Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Lindy McDowell: What really happened to Maddie?

This illustration released Friday, May 1, 2009 by Harpo Productions Inc., shows a photo, left, and an age-progressed image, right, of Madeleine McCann, the British toddler who was 4 when she disappeared from a hotel room in Portugal on May 3, 2007. The age-progressed image, created by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, depicts what Madeleine may look like at age 6. Madeleine's parents Kate and Gerry McCann taped an interview with Oprah Winfrey on "The Oprah Winfrey Show" in Chicago on April 24, 2009. The exclusive interview is scheduled to air in the United States on Monday, May 4 and in the United Kingdom on Tuesday, May 5. (AP Photo/Harpo Productions Inc., National Center for Missing and Exploited Children) **NO SALES**
The dramatic difference between the known picture of Madeleine McCann, aged 3, and how she may look now, two years later
Madeleine McCann
Still taken from video of Madeleine McCann
Still taken from video of Madeleine McCann
Still taken from undated Madeleine Fund handout video of Madeleine McCann
Gerry McCann and his wife, Kate
Madeleine McCann
Kate and Gerry McCann, parents of missing toddler Madeleine, walk to mass y at their local Catholic church, the Sacred Heart in Rothley, England
Madeleine McCann
Madeleine McCann
Kate and Gerry McCann as they give a statement at the Rothley Court Hotel, in Rothley, Leicestershire after they were formally cleared by the Portuguese authorities of involvement in their daughter Madeleine's disappearance .
Madeleine McCann
Kate and Gerry McCann, with twins Sean and Amelie, arrive at East Midlands airport, England
Bouchra Ahmed Ben Aissa, 3, is seen at her home in Zinat, northern Morocco, Wednesday, Sept, 26, 2007. Bouchra is thought to be the Moroccan girl who was photographed by a Spanish tourist in Zinat and who was suspected of being British missing toddler Madeleine McCann. Madeleine vanished from the Portuguese resort Praia da Luz on May 3, soon before her fourth birthday.

On the one hand we’re told that Madeleine McCann was snatched, probably by a team of devious and experienced child-traffickers. On the other we’re presented with a picture of how she may look now — a bit older but still with the same fair hairstyle.

I am no criminal mastermind myself, but if I had snatched a child and was trying to disguise her, the first thing I’d do is completely change her hair

Is this little girl still alive? That’s the haunting question. The investigation still seems to be focussed entirely on the possibility of abduction.

Is it not also possible that on the night she disappeared, Maddie woke up, discovered her parents gone and set out (as four-year-olds are wont to) to find them?

Has this eventuality been properly investigated? Isn’t it possible the little girl could have come to some tragic, but entirely accidental harm?

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