1. ITV Report

2007-2014 timeline of events in search for Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann vanished while on a family holiday in Portugal seven years ago Photo: Handout/PA Archive/Press Association Image

British detectives are meeting with Portuguese officers over the Madeleine McCann investigation. It is now more than seven years since she went missing.

Here is a timeline of the key events since she went missing on holiday in Portugal in 2007:


  • May 3 - Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley in 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.
The holiday complex where Madeleine McCann went missing Credit: Chris Radburn/PA Archive


  • May 3 - The first anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.
  • 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.
An age progression image showing how Madeleine may have looked aged eight Credit: Teri Blythe/Metropolitan Police


  • 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.
  • May 3 - The second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.
  • 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.
A picture of Madeleine taken on the family's holiday in Praia Da Luz Credit: PA


  • January 27 - 1,000 days since Madeleine McCann went missing.
  • February 18 - Jerry and Kate McCann welcome the decision of a Portuguese court not to lift a ban on a controversial book about their missing daughter, written by former Portuguese detective Goncalo Amaral.
  • May 3 - The third anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.
  • July 5 - Jerry and Kate McCann meet with Home Secretary Theresa May to discuss search for Madeleine.
  • November 15 - Jerry and Kate McCann are to write a book about their daughter's disappearance and the struggle to find her.
Madeleine McCann's parents Gerry and Kate McCann Credit: PA


  • May 3 - The fourth anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.
  • 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.
  • May 22 - Jerry and Kate McCann return to Portugal to make a fresh appeal.
Kate and Gerry McCann holding their book 'Madeleine' Credit: Anthony Devlin/PA Archive


  • 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".
Madeleine McCann Credit: Family Handout


  • 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.
  • November 4 - It is claimed that a key suspect in the abduction of Madeleine McCann was sacked from the hotel complex where the youngster disappeared, the year before she and her family holidayed there. According to a national newspaper, police are investigating the possibility that Euclides Monteiro could have kidnapped Madeleine after being disturbed as he broke into her family's apartment. Monteiro known as Toni died in an accident four years ago but phone records place him near the complex at the time the three-year-old vanished.
Scotland Yard receives 2,400 calls following television appeals Credit: BBC Crimewatch


  • January 29 - Scotland Yard detectives travel to Portugal following leads in their hunt for Madeleine McCann. The four officers are believed to be asking Portuguese Police to sanction the arrest and questioning of three suspects.
  • March 19 - Police investigating Madeleine's disappearance say they want to speak to a lone intruder who sexually abused four young British girls shortly before Madeleine vanished in 2007. The assaults all happened at holiday homes in Portugal. Two took place in Praia da Luz where the McCann's had gone on holiday.
  • March 20 - Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine McCann receive more than 250 calls and emails following their latest appeal.
  • May 3 - The seventh anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance.
  • May 6 - British detectives granted permission to excavate two sites at the Algarve resort where Madeleine vanished seven years ago, Portuguese police sources tell ITV News.
  • May 8 - British detectives arrive in Portugal to meet with Portuguese officers.
  • May 22 - Police investigating the disappearance of Madeleine say they are set for a "substantial phase of operational activity".
  • June 2 - A large area of waste land in Praia da Luz, Portugal, is cordoned off. It is thought to be in connection to the Madeleine investigation.
An area of waste land has been cordoned off by police in Praia da Luz, Portugal. Credit: ITV News / Louisa Felton

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