It’s been nearly 7 years since Madeleine McCann, a 3-year-old British toddler had been abducted from her parent’s rented apartment in Algarve, Portugal. To date, she has not been found but, in a joint attempt between British and Portuguese police, searchers have narrowed down their search to scrublands within a 5 minute walk of where the McCanns were staying.
Police have been tight-lipped about the renewed search for the girl who would be nearing 11 years of age if she is still alive. Details about why they are looking in this particular area, has locals disgruntled and confused. The scrubland area is one that is frequented by joggers, hikers and walkers who have been quoted as saying that there’s nothing to be found on the grounds after 7 years of having had it travelled over by those who use the area recreationally. Insiders say that police must have reason to be there but, are keeping their cards close to their vests.
Police have looked through drains and other holes in the area by dropping cameras on leads down into the holes as well as using a type of technology that detects differences in the earth. It’s not like an x-ray where skeletal remains will be seen. GPR is a radar that determines differences seen in the soil.
“The radar uses electro-magnetic waves that are fired into the sub-surface at a pretty rapid rate and we measure what comes back from those signals,” Radar expert Rom Gostomski, from London-based firm Sandberg, has said.
The radar can penetrate up to 4 meters in-depth to detect any differences between soil and other particles that are not soil. It reportedly works best in dry conditions, which is exactly what the search area is at this time of the year with temperatures rising above 30 degrees Celsius.
British police have brought sniffer dogs into the roped off area.
Reportedly, police have been granted an extension in their search to include at least one to two other surrounding areas if this one has been ruled out of anything of significance.
Bones have been discovered in the area but, turned out to be those of animals. Meanwhile, British police are doing forensic testing on what is believed to be a scrap of material found and testing it for DNA evidence.
Madeleine’s parents, Gerry and Kate McCann have been kept updated on the search and anything being found.
“We are kept updated on the on-going work in Portugal and are encouraged by the progress. Thank you for continuing to stand by us and supporting our efforts to get Madeleine home,” the McCanns have stated to media in trying to put to bed, rumors that had spread through incorrect reporting in the media about their lack of being kept updated.
At several points over the past 4 days of searching, police were surprised and interested in a couple of spots that they hadn’t known existed. One was carefully scrutinized but, later thought to be a “den” for children to play in. Others ranged from a well that was covered with a piece of corrugated plastic sheeting that police removed and searched. Nothing thus far in value has been reported as coming from any of the areas being found and searched. Holes, wells and manholes seem to be the focus of their search. No one outside of police, seem to know what has led them to this type of search but sources close to the search have said that there isn’t likely anything that’s been found to be “the smoking gun” in this case thus far.
It’s hard to imagine what the McCanns must be going through and have dealt with over the past 7 years of their daughter’s disappearance. The last sight of her was that of an angelic 3, going on 4-year-old little girl, laying in her bed, seemingly safely in their rented summer vacation apartment. Had she not gone missing, they would have celebrated her 11th birthday with her this year. Yet, Life has gone on and their twin sons have needed their mother and father to be there to raise them while both parents have been left tortured by where their daughter is and, whether she is alive or dead.
Hope would hang on in any parent’s mind. Without knowledge of where our child was, we’d all want to cling onto hope that our babies are alive and safe somewhere, even if not with us. Yet, as the years have rolled by and nothing of any significance has led to an answer one way or another, the McCanns must be in the daily torture of wondering, waiting and hoping for news of where their daughter is. It’s certain to come to a point where while they hope that their daughter is still alive and well, living with some strange family somewhere in the world and safe, the never ending unknowing of her whereabouts would be merciful to be put to an end even if that means finding out that she is no longer alive.
Still, hope is what we all cling to and hope is what keeps us going. As long as there isn’t any evidence to the contrary, it’s easier to believe that she’s out there, somewhere, being treated well and growing up healthy and happy perhaps, one day to be found and returned to them as her parents.
To date, there is no evidence to tell the McCanns that their daughter isn’t alive. It is likely what they cling onto in order to get through each day. Maybe, today will be the day where someone will come forth to tell them where she is so that they can go and pick her up?
It takes unfathomable strength for any parent to have to endure this type of daily torment and yet, the McCanns hold onto every hope, every sign and keep faith that their daughter might be found and returned to them, whole, happy and healthy.
From my little corner of life, I’d like to stay hopeful but, am doing so with caution.