televised appeal for information.

May 12 - Madeleine turns four.

May 13 - Virgin boss Richard Branson, author J.K. Rowling and footballer Wayne Rooney are among those to have contributed to rewards now totalling 2.5 million pounds.

May 13 - Half a million pilgrims attending the 90th anniversary of the first appearance of the Virgin Mary at the Sanctuary of Fatima pray for Madeleine’s return.

May 14 - Her parents say they will not return home until they have found her but say they think she is safe.

Police search a villa just up the road from where Madeleine was snatched and take a British man, Robert Murat, to a police station for questioning. He is later released.

May 15 - Police say they have identified a suspect but do not have enough evidence for an arrest.

Five properties have been searched in the area, and two other people questioned as witnesses.

May 16 - Deputy PM John Prescott tells parliament that the government is doing everything it can to support Madeleine’s parents. Some MPs pin yellow ribbons to their lapels in a show of support.

Portuguese police interview a computer technician as a witness, identified by local media as a Russian man, and take away computers for examination.

Family sets up public appeal fund.

May 17 - Web site, www.findmadeleine.com, is launched.

May 18 - Two weeks after Madeleine went missing, the search goes Europe-wide. Multi-national companies help distribute appeal posters.

The Web site receives 55 million hits.

Several newspapers start talking of media overkill.

May 19 - Appeals are broadcast at the F.A. Cup final at the new Wembley stadium.

May 21 - Gerry McCann returns to England for the first time to sort out personal affairs. He says he couldn’t bear to stay at his own house.

May 22 - Madeleine’s parents say they will hire a campaign manager and travel across Europe to spread word about their daughter.

May 23 - “EastEnders” producers rewrite a child kidnap storyline to avoid causing distress. A child abduction plot on ITV’s “Coronation Street” was reworked earlier in the month.

May 24 - Family release last known photograph of Madeleine, taken about eight hours before her disappearance.

May 25 - Gerry and Kate McCann speak of their guilt, but vow they will never abandon search for Madeleine, during their first formal TV interviews.

Police appeal for information about a possible suspect — a white man, aged between 35 and 40, who was spotted near to where Madeleine disappeared carrying something that looked like a small child on the night she went missing.

0 : 0
  • narrow-browser-and-phone
  • medium-browser-and-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser
  • wide-browser-and-larger
  • medium-browser-and-landscape-tablet
  • medium-wide-browser-and-larger
  • above-phone
  • portrait-tablet-and-above
  • above-portrait-tablet
  • landscape-tablet-and-above
  • landscape-tablet-and-medium-wide-browser
  • portrait-tablet-and-below
  • landscape-tablet-and-below