In desperation, the parents courted the media in order that they might get their child back alive. In return, they have been arrested, subjected to a media circus feeding frenzy, and had some pretty nasty things written about them. For their loss, and for their treatment by certain commentators, they have my utmost sympathy.
One of the nastiest of the rumours currently circulating in the Mainstream Media is that they ‘sedated’ their little girl before going out to dinner on the evening of their daughter’s disappearance. Okay, WHERE IS THE HARD EVIDENCE THAT THEY DID THIS? Who comes up with this crap? DNA in the boot of their rental car? I would be more suspicious if there was no DNA sample. Little kids get everywhere, snot, hair, urine, skin flakes and flecks of blood from scratches and insect bites, all over furniture, clothes, walls and luggage, which of course gets into the boot (trunk) of a rental car. Like puppies children are messy by nature, every parent knows this by experience. No sample would have suggested a suspiciously too-thorough cleaning job.
There’s also the issue of a certain author who used the McCann’s ‘story’ as a metaphor. Perhaps that might have been a bad career move, perhaps not. It certainly got the author in question publicity in a rather ruthless roundabout way. I shall not dignify the 2000 word piece with any links from this site. It was a clever piece of prose, but to me ill-judged.
No matter what the truth in this case turns out to be. If, like I strongly suspect, the parents of Madeleine McCann turn out to be nothing more than two ordinary human beings distraught enough to try anything to get their child back, then whoever spreads this unfounded conjecture should be held to account. No one has any right to make up spurious stories in a situation like this.
In addition, such stories actually end up interfering with investigations, and end up being just plain mean and hurtful. The allegations say nothing about the parents, but they do tell you something about the sickness in some writers’ hearts and minds. Hell, I may take the mickey about certain things, but there are events that should be treated with a little dignified forbearance until all the evidence is in and properly collated.
As a caring stepfather, I too would be frantic if either or both of my two stepdaughters went missing. Any commentator even suggesting that I was in some way guilty of wrongdoing would invoke my full and undying displeasure. If the McCann’s took legal action that ended with sackings in the media for publishing such unfounded allegations, they would be justified.
I hope when they are found innocent Madeleine McCann’s parents engage the services of a good libel lawyer. Then it will be their turn for a feeding frenzy.