Madeleine McCann investigators twisted DNA results to frame parents as suspects, documentary claims

Madeleine McCann investigators twisted DNA results to frame parents as suspects, documentary claims
Kate and Gerry McCann (Source : Getty Images)

Netflix's 'The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann', an eight-part docuseries chronicling the mysterious 2007 disappearance of a three-year-old and the investigations that followed, has claimed that Portuguese police tried to frame her parents, Kate and Gerry, in the case.

According to the details of the case, the parents left Madeleine sleeping with her twin siblings inside their room at Praia da Luz, a resort in the Algarve region of Portugal, on May 3, 2007, to go for dinner.

When they returned, they found that Madeleine was missing, sparking what has since been dubbed "the most heavily reported missing person case in modern history."

Madeleine disappeared from her parents' room in 2007 (Source: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

While the perpetrators involved in her disappearance have still not been caught, an episode of the recently-released docuseries alleges that Portuguese police — who were initially in charge of the investigation — tried to implicate Kate and Gerry in Madeleine's disappearance.


According to The Sun, following her disappearance, two specially trained dogs were brought in to detect any scent of human remains.

The dogs reacted to something in the parents' apartment and their rental car, resulting in detectives turning their attention to Kate and Gerry.

Robbyn Swann, who co-authored 2014's 'Looking for Madeleine,' revealed that Portuguese investigators took DNA samples from the sofa in the apartment and the boot of the rental car, as well as items such as fingernails, and sent it to the UK's Forensic Science Service for DNA analysis.

Detectives reportedly believed at the time that the parents had killed the 3-year-old with an overdose of Calpol, stored her body in a refrigerator, and then got rid of her body by using the rental car. 

When the results of the analysis came back in September 2007, they had to be translated from English to Portuguese, which Swann said gave an overzealous investigator the chance to leave out all the bits which would have threw the suspicion off Kate and Gerry.


Kate and Gerry were cleared of their suspect status in mid-2008 (Source: Matthew Lewis/Getty Images)

"The summary that the Portuguese investigator submitted to his superiors was shorn of all the caveats that had been in the original – the caution to wait a final result," she said. "It was bald and it was very incriminating."

The report did conclude there were components of the three-year-old's DNA in two of the samples analyzed, but importantly noted that these components were in no way unique to the girl.

However, Portuguese officers still used the opportunity to declare Kate and Gerry as suspects.

According to 'The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann,' the officers also ignored laws which prevented them from leaking information to the press.

Sandra Felgueiras, a Portuguese TV reporter, said in the docuseries that she was given details of incriminating DNA by police sources and that they told her there was an "80 percent minimum" between the DNA samples found inside the car and that of Madeleine. 


The McCanns were subsequently interviewed and grilled about Madeleine's disappearance, with officers allegedly accusing Kate of knowing what happened to her daughter and purposely hiding the information.

But eventually, in mid-2008, their suspect status was officially lifted.

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