Tuesday, December 30, 2014

5J and the Rotting Meat and Vegetables - A Possible Explanation?

Subject: Report of Searches Related to the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Annex B – Report on the Sniffer Dog Search and Rescue Team

I. Methods used

The sniffer dog search and rescue team of the GNR was sent to Vila da Luz in the attempt of locating Madeleine McCann, aged four, of British nationality, who disappeared on the night of 3rd May, from apartment 5 A, Block 5 of the OC resort, the team was composed as follows:

Sargeant Silva – Dog: Timmy

Cabo (Officer) Cortez – Dog: Sacha

Cabo (Officer) Sousa – Dog: Kolly/Cookie

Cabo (Officer) Rosa – Dog: Oscar

Sold. (Soldier) Martins – Dog: Fusco

Sold. (Soldier) Fernandes – Dog: Rex/ Zarus

II Description of action

After the first three members of the team arrived at the scene, the officers gathered some information from the girl's parents about the places they tended to frequent with the children during their stay in Praia da Luz up until now, the parents replied that the only areas that their daughter would frequent since their arrival, was Praia da Luz beach, always accompanied by babysitters and resort pool area, where there was also a playground.

After this, at about 08h00 the three search and rescue sniffer dog teams (Silva with Timmy, Cortez with Sacha and Sousa with Kolly and Cookie) who had arrived at the site, began searching, leaving the resort in the direction of the beach.

During the entire morning, searches were made of the beach and rocks, from Rocha Negra to the area of Ponta da Gaviota (an approximate area of 2 km). During the morning searches were also made of the areas surrounding Praia da Luz, with a radius of about 300 metres, as well as some abandoned houses, wells and plots of land inside Praia da Luz.

After an evaluation of the situation in the field, it was decided to request two more search and rescue sniffer dogs from the GNR Queluz station, given the extent of the terrain to be searched, whilst the hypothesis that the girl could have left the apartment on foot was not discarded.

During the afternoon of 4th May, more searches were carried out around Vila da Luz and were extended to a radius of approximately 600 metres, including the surroundings of the EN125 in the stretch closed to Praia da Luz.

At about 23h00 the extra teams that had been requested for reinforcement arrived (Officer Rosa with Oscar and Officer Martins with Fusco, both from the search and rescue unit and Officer Fernandes with Rex and Zarus from the tracking team).

After the officers had been updated about facts relating to the disappearance, they tried to reconstruct the route the girl might have taken with the two tracker dogs. For this purpose the dogs were given a blanket to sniff, provided by the parents, which had been used by Madeleine.

Beginning to follow the track using Rex, from the door of apartment 5 A (the place where the girl had been sleeping) he would always head in the direction of Block 4, leaving block 5 the dog would turn to the left, pass by a metal access door to a path existing between the apartments blocks to the leisure area (restaurant, pool and playground). Immediately another attempt at reconstruction was made using the dog Zarus, who, in general terms, ended up following the same route as Rex and having the same behavior.

It is important to state that this tracking work was carried out in an urban area and more than 24 hours after the girl's disappearance and numerous persons had passed along the path the dogs were tracking. It should also be stated that the path the dogs followed within the resort was practically totally surrounded by walls and the concentration of odors was stronger as they were protected from the wind. The searches finished at about 01h30.

On 5th May at about 08h00 after a briefing, two teams consisting of 3 dogs each accompanied by officers from Portimao, again carried out searches in the whole of the Vila da Luz area, with an approximate radius of 2 kilometres, paying special attention to the rocky areas, abandoned houses, wells, drains, road verges etc..including plots of land within Praia da Luz.

During part of the afternoon, searches were carried out in the Turiscampo camping site situated next to Espiche on the EN125 and in the Orbitur camping site next to Vila da Luz. This search operation had the objective of checking all the bungalows whose occupants had left on the day of the disappearance or on the following day as well as the adjacent areas.

During the day the searches were extended using the method of searching in file, accompanied by officers from Portimao, from the Praia da Luz area following the rocks up to Ponta da Cama da Vaca, taking in all of the northern zone to the EN125 as well as the village of Almadena, the Vale Verde zone and Quatro Estradas, some of the areas had already been searched more than once.

At about 22h00 all the vehicles parked in Vila da Luz parking spaced were checked.

On 6th May at about 08h00 and after another briefing from the Operational Command Post, it was decided that on that day they would again search all the plots of land with thick undergrowth within Praia da Luz, but that this time the search sections were divided amongst the teams. For this purpose the same teams of three dogs together with officers from Portimao who had been selected to help using the method of searching in file, carried out searches in all abandoned buildings, wells, rocks, verges of the EN125 and land surrounding Praia da Luz, in some cases reaching distances of 2 km.

On 7th May the same searches were continued, being extended to to the entire northern part of Almadena to the site of Espojeiro and the verges of the EN125 until the Boi valley.

At about 19h00 the undersigned officer, accompanied by the Commander, Officer Silva, took part in a meetings with the PJ Directorate, being asked by the PJ about the viability of giving the girl’s clothes to the dogs for the dogs to sniff again, and if by means of the odor inhaled, they would be able to mark an identical odor in one of the resort’s apartments even though its door was closed.

With regard to this task, Officer Silva referred to the fact that the time that had passed would be a crucial condition for the dogs' work in obtaining results and that the entirety of the human odors existing in the apartments and access paths could make the dogs' searches very difficult. However, in spite of not being a normal situation for tracking, it could be attempted, whilst the operation should be carried out as quickly as possible and not directed towards one but to all the apartments in the resort, it being appropriate for the handler not to know which apartment was chosen, so as not the be conditioned.

