One of the big questions people have who are trying to understand how Kate and Gerry McCann could possibly be involved in covering up their daughter’s death is why they would do that to begin with, In other words, would a normal set of parents go through such an elaborate staging of a crime in order to cover up an accident? The answer to that question tends to send people into one of three camps:

1) The parents are innocent because they would simply have called for help if they found their child deceased and then dealt with the consequences.

2) Maddie must have died in some more tragic way (like during a sexual assault by one of the Tapas 9 or as a result of some very violent rage by one of her parents) or it must have been some premeditated getting rid of the child for them not to have called the police and lived with a possible neglect charge.

3) They covered up because they thought they had too much to lose.

I stand firmly in the third camp when I profile what may have happened to Madeleine. I have never believed that the disappearance of Madeleine was premeditated by the McCanns. Why? Because that evening was too much of a mess; they could have found a better way to stage an abduction. I do not believe Maddie died a day earlier and they ended up with this discombobulated scenario of Maddie going missing between checks. I do not believe the McCanns went to dinner with the knowledge that their child was dead and then planned to “discover” her missing later that evening. Again, with more time to think, I believe the staging would have been better.

Instead, I see this basic scenario going down.

Maddie is found dead, of an accident, but an accident induced by medication and neglect. Panic ensues and and Gerry calls home that evening telling them, “It’s a disaster.” “Disaster” is a key to what happened and why they would have responded as they did, if they are guilty of what happened to Madeleine.

If there had been a simple accident under proper parent care-taking, it would have been, well, “an accident,” not a disaster. An accident is something you couldn’t have helped. It may be devastating, tragic, horrifying, crushing…..but an accident is an accident, not a disaster. A disaster is some monumental out-of-control event that one has to clean up after and manage the damage it has done. Someone drowning in the ocean is an accident; a tsunami drowning everyone in town is a disaster. One requires mourning and the other requires immediate action to deal with the mess. If Maddie had simply fallen while the McCann’s were in the other room, some weird event where she just fell and broke her neck – even if they were having some wine in the other room and didn’t know she was dead for an hour – they would have simply called for the police. I think we immediately know that IF the accident is just one of those horrible things that can happen in life – something that could happen to any parent because of daily life – a toddler drowns in a bucket of water a parent forgot to empty, a child accidentally hangs himself with a curtain cord, a child chokes on some little toy his brother dropped – we are not going to blamed for the tragedy; people will feel sorry for us because it could indeed happen to any of us in the blink of an eye.

But, if you neglect your child in an obvious way – leaving three toddlers unattended in a holiday flat five nights in a row so you can go drinking AND you give those children medication to subdue them so you can go out and entertain yourself without having worry that your children might wake up and be scared, that they might be crying back at the flat, that they might get up and come look for you, that they might get up and have an accident – now you know the public is unlikely to have so much sympathy for you and they may indeed think you should be charged with neglect and contributing to your child’s death. And, if you have other children, those children should be removed from your care. And, if you are doctors, your reputation as as professionals in an industry which is supposed to save lives will be seriously compromised. Worst of all, you might end up in prison in a foreign country and god knows what that means.

THIS is a disaster. A disaster which could throw a couple of parents into a panic upon finding their neglected, drugged, dead daughter behind the sofa. Panic would ensue, then desperation to have the disaster ameliorated to whatever extent it could be. First the evidence of neglect and death have to disappear so the body needs to be removed from the flat, now the blame must be averted to someone else so an open window will make it look like someone came in and took her, and, if someone could see someone taking the child away at the time both parents have an alibi, that would be swell, Jane?

Some might say a panic-driven scenario like this may well not have worked; Gerry could have been seen carrying his daughter off, the window story may not be supported by evidence, people might not believe Jane Tanner, and what if the body were eventually found? Well, so far, three of these four problems may have already cropped up for the McCanns, so that goes to show the scenario may well have not worked if 1) they had not been British doctors which caused the initial investigators to believe the abduction story, 2) if there hadn’t been so much publicity pushed by the McCanns that made them tragic figures in the media and the eyes of many in the public in spite of clear proof they neglected their children, and 3) luck….sometimes enough luck can get you by.

If we look back at the choices that might have been made for disaster control for such a scenario of Maddie dying in the apartment, they were actually very simple choices; hurrying to the beach with the body not even covered and not on a path that was totally nonpublic, lying about the window, and lying about a strange man walking away with a child while Gerry was on the street and Kate was in the restaurant. Nothing fancy, just quick simply cover-ups.

Finally, it is important to realize that a lot of criminals simply get away with there crimes; hence, the many unsolved cases out in the world today. While there may be no such thing as a perfect crime, there are “good enough” crimes that mean no one will ever be charged.

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown

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