Profile of the Disappearance of Madeleine McCann

Rated 4.29/5 based on 7 reviews
What really happened to Madeleine Beth McCann in Praia da Luz, Portugal in 2007? Was she abducted as the Gerry and Kate have claimed or did something happen to Madeleine on May 3 in the vacation apartment and the incident covered up? Criminal Profiler Pat Brown analyzes the evidence and takes the readers through the steps of profiling, developing a theory that is intriguing and controversial.

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About Pat Brown

Criminal Profiler Pat Brown is the President of the Pat Brown Profiling Agency and CEO of The Sexual Homicide Exchange. She is a television commentator for CNN, HLN, FOX, NBC, CBS, and ABC,having more than 2000 appearances. She is a regular on Nancy Grace, The Today Show, The Early Show, Joy Behar, and Jane Velez-Mitchell. She holds a Masters in Criminal Justice from Boston University and developed the first Criminal Profiling and Investigative Analysis Certificate program in the US for Excelsior College. She is the author of The Profiler: My Life Hunting Serial Killers and Psychopaths (Hyperion Voice 2010) and Killing for Sport (Phoenix Books 2008)

Learn more about Pat Brown


Pat Brown's Book Pulled by Amazon
Story of how Pat Brown's book was banned from Amazon after Carter-Ruck, the solicitors for Kate and Gerry McCann, told them to take it off the market.


helder martins reviewed on June 30, 2020

(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Stephen Motson reviewed on April 16, 2017

On first reading the book seems convincing enough - until you delve deeper and examine the gaping errors which the writer and self-styled profiler has made. Pat Brown ignores the scientific evidence and skips over it as if it were an inconvenience. She makes assumptions based on cadaver (human remains) dog alerts (which turned out to be false alerts anyway) without even bothering to check the validity or science behind specialist dogs alerting to human remains (once a body has been removed, according to scientists and researchers, the scent of human remains begins to diminish and after 594 hours (24.1 days) there is not a trace of it that can possibly be detected even by a cadaver dog - yet Pat Brown ignores this, insinuating, implausibly and against accepted science, that the scent in this case remained for 3 months after the body had been removed! Pat Brown does not offer any explanation on why this should be so, nor does she even comment on it further. She just ignores it). From this she is convinced by Amaral's (the investigator in this case) unfounded theory that the child had died in the apartment (without any evidence whatsoever) and that the parents were responsible for covering this up. What started out as a seemingly good book, became an unbelievable farce.
(reviewed 6 years after purchase)
DB0001 reviewed on Dec. 15, 2014

This book is quite short, more like an essay in some ways, but it manages to bring together, in an easily digestible form, much of the available evidence concerning the McCann case, which remains unsolved and deeply troubling even after 7 years.

Pat Brown's analysis of the case yields several important insights, and in general her approach is more objective than that of Goncalo Amaral in his book "The Truth of the Lie", which has yet to be published in English. Amaral has a hypothesis, and could be right, but he also has a reputation to defend and the Portuguese investigation team made serious mistakes. So he could be biased.

The first half of this essay is more impressive than the second, where I felt that the author was too quick to reject the abduction theory, with the clear implication that there was parental involvement. Brown points out, correctly, that the parents are implicated in about 85% of missing children cases. However, in almost every other case I have read about, one or both parents were involved. Here, we are asked to belive that a larger group of 7 other adults were also somehow involved in an after-the-event cover-up. This I find this very difficult to accept for a number of reasons.

The possibility that the sniffer dogs were wrong can, I think, be safely discounted. The statistical probability of both (British) dogs mistakenly alerting to the presence of a violent crime scene inside apartment 5A is miniscule (though not absolutely impossible). In any case, a separate group of (Portuguese) sniffer dogs, trained to detect the scent of living persons, had already failed to find any forensic evidence of Madeleine being abducted alive in any direction away from the apartment. From this, it can be safely concluded that death must have occurred in the apartment. This should be the starting point for any fresh investigation.

However, like Amaral, Pat Brown seems to assume that the forensic evidence discovered by the dogs fatally undermines the abduction theory. We should ask if this is really the case. Perhaps there was a bungled robbery, or a failed abduction attempt, which led to violence in the apartment. In which case, it would have been a stranger who removed the body from the apartment. Brown expresses puzzlement over Gerry McCann's repeated use of the word "taken" to describe Madeleine's removal from the apartment. But perhaps he was simply acknowledging the possibility that Madeleine was not taken alive (as you wouldn't normally use the term 'kidnapping' or abduction' in these circumstances). However, if there was evidence of the apartment being cleaned up afterwards to remove forensic traces, this would tend to argue against the involvement of would-be abductors, as they simply wouldn't have had the time to do it.

