1. ITV Report

Madeleine McCann disappearance timeline

Madeleine McCann was three when she went missing Photo: Family Handout

Since her disappearance from a ground floor apartment in Praia Da Luz, Portugal, on May 3rd, 2007, things have developed significantly in the search for missing Leicestershire girl Madeleine McCann. This timeline looks back at the key events since 2007.


  • May 3 - Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, leave their three children asleep in their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in southern Portugal while they dine with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant. Nothing is amiss when Mr McCann checks on the youngsters at just after 9pm, but when his wife goes back at about 10pm she finds three-year-old Madeleine missing.
  • August 6 - A Portuguese newspaper reports that British police sniffer dogs have found traces of blood on a wall in the McCanns' holiday apartment.
  • August 11 - Exactly 100 days after Madeleine disappeared, investigating officers publicly acknowledge for the first time that she could be dead.
  • September 7 - During further questioning of Mr and Mrs McCann, detectives make them both "arguidos" in their daughter's disappearance.
  • September 9 - The McCanns fly back to England with their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.
  • October 2 - Goncalo Amaral, the detective in charge of the inquiry, is removed from the case after criticising the British police in a Portuguese newspaper interview.
Madeleine McCann disappeared from the Ocean Club in Luz in the Algarve, Portugal. Credit: Steve Parsons/PA Wire


  • July 21 - The Portuguese authorities shelve their investigation and lift the "arguido" status of the McCanns and Robert Murat.
  • July 24 - Mr Amaral publishes a book about the case, entitled The Truth Of The Lie, in which he alleges that the young girl died in her family's holiday flat on the day she went missing.
  • August 4 - Thousands of pages of evidence from the Portuguese police files in the exhaustive investigation into Madeleine's disappearance are made public. They reveal details of the lines of inquiry pursued by detectives, witness statements and scores of previously unknown sightings of the little girl.


  • January 29 - Nearly £2 million was raised for the official fund to find Madeleine in the first 10 months after she went missing, Companies House accounts show.
  • September 9 - A Portuguese judge bans further sale or publication of Mr Amaral's book following legal action by Mr and Mrs McCann. This injunction is later upheld before being overturned on appeal.


  • May 12 - Mrs McCann publishes a book about her daughter's disappearance on Madeleine's eighth birthday. Scotland Yard launches a review of the case after a request from Home Secretary Theresa May supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.


  • April 25 - Scotland Yard detectives say they believe Madeleine could still be alive, release an age-progression picture of how she might look now as a nine-year-old, and call on the Portuguese authorities to reopen the case.
  • April 26 - Portuguese police say they have found no new material that will allow them to reopen their investigation.
  • May 3 - The fifth anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.
  • July 10 - Kate McCann launches a nationwide campaign to find missing people. Mrs McCann, a new ambassador for the charity Missing People, launches a network of billboards which will publicise the cases of individuals whose whereabouts are no longer known.
  • November 30 - In the wake of the Leveson report, the couple urge Prime Minister David Cameron to embrace its findings, saying if he does not, then giving evidence at the inquiry will have been "almost useless".
  • December 21 - In a Christmas message on the Find Madeleine website, Kate and Gerry McCann say the festive season will "never be as it should".


  • February 6 - A DNA sample from a girl in New Zealand is sent to British police to quash the suggestion that she could be Madeleine McCann.
  • May 1 - Mr and Mrs McCann say they have not given up hope in the search for their daughter, nearly six years after she vanished. Mrs McCann told the Press Association she believed Scotland Yard officers were "more determined than ever" to find what happened to her daughter.
  • May 3 - The sixth anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.
  • May 17 - Detective Chief Superintendent Hamish Campbell from the Metropolitan Police reveals in an interview with the Evening Standard that the review team has identified at least "a handful of people of interest" in the case.
  • June 21 - Prosecutors confirm that London's chief crown prosecutor Alison Saunders and her deputy Jenny Hopkins flew to Portugal with Scotland Yard detectives in April to discuss the case with their Portuguese counterparts.
  • July 4 - Scotland Yard confirms that it has launched its own investigation into Madeleine's disappearance two years into a review of the case. It has "genuinely new" lines of inquiry and has identified 38 people of interest, including 12 Britons.
  • September 12 - Kate McCann flies to Portugal for the start of the family's libel proceedings against Mr Amaral
  • October 4 - British officers reveal that they are looking at mobile phone data from around the time of Madeleine's disappearance, and say any person who was present in the Algarve town on or around May 3 2007 could receive a phone call from the Metropolitan Police.
  • October 14 - Mr and Mrs McCann take part in a fresh appeal for information about Madeleine's disappearance, as police release an e-fit of a man they believe could have been carrying her towards the sea at around 10pm on the night she vanished. They say they have discounted a previous key sighting thought to be of an abductor, and are also looking for a number of fair-haired men seen near the apartment.
  • October 17 - Scotland Yard says it has received more than 2,400 calls and emails following television appeals in the UK, Holland and Germany. Around another 1,250 calls were made to studios in the three countries.
  • October 23 - Britain's most senior police officer Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe defends the way the Portuguese dealt with the initial investigation into Madeleine's disappearance, saying it would have been "very difficult" to immediately know if they were dealing with a serious crime.
  • October 24 - Portuguese police confirm that a review of their original investigation has uncovered new lines of inquiry, and reopen the case.

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