Madeleine McCann: Image ‘fixed indelibly’ in Gerry's memory from hour before disappearance

Maddie disappeared on the evening of May 3, 2007, from Apartment 5A of the Ocean Club resort in Praia da Luz at some point between Gerry’s final check at 9:05pm and Kate raising the alarm at 10pm. The 13-year case was reignited in June after an appeal for information was made by British, Portuguese and German police regarding a new prime suspect who was seen driving a campervan in the area of Praia da Luz around the time of the disappearance and received a 30-minute call about an hour before Maddie vanished. It led to authorities in Germany adding a heartbreaking twist to the investigation, announcing that Maddie is “assumed to be dead” as they opened a murder investigation into the 43-year-old identified as Christian B.

Last week, police relentlessly searched an allotment of a secluded holiday chalet in Seelze, outside Hanover, using ground-penetrating radar, sniffer dogs and a drone.

Kate and Gerry were dining out at a tapas restaurant just metres from their holiday apartment with their seven friends when Maddie disappeared.

In her book, ‘Madeleine: Our Daughter’s Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her,’ she revealed the details of Gerry’s final check on his daughter.

She wrote: “After ordering his food, Gerry left for the first check just before 9:05pm by his watch.

“He entered the apartment via the patio doors and noticed almost immediately that the children’s bedroom door was further ajar than it had been.

“He glanced into our room to make sure Madeleine hadn’t wandered in there, as she was prone to do if ever she woke in the small hours.

“Seeing no little body curled up in our bed, he went over to look in on the children.”

The book goes on to detail the heartbreaking account of Gerry’s final memory of seeing his daughter.

It adds: “Madeleine was lying there on her left-hand side, her legs under the covers, in exactly the same position as we’d left her.

READ MORE: Madeleine McCann: Kate’s ‘horror’ discovery while combing through police files

The mystery call was received on a mobile phone that is believed to belong to the suspect at 7.32pm and finished at 8.02pm.

Recent reports in the Portuguese newspaper ‘Correio de Manha’ indicated that the new prime suspect may have been tipped off by a hotel employee about British tourists leaving valuables in their apartments while going out for long dinners.

Authorities linked the suspect to an early Eighties VW T3 Westfalia campervan and Scotland Yard said he was driving the vehicle in the Praia da Luz area in the days before Maddie’s disappearance.

The suspect has also been linked to a 1993 Jaguar XJR6 with a German number plate seen in Praia da Luz and surrounding areas in 2006 and 2007, which was changed to someone else’s name the day after Maddie vanished.

But, relations between officials investigating the case have become strained as Scotland Yard continues to treat their investigation as a “missing persons” case and state that German authorities have not revealed evidence that Maddie is dead.

‘Madeleine: Our daughter’s disappearance and the continuing search for her’ was published by Transworld Publishers Ltd in 2011 and is available here.

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