Algarve invaded by 10 thousand photos of Maddie in time for tourist season

McCanns launch a new campaign to find their daughter

Tens of outdoors and approximately 10 thousand leaflets with images of Maddie are being affixed and distributed in Praia da Luz. The idea is to ask the village’s residents for help

by Duarte Levy and Miguel Ferreira

Madeleine McCann’s parents have launched a new campaign in Praia da Luz, Lagos, Algarve, in order to try to find their daughter, who disppeared in that village almost two years ago. Tens of new posters have been affixed on walls, bus stops and public transportation, where images of Maddie are visible.

The idea beneath this initiative is to prevent the population of Vila da Luz from forgetting the face of the little girl that disappeared on the 3rd of May 2007, as a representative of Kate and Gerry McCann explained to 24Horas.

According to information from the couple’s spokesman, the child’s parents believe that she is still alive and admit that, in a way, they didn’t care properly for contacts with the locals, who will now receive 10 thousand leaflets in their post boxes, asking for help and possible information about what happened on the night that Maddie disappeared.

Residents have been forgotten in the investigation

According to information that has now been made available by the couple, on the days that followed Maddie’s disappearance “the local Portuguese residents of Praia da Luz and the surrounding areas have never been properly asked about information they may have to give”, as “the emphasis was placed more on international appeals”.

The announcement of this campaign, which surprised the vast majority of Algarve’s residents, is seen with mistrust. “I can’t believe these people now come out to say they need our help after having insulted the Portuguese”, Rute Fernandes told 24Horas, adding that “this is a pure waste of time as there is not a single person in the Algarve who doesn’t know the case and who doesn’t know who the little girl was”.

For months, until Gonçalo Amaral left, the Polícia Judiciária investigated countless leads in the Algarve and abroad, but always ended up returning to the group on nine English people that accompanied Madeleine, including her own parents, Kate and Gerry McCann. The couple itself had Spanish private detectives and British henchmen in the Algarve, but all the allegedly obtained information revealed to be false or without any interest for the case, which even ended up thickening the suspicions against the couple.

“Experience shows that the crucial answers are in the immediate vicinity, someone in the area could almost certainly have the vital information that could help Madeleine’s return to her family”, the McCanns now argue, through their spokesman, further suggesting that now, after two years, someone may have received information that leads to the solution of the mystery, and that this information may be delivered anonymously by phone, text message, email or mail.
(Surely any relevant information should be given directly to the Portuguese police so that the case can be re-opened?)

Who is carrying out the campaign?

At the origin of the initiative, which was embraced by Kate and Gerry McCann, stands the “Find Madeleine” fund, without names or faces being associated to it. The graphic execution of the campaign was commissioned from “Atelier do Sul”, according to a source at the firm, because it’s “bilingual and based in the Algarve”.

From there on, the press note that was directed to journalists ended up being published on the “” website. Nevertheless, there is still no reference to persons in Portugal who may explain what is going to happen. One can read that “local Portuguese residents” are asked “for information to help to find Madeleine”. And the text continues, “experience also shows that people almost always confide in someone else, (…) her family hope and believe that local residents can be a very real help”. It’s further clarified that the campaign will last for two weeks.

Contacted by 24Horas, Clarence Mitchell, the McCanns’ advisor, attributed the campaign to “voluntaries” and during the morning was still unaware about times and places where actions will be carried out, like distributing leaflets at the markets of Luz and Lagos.

More here on Joana Morais

Just when the residents of Praia da Luz thought they could rebuild their shattered town after the McCann circus whirlwind flattened it, they are understandably angry about this new farce of a campaign, as shown in this heartfelt comment left on Joana's blog:

"This is simply outrageous.

Words are not enough to describe the disgust that people in Luz feel at being used, abused and spat upon, two years later.

Let Madeleine rest in peace, and leave the good people of Luz alone to restore their lives and their reputation.

Gawd help you, Kate and Gerry, when your fraudulent, fantasy world comes a-tumbling down because you won't get any sympathy from anywhere at this rate. You just don't know when to quit do you?