On May 3, 2007, 3-year-old Madeleine McCann went missing from a hotel room while her parents dined at a hotel restaurant less than 200 feet away. What followed was a plethora of theories, accusations, and different cases meant to figure out what happened and hopefully bring the toddler home to her family. Now, Netflix’s The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann will retell the entire story in detail, but was Madeleine McCann found? The Netflix docuseries goes into some popular theories and scenarios, but the little girl was never found, dead or alive, and her disappearance remains a mystery that some investigators are still trying to work out.
Madeleine was on vacation in Portugal with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, her 2-year-old twin siblings, and a group of family friends and their children when she went missing. Kate and Gerry checked on the children repeatedly throughout dinner with their friends, until Kate reportedly discovered Madeleine to be missing at 10 p.m.
In the months that followed her disappearance, Kate and Gerry were named as suspects because of UK’s Forensic Science Service dogs that were brought to the scene of the crime and to the McCann’s rental car, though it was rented well after Madeleine had disappeared. At first, the dogs were said to have uncovered DNA evidence that linked the parents to the crime in some way, but it was later dismissed as the evidence didn't properly line up and the case against Kate and Gerry was dropped and they are not suspects in the ongoing case.
John Lowe of the UK Forensic Science Service said that because Madeleine shared 50 percent of her DNA with each of her parents, it was nearly impossible to determine whose DNA was found in the car since it was used by her parents. He also pointed out, "The individual components in Madeleine’s profile are not unique to her. It is the specific combination of 19 components that makes her profile unique above all others. Elements of Madeleine’s profile are also present within the profiles of many of the scientists here in Birmingham, myself included."
With the suspect status removed in 2008, there was room to investigate other more plausible ways in which Madeleine could have gone missing, including child abduction and a potential burglary gone wrong. Because there is so little DNA or solid evidence to go on, the police have investigated nearly every possible scenario. There were several burglaries reported in the area leading up to Madeleine’s disappearance and since the patio door was left closed but unlocked, it is possible that Madeleine could have woken up to an intruder and was an unexpected casualty in the attempted crime, though it wasn't reported if anything was stolen from their resort suite.
Another theory about what happened to Madeleine is that she was abducted to be sold to a couple who wanted a child to raise as their own. According to The Telegraph, Andy Redwood, who was the lead investigator at the time of her disappearance, said, "Madeleine McCann’s disappearance does, on one reading of the evidence, have the hallmarks of a pre-planned abduction. That would undoubtedly have involved reconnaissance and so we are really keen to understand who these people are."
Although it has been almost 12 years since Madeleine’s mysterious disappearance, there has been no concrete evidence to determine exactly what happened to her or if she is alive or dead today. The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann describes everything that led up to and followed her disappearance and will likely give way to more theories about what happened to her, but she was never found.