Saturday, September 8, 2007


I haven't been following the Madeleine McCann story as closely as some of you out there, for obvious reasons, but I did hear that the parents are now officially considered 'suspects' .

While I have no idea if this has any merit -- it may very well be heading down the right path -- I can't help but think that if it's not, what an absolute nightmare for those parents.

I can't imagine having lost a child so randomly like this, suffering through heartache, sleepless nights, endless days, feeling completely helpless, and then suddenly someone points the finger at you. Clearly, if they are involved, it's warranted. But if they're not, what a nightmare upon a nightmare. I can't imagine.

I did hear that the police grilled the mother for 11 hours straight. I'm not sure that's a fair way to assess someone's potential guilt, unless there is some really hard evidence to point at. In a dejected emotional state over the loss of a child, if someone grilled me for 11 hours straight, I'm not sure what might come out of my mouth out of pure emotion and frustration. Certainly I would never confess to a crime if I hadn't done it, but I might grow weary and say something that the police would try to hang their hat on -- an inconsistency in a timeline or something, perhaps. And if they are on a mission to find someone guilty, they can certainly railroad someone into fitting their own needs. There have been accounts of people under stressful interrogation conditions who confessed to a crime they didn't commit, just to get them to stop badgering them. Seems odd, but it happens.

So I guess we'll see how this plays out, but after having lived with the JonBenet Ramsey case in our faces for years and years now, and having witnessed the way the police and press absolutely destroyed the lives and reputations of the parents over this (with basically no evidence), I'm a little wary of diving in and swallowing the line of thinking from the Portuguese police. It may very well be correct, but I'll reserve my judgement for later.


SandDancer said...

The interrogation is apparently because of forensics evidence, rumoured to be the child's blood and the scent left by dead bodies on some of the mother's possessions.

I don't think the Portuguese police have jumped in hastily with these accusations - she disappeared in May and they waited until they've got this evidence. But there are differences in their law too which make this different - firstly the status as a suspect doesn't necessarily imply guilt but just allows the police to take a stronger line of questioning and for the person to have a lawyer present. The other thing is that only confessions made in court count so even if she broke down under interrogation that wouldn't count for anything unless they had other evidence against her. This seems like a pretty good law to me as it invalidates any forced confessions.

I have been following the case very closely - its hard not too here as every single paper leds with it today. Something has seemed not quite right with the whole thing from the start, although I don't think anyone thinks it is murder as such, but that they have tried to cover up an accidently death to protect their reputations.

M said...

It's definitely an odd case. But I would think that if the police had some solid evidence, they wouldn't need a confession, which is what I understand they were wanting to coerce (confess and get only 2 years or less, etc.). But then some of that could be rumors tossed out into the press to put further pressure on the situation.

The JonBenet Ramsey case here a few years ago resulted in the parents' lives and reputations being utterly destroyed, with no real evidence to support a case against them. The killer was never found, and the police were incessant about focusing on the mother. She died recently of cancer, still under a cloud of suspicion by some, sadly. And she never saw her daughter's killer brought to justice. They've never found out who killed that little girl. A tragedy for everyone, truly and an awful ending to everyone's story there.

northern monkey said...

As sanddancer says it's hard to avoid the story here as it's everywhere along with all the suspicion, rumour, scare-mongering etc etc - it's hard to see what is truth and what is over hyped 'looking for a story' media guff...

It's truely a sad case and I hope there's a resolution to it and the guilty, whoever they are, are brought to justice.