In this concrete situation, the objective would be for the dogs to carry out a discontinuous search, in other words, to sniff the girl’s clothes and immediately search near to the apartments, checking to see if there was any change in the behavior of the dogs.

At about 23h00 accompanied by a PJ inspector, the searches were begun. After Rex was given the girl's clothing to sniff, he began to search on the ground floor of block 5 and when he passed the door of apartment 5A (the place the girl had disappeared from) according to his handler, officer Fernandes, the dog altered its behavior, sniffing with greater intensity than he had done before. Apartment 5J of the same block was also checked as the dog had been more agitated than before as if there were a very strong strange odor there. It was stated that this apartment had been unoccupied for some time. Afterwards, the same kind of search was carried out using the dog Zarus which in general terms showed the same behavior in the same places as Rex had done.

It was only when all the searches of the apartments in blocks 4 and 5 were complete, that the behavior described above was registered. It is certain that this kind of work does not correspond to the area that these dogs were trained in, but given that these types of dogs manage to discriminate a specific odor from others, although it could be a remote possibility that they related the odor of the missing girl with a possible location where she could have been.

On 8th May during the morning four teams returned to search all the areas around Vila, following some indications from local people who had frequently gone to the GNR Command post saying they had seen something suspicious related to the disappearance but no sign of her presence was ever found.

During the afternoon searches along the verges of the EN125 were continued from Boi valley to Figueira and the whole northern part of Budens.

On the following days the strategy adopted was to continue to extend the perimeter of the searches to the villages of Barao de S Miguel and Burgau, Barao de S Joao, Bensafrim and Salema. Searches were carried out in all of these locations, as well as adjacent land, vegetation, abandoned houses, wells and main roads.

On 10th May at about 20h10, upon the request of the PJ, searches were carried out in all of the apartments belonging to blocks 4 and 5 of the OC, two tracker dogs and two search and rescue dogs being used for this operation, adopting the same methods as those used on 7th May, just that this time the apartments were all open and searched one by one, being accompanied by a representative from the resort, who had the keys to all the apartments (apart from those not under her administration) and also with the objective of helping with the searches. The collaboration of all the guests occupying the apartments at that time was requested for this purpose and those apartments that were found to be empty were opened by the administrator.

All the apartments were searched by the dogs and when they arrived at apartment 5J they began to sniff with intensity at the entrance door. During this behavior it was noted by the PJ officers that there must be some unusual odor, but which with all certainty did not have anything to do with the odor being searched for, but there must have been something strange inside.

After entering the apartment, it was observed that the odor came from close to the fridge, which was open and contained some rotting meat and vegetables.

During the searches carried out in the apartments no sign of the girl was found by the dogs.

On 11th May in the morning, the team went to Odiaxere to visit a forest near the Boavista golf course. The whole forest was searched using the in file method, including some abandoned houses, wells and rail track.

After lunch the team was told that the searches were concluded but that their presence in Praia da Luz would continue to be necessary according to the requirements of the PJ for any other situations that might occur.

On 15th May three search and rescue dogs returned to Lisbon (Officer Cortes with Sacha, Officer Rosa with Oscar and Officer Martins with Fusco) considering that there was no longer any need for them.

The other dogs and their handlers remained on site until 18th May when at about 19h00 they returned to Cino/EPG as their presence was no longer require in Praia da Luz, although it was determined that if their use were required in the future, they would return.


30 November 2007

Operation Commander

Major Sequeira

An off the wall possible explanation perhaps?

From what we know and can deduce, Madeleine was frozen or at least kept in a cold environment IE a freezer or fridge.

Is it possible that Maddie was placed in the fridge in 5j for temporary storage?

Since she would take up a lot of the space, the items in said fridge were removed and placed elsewhere in the apartment.

This would allow time for them to come up with a new location which was not likely to be searched  or searched again (always the best way to dump a body is somewhere that has already been searched and cleared. If found later the police/searchers are immediately blamed for shoddy work and the defense can claim it wasn't their client since they weren't there or didn't have time to dump them at said site after the crime)

Maddie is kept cold or even partially frozen whilst the food goes off.

Maddie is then moved when they have a new dump site or think the apartment would be searched and there may be incriminating evidence on or in her body.

Once removed, the food is then replaced and the fridge turned off or, if it is knackered , left as.

The dogs react to the smell perhaps cadaverine etc and when the police look all they see is rotten meat and veg.

One would need to ask (well i would) why would there be veg and meat in an empty apartment?

I would also have checked the use by/expiry dates to see how recent the purchases were.

I would also have checked the apartment especially the fridge for prints and DNA and also taken all the veg and meat and had that checked out for prints/DNA etc

If prints or DNA turned up from the mccanns, Maddie or any of the tapas group, i would be asking a lot of awkward questions.


  1. yes indeed, Tania. One would hope that this strange interest by several dogs was noted and commented by the PJ. Not to mention Dicky Deadwood and his Woodentops ....after all they were supposedly looking 'outside the square', weren't they? Should we point it out, do you think?

  2. Assuming the apartment had power, wouldn't you normally leave a fridge/freezer unit on? I would, as you don't want the thing getting bacteria and everything growing in it in the meantime. It doesn't make sense. 5J should have been thoroughly investigated at the time. I would like to know if any DNA in that fridge/freezer unit.


Post a comment