In 2007, Madeleine McCann went missing during a family vacation in Portugal. The McCann family has been waiting anxiously for her safe return ever since. Are they waiting for the impossible or could the missing three-year-old still be alive?
In 2020, German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters declared McCann dead, only to almost immediately retract his statement. Wolters cited the lack of substantial evidence as a reason to hope for her safe return.
McCann is not the only child who has gone missing. She also wouldn’t be the first to be found alive after having been missing for many years. Is there any hope of finding McCann alive, or should authorities focus on just trying to find her body?
Missing in Portugal
On April 28th, 2007, the McCann family joined family friends for a vacation in Praia da Luz, Portugal. They rented apartments at Waterside Village, a hotel located near Mark Warner’s Ocean Club resort not too far from the Atlantic Ocean.
On May 3rd, Kate & Gerry joined friends for dinner at a nearby restaurant. They later realized their daughter Madeleine was no longer in the bedroom they’d left her sleeping in. After an initial search of the local area, Madeleine McCann is nowhere to be found.
Many people judged Kate & Gerry for their parenting choices on the night of her disappearance. However, what’s most important is justice for Madeleine and punishment for the actual perpetrator.
In June 2020, German national Christian Brückner was accused of abducting Madeleine McCann. Brückner lived close to the scene of the crime, had a history of sexual assault, and other criminal behaviors.
In fact, Brückner had recently served time for a sexual assault charge. He was found guilty after having attacked a seventy-two-year-old woman in the same hotel Madeleine went missing in.
Prosecutor Wolter recently revealed plans for a mock trial. Brückner has maintained his innocence. Yet, Wolter has maintained certainty of his guilt. The mock trial will test the strength of the case against Brückner as well as the evidence gathered by police. What does it mean for the trial if Madeleine McCann is found alive?
Missing & forgotten
‘Missing white woman syndrome’ refers to media obsession with missing-person cases when the victim is a white woman or young girl. Basically, it implies such cases are given a high-profile status more often than when they’re of missing men or women of color.
Madeleine McCann’s disappearance is tragic and made even more so by how young she was at the time. While a suspect is in custody, McCann is still missing and yet to be found even fourteen years later.
Meanwhile, not many people even recognize the name Ara Denise Johnson. In 1986, Johnson was five-years-old when she too was abducted from her bedroom. Johnson has never been found, which is a reminder of coverage of cases in the media. The media doesn’t cover the stories of missing children the same, even when they have a positive ending.
In October 1988, two-year-old Mao Yin was abducted in central China and sold to a couple struggling to conceive. Li Jingzhi has been looking for her son for thirty-two years. On May 9th, 2021, mother & son were finally reunited.
It took a long time but Jingzhi finally got her son back in one piece – physically, at least. Their story could potentially give the McCann family reason to believe there is still hope in Madeleine finally being found.
Whether or not Madeleine is still alive matters less than the energy, attention, and money being put toward finding her. Hopefully, the public interest will one day apply the same way for missing children of color. Until then, let’s hope Madeleine’s story ends with her being found – safe & sound.
Have you been following the case of Madeleine McCann’s disappearance? Do you think Christian Brückner is guilty or innocent? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!