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Why the Smith Sighting - and not the Last Photo - is the Key to the Madeleine McCann Case
An awful lot of people believe the "Last Photo" is the key to what happened to Maddie. I disagree. Furthermore, I don't believe it is even very important in the analysis of this case. Worse, it is a huge distraction which has lead to a very complicated theory of Maddie dying on Sunday which lacks the support of solid, credible evidence. Furthermore, it completely negates the most important piece of evidence in the case - the Smith sighting. Let me explain how, as a profiler, the "Last Photo" as any kind of evidence pales in comparison to the Smith sighting and excessive focus on it should be laid to rest.
First of all, the "Last Photo" is not photoshopped. It is a real photo. Now, as to when it was taken, I can accept that it might not have been taken when the McCanns claimed (although I believe it may well have been taken when they said it was). I will go even further - to make my point - and be willing to accept that one possibility is that it might have been taken on Sunday. So, let's say it was indeed taken on that day. What does that tell us? Here is where the speculation goes off track. As a profiler, all I can tell you is if it is true the photo was taken days before the McCanns claim, there might be a half dozen reasons for them choosing that photo and saying it was taken later in the week, none of which are very alarming to the point of throwing up a huge red flag.
Here is an example of how speculating on certain evidence leads to false conclusions.
My granddaughter was born three years ago. She was born at my daughter's home in a planned home birth quite close to her due date, just a day or so early. At the time of her birth, I lived just thirty minutes from my daughter's home. On the occasion of my granddaughter's first birthday, my daughter cobbled together one of those first-year-of-life albums with photos from birth through turning one. As one peruses the photos, one cannot help notice that there is but one photo of me, the only grandmother, in the whole book and I am conspicuously absent from the birth photos. My ex-husband is shown holding the newborn baby in a couple of photos, the baby's uncles are there with big smiles on their faces, my best friend (who was an "aunty" to my daughter during her childhood) is there helping at the birth, but I am not. Why am I, the grandmother of the baby, the mother of the woman giving birth, not there?
Okay, start speculating.
Did any of you come up with these possibilities?
My daughter and I have a bad relationship and I wasn't invited to the birth. I was busy doing television and my career and publicity was more important than being at the birth. I was off traveling - having planned a vacation around the time of my daughter's due date. I was opposed to home birth an refused to show up and support my daughter's choice.
Yeah, none of these are true. Oh, and, wait, look here! What is this?
Yes, that is a photo of me at the birth! What the heck? Where did that come from and why, if it isn't a photoshopped picture or a photo of me with another baby, or a photo of me with the baby on a day sometime after the birth, why wasn't that photo in my daughter's picture book? Why would it be left out?
First of all, let's talk about if the photo is actually me at the birth. Yes, it is a real photo. I was there. Not only was I there, but I chose to be there under stressful circumstances. Oh, no, not that I had any problems with my daughter; our relationship was fine. And I am a supporter of home birth; my son, David, was born at home. In fact, I went with my daughter to her final midwifery appointment and as soon as she called and told me she was in labor, I raced over to her house. I would never have planned a vacation during the last month of her pregnancy and I would have turned down all television and work-related jobs to be present at the birth. In fact, the stressful circumstance which made my presence difficult was that my mother was dying in another state and I had to choose whether to be at her deathbed or at my granddaughter's birth.
I had been at my father's side when he died just a year earlier and I had been making trips back and forth to New York to help my sister care for my mother in her last year of life as she declined with Alzheimers. After she fell and was hospitalized for the last time, my other sister went up to New York to help as my daughter's due date was nearing. I then had to choose to be with my mother or to be with my daughter, not knowing exactly when my daughter would give birth or my mother would leave this world. I did what I thought my mother would sanction; I stayed for the birth. My mother died the same day, just hours after the baby was born, so I was unable to fly there after the birth to be there in time to say goodbye.
So, yes, I was at the birth, totally involved, and none of the negative speculation would have been accurate. So, what about the photo? Quite simple really. My daughter didn't have that photo. I never had sent it over to her. The photos she DID have of me weren't very flattering and she knows I hate bad photos of myself, so she kindly did not include them in the book. Yes, other grandmothers wouldn't have cared if they looked like a wildebeest holding the baby but my daughter knew it would make me shudder. I asked a woman who put a photo of me kissing an iguana in a marketplace during a trip to Nicaragua to pull the photo from Facebook; the iguana's sideview of it's neck and dewlap hanging down looked a whole lot better than mine. I love the photo (privately) but not for public viewing! Okay, call me what you will - proud, vain, whatever - I just hate embarrassingly bad photos of myself at my age.
So, now, see how speculation as to why there was no photo of me at my granddaughter's birth can go so far off course? Now, think about the "Last Photo" of the McCanns. Why would they lie, if they even did, about the time it was taken? I can think of a whole bunch of reasons which are far less bizarre than Maddie being dead by Sunday which then requires a massive plan to hide the fact and cooperation of a great number of people being needed to carry on the charade for the next four days.
1. There WERE other photos of Maddie that week but they were blurred or not very good, so the McCanns chose the pool photo but said it was on Thursday because that made the photo more compelling (the LAST photo! The McCanns like spin and know its value).
2. They were other photos of Maddie but THEY look bad in them (and Kate and Gerry like to look good).
3. There were no other photos past Sunday because once they did their day with the children, they dumped them in care during the day and left them at night because they were busy enjoying their adult vacation and they didn't want to admit not spending time with them.
In other words, it is dangerous to speculate, creating dots that do not necessarily exist and then connecting those dots to create a theory. To me, the "Last Photo" is just a photo and I can find no reason to exaggerate its meaning.
Now, the Smith sighting is a completely different animal. THIS is the KEY to the case and yet it is even poo-poo'ed as having merit, mostly because it invalidates the earlier death theory of Madeleine. Simply, if the Smiths saw Gerry carrying Madeleine toward the beach on the evening of May 3, then Madeleine died an accidental death while being neglected and there is no big child sex ring that Gerry and his friends and the British governement are involved in.
But, we can't invalidate or diminish the Smith sighting for one HUGE reason and this is the KEY to the case. The McCanns refused to acknowledge the Smith sighting themselves. Unlike every parent I have ever dealt with whose child went missing or was found murdered, the McCanns were not interested in the biggest lead in their child going missing. Why is this? There can only be ONE reason; Gerry does NOT have a solid alibi for the time of the Smith sighting and Gerry most likely IS the person carrying a little girl toward the beach at the time the Smiths saw the man in the street. For if Gerry DID have a solid alibi at that time, the McCanns would have jumped at a sighting that was validated by an entire bunch of strangers, not just a close friend who could easily not be believed (and wasn't). The McCanns ignoring of the Smith sighting is the bombshell in the Madeleine McCann case, not some photo that has a half dozen reasons for possibily not being the last one taken of Maddie.
Even if I could explain away every other behavior of the McCanns and every other piece of evidence in this case, the one thing I cannot possibly come up with is an alternative explanation for is the McCanns ignoring of the Smith sighting. If they are innocent of any connection to Maddie going missing, they would have jumped on the Smith sighting as a huge lead as to who might have taken their daughter. And if they are guilty of involvement in the disappearance of Maddie, their ignoring of the Smith sighting is the strongest piece of evidence we have of Maddie's death and subsequent cover-up being an inside job and not a stranger abduction.
Published: July 27, 2011 What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.