Madeleine McCann might be the most famous missing child, ever since she vanished in 2007 at 3 years old. But this week, she's returning to the headlines as a new documentary detailing her disappearance has just dropped on Netflix.
The eight-hour, eight-part docuseries, aptly titled The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann, tells the story of the fateful May night when Madeleine was asleep at a Portugal vacation resort beside her twin siblings and disappeared without a trace. But her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, aren't happy their missing daughter is the subject of the Netflix special and want nothing to do with it.
"The production company told us that they were making the documentary and asked us to participate," the McCanns said in a statement following Netflix's documentary announcement. "We did not see — and still do not see — how this programme will help the search for Madeleine and, particularly given there is an active police investigation, it could potentially hinder it. Consequently, our views and preferences are not reflected in the programme."
Following the release of the docuseries, Kate and Gerry opened up further about the special, by way of their spokesperson, Clarence Michell. "This fuels those conspiracy theorists, there's whole websites and forums dedicated to vilifying [Kate and Gerry] and others around them, myself included," he said. "It's nonsense. If the allegations that have been disproven and discounted are aired again, I'm afraid it will fuel that. Kate and Gerry ignore all of that."
But first, what happened to Madeleine? Where did she go missing?
On the night of May 3, 2007, Kate and Gerry McCann left their three kids in bed when they went out to dinner. They were on vacation in the Portuguese coastal town of Praia da Luz with a group of friends and had established a nightly routine: while their children slept in the rented apartments, the adults would have dinner at a tapas restaurant inside the resort, 180 feet away.
The adults took turns checking up on the children every 30 or so minutes. But when Kate went into her children's room around 10 p.m., she found Madeleine's blanket and favorite stuffed animal in the spot on her bed where her daughter should have been — with Madeleine nowhere to be found.
Where are Madeleine's parents today?
Both 51 and British doctors, Madeleine's parents have been actively trying to track down their daughter's whereabouts since her disappearance almost 12 years ago. In 2011, on Madeleine's eighth birthday, Kate published a memoir about her daughter entitled Madeleine: Our Daughter's Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her.
Kate and Gerry are still together today, despite their marriage nearly breaking down in the years immediately following Madeleine's vanishing. "I worried about Gerry and me," she wrote in her memoir. "I worried that if I didn't get our sex life on track our whole relationship would break down."
Today, the McCanns keep their daughter's website, Find Madeleine, as up to date as possible. They even have an online store and accept donations to Madeleine's "Leaving No Stone Unturned" fund. Kate also finds it cathartic and productive to return to Praia da Luz often. "I do go back for personal reason," she told BBC. "It's obviously the last place we were with Madeleine and I still walk those streets and I guess try and look for answers. It helps me, most of the time."
Was Madeleine McCann ever found?
Almost 12 years after her disappearance, Madeleine McCann, who would be nearly 15 today, is still missing. The McCanns mentioned last year that "information continues to come in" and that they still "endeavour to do whatever it takes to find her."
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann is now streaming on Netflix.
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