MADDY, 3 GOES MISSING
Agony as 3-yr-old vanishes from holiday flat Martin Fricker In Praia Da Luz and Rod Chaytor 05/05/2007
A HUGE hunt was going on last night for three-year-old Maddy McCann, feared snatched from her holiday flat
A 24-hour search by police, hundreds of villagers and British holidaymakers failed to find any trace of the child.
"The window shutters, which had been closed since we arrived on Saturday, were open along with the window.
They can be opened from the outside.
Mark Warner management denied there were signs of forced entry at the flat claiming instead that roller shutters had been slid up and the bedroom window opened.
Resort manager John Hill said around 60 staff and guests had searched until 4. 30am yesterday as police contacted border authorities, neighbouring Spanish officers and airports.
Mr Hill said: "It was a very emotional and very frantic night and everyone did a fantastic job of getting involved and trying to search the area. "There are a criminal investigator and around 20 officers here but unfortunately there's still no information. If I was in the McCanns' situation, I'd be frustrated as hell. If there were 100 police here I'd want more.
"Officers sealed off the five-storey holiday block with crime scene tape and fingerprinted the shutters and window sill outside Maddy's room. A patio to the rear of the block, believed to be attached to the family's two-bedroom apartment, was also sealed off. By late afternoon the hunt for Maddy had intensified with helicopter crews, firemen and maritime search teams involved. A special criminal investigation team from the Policia Judiciria was travelling down from Lisbon. Sky News weather presenter Jo Wheeler said local police had been giving out maps and telling people where to look. She said: "It's very well organised. "
Martin Fricker, version TWO (After Alex Woolfall arrived at Paraia da Luz...)
We reveal errors made by police in kidnap hunt for Maddy
Martin Fricker and Stewart Maclean In Praia Da Luz 09/05/2007
BLUNDER ONE: Officers failed to cordon off the holiday apartment where Maddy was snatched as soon as they arrived. Amazingly, other tourists were allowed to stroll around the crime scene up to 24 hours later - potentially destroying clues and contaminating forensic evidence.
BLUNDER TWO: Police did not "lock down" the Mark Warner resort where the youngster was staying with parents Kate and Gerry, both 38, and their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie. They refused to believe Maddy had been kidnapped and insisted she probably wandered off.
BLUNDER THREE: Border officials were not alerted until 12 hours after the snatch, meaning the kidnapper could have fled to Spain - only an hour's drive away from the holiday complex at Praia da Luz on the Algarve.
BLUNDER FOUR: Coastal patrols had to wait 14 hours to be told of last Thursday's snatch.
BLUNDER FIVE: Instead of amassing a huge force of officers to hunt for Maddy, just 150 were involved in the initial, badly organised searches. The scouring of 500 apartments did not begin until Sunday.
BLUNDER SIX: No direct appeal was made to the kidnapper in the hours after the crime. It was left to Maddy's distraught parents to publicly plea for help.
BLUNDER SEVEN: There were no officials posters of the missing child printed. Locals and Mark Warner staff produced their own. Police even refused to distribute pictures of Maddy until yesterday.
BLUNDER EIGHT: A complete list of guests at the resort was not gathered until Sunday, by which point many of them - potential witnesses - had left.
BLUNDER NINE: Police have still not identified any suspects, despite having the e-fit of a man with long hair which they showed only to locals. One restaurant worker said his wife saw a man fitting the description hanging around suspiciously outside their bar just 100 metres from the resort. BLUNDER TEN: A detailed description of what Maddy was wearing when snatched was not issued. In fact, Portuguese police have maintained a wall of silence, claiming privacy laws stop them from revealing many details about their investigation.