Placing Madeleine's parents under investigation - Kate Healy and Gerald McCann as arguidos - must have marked a turning point in relations between the police in charge of the investigation and the couple. The Portuguese police officers began to consider the McCanns as potential suspects, which their British counterparts did not. At that time, the two police forces seemed to agree about exploring the hypothesis of the child's death inside the apartment. But the English police - without any really practical justification - suddenly stepped back and gave up on following that track. We have always found it strange the way the couple were treated, even after they were placed under investigation, and we have often wondered how the McCanns could have had access to information that had not been made public.
Sofia is listening to our conversation. She knows the importance of the work carried out by Tavares de Almeida. It was he who kept the crisis unit operational throughout the investigation, until the departure of the last English police officer, when the McCann family returned to England. As if, from then on, it was no longer necessary to continue the investigations where the disappearance took place.
It was he who, nearly every day, opened the local office at 6 o'clock in the morning, not to leave it until after midnight. All the information passed through there: there we centralised all the data we received, emails, telephone calls, communications from the police officers working on the case. That room was the real nerve centre of the investigation. The bits of information were analysed there in order to distinguish those that were of real interest from the many others - reports or witness statements - raising pure speculation. A great deal of sorting out had to be done, notably concerning the eye-witnesses, who multiplied as the media coverage took on enormous proportions.
The English investigators occupied the adjoining room: between the two areas, information circulated in an uninterrupted flow. The British investigators participated in our meetings, taking notes in their record book, Major Incident Enquiry Officer's Rough Book.