The possibility that Madeleine may have been removed in order to conceal evidence because a crime (burglary, abduction) had gone wrong needs to be more fully investigated, because in some ways it is the simplest explanation consistent with the facts.

Why do I say this? Well, first of all there are serious problems with the hypothesis of parental involvement. To discover that a tragic accident had taken place, and then arrange for the removal and hiding of the body in an unfamiliar location, would have required tremendous composure and presence of mind, totally at odds with the behaviours observed on the night. The window of opportunity would also have been extremely tight - possibly half an hour or even less, depending on what you believe about witness testimony concerning the father's whereabouts.

But there is an even more serious problem. Those who reject the abduction theory in effect allege a conspiracy involving nine adults. Some of these people were admittedly close friends, but this was not true of everyone in the group. Persuading everyone to tell the same (false) story about what happened would have presented a formidable challenge, and all of this was supposed to be happening at a time when there was a body to dispose of in a strange environment! Pat Brown seems to have no difficulty accepting this hypothesis, but I find it very implausible unless the Tapas 9 all had something to hide e.g. the methods they used to get their children off to sleep in the evening. In this case, no conspiracy would have been required, as there would have been a very strong shared interest in promoting the abduction theory.

For all these reasons, I find the arguments more finely balanced than this book suggests. On the one hand, it is hard to see why the McCanns would be so dismissive of the sniffer dogs' evidence, if they genuinely wanted to find their daughter. Surely they would take an intense interest in the findings and want the police to leave no stone unturned to find out what the evidence signified? On the other hand, the timelines and the degree of planning required for a cover-up to work lend strong prima facie support for the abduction theory. Cover-ups also tend to break down over time, as distance from the event increases and conscience starts to bite. This has not happened (yet).

Eventually the truth will come out about what happened in this tragic and mysterious case, and it is in the public interest for all the possibilities to be investigated and debated. It is not helpful in this respect that books like this, and the one by Amaral, are effectively banned in the UK.
(reviewed 4 days after purchase)
patsi reviewed on Dec. 7, 2013
(no rating)
The grammatical errors are a bit disturbing. I've edited PhD theses, and am unfazed by grammatical errors, but these are of the kind (such as concord errors) that are made by non-English speakers, or by uneducated English speakers. I expect academics to write ungrammatically in their efforts to sound learned: they use big words without making sure of the meaning or how to use it properly. However, concord errors are somewhat unusual, unless Mz Brown is not a native English speaker.
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Melanie Pearce reviewed on Aug. 14, 2012
(no rating)
I really enjoyed reading this report. It was very interesting and raised some interesting issues. I hope the truth comes ot one day so this poor little angel can finally rest in peace.
(reviewed 24 days after purchase)
Geoff Robbins reviewed on April 4, 2012
(no rating)
It has taken me a while to read this book, as, by the nature of it, I find the subject upsetting, as I’m sure any parent would.

I have always had concerns about this case. Something just didn’t chime between what has been claimed and the evidence gathered. I have also been concerned about the McCann’s and their lack of co-operation with the authorities in Portugal.

Pat Brown has been able to bring a scientific, and I have to say clinical, view to what is a very muddled subject. There is no hand wringing or recrimination in this book. There are, however, some very disturbing questions being asked and they are pointed very clearly at the McCanns and the Tapas group.

The question that is ultimately asked, and one that has been in my mind since the off, is why are the McCanns refusing to answer them? If my child had been kidnapped I would do anything, absolutely anything to get her back. Yet the McCanns continue to refuse to co-operate. Why?

The book is well written, although the fact that the author has centred all the text is annoying. There are very few typographical errors. The content is well described but there are no gruesome explanations, so it is in no way prurient.

The fact that the McCanns have had this book banned on Amazon, and the detective’s book forced off the bookshelves says more about the McCanns than anything. There is nothing in this book that they should be afraid of, unless there is a reason why they are afraid of it.

Although this book has been withdrawn by Amazon at the insistence of the McCanns legal representatives, this book is still available from Smashwords.
(reviewed 9 months after purchase)
Ivan Kepitch reviewed on April 3, 2012

I've been following this case from the beginning, and this book contains some insights of things I hadn't considered or didn't notice. She's a sharp cookie.
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
Cecilia Zirkelbach reviewed on Feb. 24, 2012

Highly recommend. Good read! I don't know why any one would want such a mess in their lives. I do hope they find Madeleine! Very thought provoking after the facts are outlined in the book. Who's telling the truth?
(reviewed 23 days after purchase)
Christine M reviewed on Jan. 29, 2012

Recommended to anyone fascinated by this case!
(reviewed the day of purchase)
Isabella Burke reviewed on Dec. 7, 2011

Awesome, factual, the truth!!!
(reviewed 22 days after purchase)
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