true crime

Madeleine McCann has been missing for 12 years. DNA testing could solve her case in a week.


Madeleine McCann was just three years old when she disappeared in 2007.

The toddler was holidaying with her family in Portugal when she went missing, while her parents were dining at a nearby restaurant.

There has never been a credible sighting of her since.

At around 10.00pm on May 3, 2007, British doctor and mum-of-three Kate McCann left a local tapas bar and walked the 83 metres back to her holiday apartment to check on her sleeping children.

Could Madeleine McCann’s parents have been involved in his disappearance? Post continues after audio…

Kate, her husband Gerry, their three-year-old daughter Madeleine, and their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelia, had travelled to the area from Leicester, England, for a family holiday.

When Kate arrived at apartment 5A she immediately felt that something wasn’t right.

The door to the children’s room was further open than she had left it. When she looked in the room she saw Madeleine’s bed was empty. A gust of wind then blew into the room, revealing the open window and window shutters on the wall opposite Maddie’s bed.

Kate ran back to the tapas bar to where Gerry was dining with the seven friends they had travelled with, the group that would later become known as the Tapas 7.

She screamed: “They’ve taken her.”

A few weeks into the search for Maddie, Portuguese police officially named the McCanns as suspects in the disappearance of their daughter.

As the documentary, The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann revealed, sniffer dogs allegedly detected the scent of blood, and a human body, in the McCann’s apartment and in the car they hired 24 days after Maddie disappeared.


18 complex DNA samples were also found in the search. Sixteen were found in the apartment the McCanns were staying in at the time of Maddie’s disappearance. And two came from the rental car.

Now Dr Mark Perlin, a leading forensic expert from the United States, has offered to re-analyse the 18 “inconclusive” DNA samples from the investigation.

Dr Perlin, and his Pittsburgh lab Cybernetics, would be able to separate the DNA and see whether Maddie’s DNA is present.

“What we actually need is the electronic data that comes out of the laboratory off their instruments,” he told the Daily Star.

“That’s the standard starting point for DNA analysis.

“It would take us one to two weeks, depending on the data, after we receive it to provide some initial preliminary report.”

The potential break in the case came after Mark Saunokonoko, host of the Nine investigative podcast Maddie, reached out to Dr Perlin.

In episode seven of the podcast, retired London Metropolitan Police detective Colin Sutton said finding Maddie’s DNA in the car would be a real game changer.

“On that basis, that that car was hired by the McCanns three weeks after Madeleine disappeared, then it is a real game changer, isn’t it? Because there is no way, according to information that we have, that she could have been in that car,” he said.

“The big question then is how can her DNA get into that car three weeks after she disappeared?”

The Metropolitan police are yet to take Dr Perlin up on his offer.