At around the time that Kate McCann was raising the alarm about Madeleine’s disappearance, so there was an encounter between a family heading home after an evening out and a man carrying a child. This man (“Smithman”) has never been identified leading to much discussion about whether it was an abductor or whether it was Gerry McCann (as one of the family thinks it was). What seems to have received less attention is where this person was actually going.
Assuming that they didn’t just jump in a car and head out of town (unlikely, given the fact they’d already carried the child 430 metres), Where’s Smithman Going? sets out the 5 possibilities of where this person may have been heading and assesses the likelihood of each.
“The timing and location [of the Smith Sighting] speak for themselves.” – DCI Redwood of Operation Grange referring to the time of the Smith Sighting being around the same as the moment Madeleine’s disappearance was discovered, as reported by the McCanns.
I went to Praia da Luz at the end of February for a week, and whilst there, thought it a good idea to take some timings between various places. All were done on foot, carrying just a camera bag, and five are shown on Praia da Luz Timings . The obvious one was between the McCanns’ apartment and the Smith Sighting. Also to test a theory, timings were then taken between the Smith Sighting and Rocha Negra and back to McCanns’ apartment. And finally, timings were taken between the Mirage Restaurant and the central reception and then to the McCanns’ apartment (I can see Mark Warner staff taking this route after word of the disappearance had gone out).
Timings were taken on an iPhone running the Endomondo Sports Tracker app.
“…. on Sunday, 6 May I went to the pizzaria in PdL and bought a large quantity of pizzas. I was attended by a girl from Liverpool. I explained to her my relationship to the McCanns and she told me that her father ‘George’ had seen a man carrying a child in his arms in the early morning of 4 May in the resort.” – Michael Wright (husband of Kate McCann’s cousin Anne-Marie Wright) in his rogatory statement of 16th April, 2008.
The above statement suggests that someone other than Jane Tanner and the Smith family may have seen someone carrying a child in Praia da Luz in the hours after Madeleine disappeared, though it now appears that the sighting was in Lagos rather than PdL.
Anyway, the sighting had been reported to Leicestershire Police the day after Madeleine disappeared by the man mentioned in the statement, George Brooks, and reported in the press during the following days. The Reporting of the George Brooks Sighting shows how treatment of the sighting by the press changed during these days.