Netflix documentary series The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann takes a critical look at the 2007 missing child case that disturbed the world and turned many observers into armchair detectives. Yet while Netflix has made a name for itself in the true crime space, not everyone is happy with this particular production — least, perhaps, McCann’s parents.
On May 3, 2007, three-year-old Madeleine McCann vanished from her hotel room in Portugal’s Praia da Luz. She has not been seen since. Her disappearance garnered massive media attention. Theories on what could have happened to McCann include a kidnapping by a stranger to an accidental death on resort property. Many people also pointed to Kate and Gerry, McCann’s parents, as possible suspects in her disappearance — or, at the very least, irresponsible parents who allowed an alleged crime to occur by their negligence. The parents have never been charged with any crime and maintain their innocence.
Kate and Gerry McCann do not appear in the new Netflix series, though they were asked to participate. In a statement on their website FindMadeleine.com, Kate and Gerry explained that they believed this documentary could only hurt their chances of finding their daughter.
"We are aware that Netflix are planning to screen a documentary in March 2019 about Madeleine’s disappearance. The production company told us that they were making the documentary and asked us to participate,” said the parents. “We did not see and still do not see how this programme will help the search for Madeleine and, particularly given there is an active police investigation, could potentially hinder it. Consequently, our views and preferences are not reflected in the programme. We will not be making any further statements or giving interviews regarding this programme."
The couple's spokesperson, Clarence Mitchell, also stated another reason for McCann family not supporting the Netflix doc:
"What I’m seeing here is not a documentary, not something factual, but a piece of entertainment," Mitchell said in an interview with ITV's This Morning.
No official conclusions have been drawn in McCann's disappearance, but the Netflix series shares the theory that McCann may have been kidnapped by human traffickers.
"[Kate and Gerry] have always believed that in the absence of any definitive evidence to suggest that the worst has happened, that she could still be alive and that's what keeps them going to this day," Mitchell said on the talk show.
The Disappearance of Madeleine McCann is available on Netflix now