The new details in the Madeleine McCann disappearance case are reading like they’re straight from a trashy airport crime novel

Lest you forgot the case, here are details. She disappeared from here, a resort area in Portugal:

There are now some new details in the case — in fairness, there have been new details seemingly every 6-10 months since the disappearance — and they’re a bit creepy:

The man is described as being tanned with short, dark, unkempt hair.

Police say he spoke English with a foreign accent and would appear early in the morning.

Police say sometimes he would simply sit on the beds of young girls during break-ins and other times he would sexually assault them.

In some incidents, he is said to have remained calm even when disturbed and forced to leave the apartment.

This man in question is potentially connected to 12 crimes at Portuguese holiday resorts (seems like a strong link). Apparently there are currently 38 “persons of interest” and 530 sex offenders to comb through, 59 of whom seem to be credible possibilities. A percentage of these people are British.

As noted above, there’s been a ton of leads in this case — a guy named Robert Murat was taken in for questioning about 12 days after the initial disappearance, but later released; her parents have been suspects; and someone named Raymond Hewlett has been a suspect as well — but if this 12-crimes-in-Portugal link is followed through, it could theoretically lead somewhere. It should be noted that part of the reason for the fascination with this case, aside from it being a pretty little British girl, is how badly Portugal bungled the whole thing (people always respond to cops bungling stuff). In October 2013 — about five and a half years after the disappearance — they admitted the timeline they had been using was probably wrong. There’s also a possibility that the main suspect in the disappearance may have died four years ago.

I read this book, The Edge of Normal, on a plane last week. I can’t remember other titles, but it feels like I’ve read other books — often bought at airports — with a plot involving a devious pedophile / criminal mastermind targeting young girls who lurks and keeps winning until the very end. Is it possible that McCann’s captor / murderer is something straight out of airport crime fiction? I suppose it is. That’s extremely depressing, as crime fiction also often involves bumbling cops — usually two of whom are sleeping with each other — and un-followed leads. This real-life case seems to have all that.

Many of the aspects of the case released to the public do point to the idea of a potentially pre-planned abduction, although nothing completely adds up and there’s no (a) confirmed sighting or (b) body here. Some have called this the international version of JonBenet, and of course, JonBenet was never conclusively solved (and may never be). In that one, it did seem like the parents were involved somehow, whereas here it seems a little less likely that they are. That’s more a hunch than anything scientific, since I don’t know them from a hole in my arse.

Here’s a fairly depressing headline.

If you want a decent rundown of debunked theories in the case, check this out.

I’d assume the chances of McCann being alive are fairly slim at this point, but you do never know. I’d love to see closure on this case, and it feels like this 12-crime connection has a chance, however slim said chance may be.

Ted Bauer