An investigative journalist is making the media rounds with an explosive new theory about the nearly decades-old vanishing of Madeline McCann.
Mark Williams-Thomas, a detective-turned-investigative journalist, appeared on the ITV show This Morning, saying he believes 4-year-old Maddie wandered off the night she went missing in May 2007.
— Daily Star (@Daily_Star) February 22, 2017
Maddie’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann had been dining with friends at a tapas bar on the property of the vacation resort, and reportedly went to check on the children periodically throughout the evening. The McCanns have long said they believe Maddie was abducted from her room, possibly during an attempted robbery.
But Williams-Thomas says he believes Maddie left on her own to go searching for her parents after she woke up in the night.
Williams-Thomas said on the British talk show that Maddie had reportedly woken up earlier during the family’s vacation when her parents were at the same restaurant.
“On that morning of Madeline’s disappearance, we do know she went to [her parents] Gerry and Kate and said: ‘Where were you last night?'” Williams-Thomas said on This Morning, according to Metro UK.
“And I think as a result of that, Madeline was clearly aware they were in the tapas bar that was in the resort.”
Williams-Thomas said on the show that Maddie could have gotten into trouble because the tapas restaurant was not immediately accessible from the apartment where the family was staying — he said she would have had to walk on a public road for part of the way.
According to Metro, the show’s producers insisted Williams-Thomas stop discussing the details of his theory for legal reasons.
Kate and Gerry McCann have reportedly dismissed the theory. The couple’s spokesperson Clarence Mitchell said in a statement obtained by The Sun that Williams-Thomas’s claim “is pure speculation and as such Kate and Gerry will not be dignifying it with any sort comment whatsoever.”
The McCanns have been involved in a protracted and unsuccessful legal battle to discredit a book written by a former Portuguese police detective, who worked in Maddie’s missing persons case in the earlier stages, which argues that Maddie died that night, likely accidentally, and her parents faked a kidnapping in order to dodge any responsibility.
The McCanns have maintained from the start that they had nothing to do with their daughter’s disappearance, and have continued to search for her.