SA man claims to have found Maddie's grave

2012-07-06 08:23

Cape Town - British detectives are looking into an extraordinary claim by a South African man who believes he might have found the body of missing UK girl, Madeleine McCann.

Stephen Birch, a commercial property developer from South Africa, sent British police ground radar scans showing a burial site near the holiday apartment in Portugal where McCann vanished in 2007, Sky News reported on Friday.

Birch, a self-styled investigator, has admitted that he is “obsessed” with the mystery of McCann.

He claims to have spent £40 000 (about R500 000) on buying the scanner equipment and being trained to use it.  

"All I want to do is solve the mystery and bring closure to Madeleine's family. I am convinced she lies where I have scanned.

"I've had the scans analysed and they show digging, a void and what could be human bones," Sky News quoted him as saying.

British detectives are examining an extraordinary claim that Madeleine McCann's body is buried near the holiday apartment from where she vanished.

The little girl went missing from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz while her parents had dinner at a restaurant mere metres away.

Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, believe she is still alive and would not comment on Birch's claims.

  • eric.shinn.90 - 2012-07-06 08:31

    Gives me goosies!

      merven.halo - 2012-07-06 08:57

      Wonder if it is true, if he can maybe found the child victims of Gert van Rooyen. Still probably the most intrique cases in SA history.

      mo.matt.14 - 2012-07-06 09:34

      It is all very noble and all, but something in the obsession he says he has makes me a bit sceptic about this guy. I d hope that he is wrong though and that poor Madeleine is still alive and well. I remember the girls that Gert van Rooyen and Joey Haarhof kidnapped in SA in the 80s. Even though I was still at school, it haunted me to think what the poor parents must go through. And yet, they were never found. As for Madeleine'a parents, don't know if they are guilty or not, but I do hope that there can be some sort of breakthrough at least for some sort of closure. Even if it is just for Madeleine.

  • gieljam.gomtor - 2012-07-06 08:36

    If it his hers it will be a sad story yet an conclusion to all who hoped for a better ending .

      sarah.bouttell - 2012-07-06 08:52

      for this little one, there never was a "better ending". It was going to be, kidnapped and used by paedophiles or dead. Closure, was about as good as it got.

      Rodney - 2012-07-08 00:51

      Strange, this story never made the BBC news or any other British news that I have seen in the last few days. I am guessing the Brits think it's a load of BS.

  • leslie.rabie - 2012-07-06 08:52

    so so so sad... Dead or Alive she needs to go home - Her poor parents needs the closure.

      amanda.roos.319 - 2012-07-06 09:40

      Not only the parents, what about the Twins ? They have been hoping for 5 years to see their big sister again. God be with them ( the twins ) when they are told it is Madeleine ( which I don`t hope, but in a small way do hope so the world can noW be at rest and all pay our respect to poor Madeleine ).

  • Erna - 2012-07-06 08:54

    Well, this can go two ways for Mr Birch - he could either be a great hero or a great fool. Hopefully for the McCann family it is the former.

  • thadelphukem.completely - 2012-07-06 08:55

    I truly pray that someday they do find her alive... The sad part is that there is a huge possibility that she is in fact dead... Worse still they may never find out who actually kidnapped her but it would be wonderful for everyone to have closure on if she is still alive or not... Madeleine, you are always in my thoughts and prayers...

  • elizabeth.m.groves - 2012-07-06 09:07

    I think the parents should be locked up for negligence at the very least. That little girl should never have been left alone in the apartment in the first place and with her baby sibling to boot! I do hope, though, that this poor little girl can be found and the mystery surrounding her disappearance be cleared up. The question of why the investigators at the time didn't find the burial site (whether it is Madeleine's or not) has to be asked.

      john.lonsdale.5 - 2012-07-06 09:29

      You know sanctimonious know all's like you pee me off. Have you got or had young children, do you have a large house with a pool perhaps, have you ever put your children to bed and then gone out into the garden to entertain friends and popped in to the house to check on the kids, because I have, and I would say a good many responsible parents on this site has, if you know the story of this poor child and parents, you would know that the apartment they were staying in was a small gated apartment, they were in a ground floor apartment, the restaurant belonged to the apartments 80 meters from there apartment front door. That's like been in my front garden from the kids bedrooms. What were they supposed to do, sit in the kids bedrooms all night on guard duty. They were on holiday for gods sake, relaxing thinking that they were safe in there gated apartment block. How about think dear god those poor parents now have to go through the whole process of have to think there poor child is dead, and will have to wait for permission for the site to be excavated. I wouldnt want to be put through this, have some compassion for the poor parents.

      delish7564 - 2012-07-06 09:31

      I agree with you about the negligence in leaving them alone, worse still they had been given sleeping tablets, but the mystery still remains as to what happened. I have my own theory and I sincerely hope I'm wrong, however, this discovery needs to be investigated then at least it can be ruled out one way or another. Heartbreaking to think what Maddie might have gone through or is still going through, but then again given what happened in Austria, all is not lost until wither a body or the child is found..........fingers crossed!

      amanda.roos.319 - 2012-07-06 09:46

      I feel in a way heartsore for Kate, all the tears, the way she looks. it`s almost like she grew 80 years older over night. If it is Madeleine, at least the whole world can cry along with her parents and still give them a shoulder to cry on. If it is Madeleine, I think 1000 `s of people will attend, just like Princess Diana`s funeral. Sweetie, if it is you, be at rest now in God`s arms. The truth will eventually come out and the Perpetrators WILL pay for what they did to you. The world will make sure of that.

      stanley.marries - 2012-07-07 08:58

      I'm not believing a word thos parents are saying. They are fooling everybody with senseless reasons about what couldv'e happened to Maddie. My question is, if they are blaming the ''pedophile'' that was living nearby,then why didn't he also take the little baby? You cannot tell me that they were a few feet away from the place where they were staying and not hear or see anything. It doesn't make sense. Something is fishy here,but one day the truth will come out and I will not be supprised if they had something to do with the dissapearance of this poor child.

  • victor.windsor - 2012-07-06 09:13

    Why did they not use a phsycic like they do on the crime and investigation channel ???????

      manda.schoeman - 2012-07-06 09:18

      Because this is real life not a movie..

      scouter.fourone - 2012-07-06 11:05

      Thank you manda - well said!

      Ian - 2012-07-08 11:20

      crime scene investigation is based on real events, its not a movie channel but a documentry channel so victor has a point

  • john.lonsdale.5 - 2012-07-06 09:16

    Funny how everyone jumps straight to finding the parents guilty, what about the convicted pedophile that lived close by, that was seen close to the holiday apartment on the night she went missing, who was released for lack of evidence. I would be digging and looking for the perv again.

      delish7564 - 2012-07-06 09:48

      It's easy to play detective sitting comfortably in our armchairs. At the end of the day, the only people/person that knows what really happened are/is those involved, whoever that may be and I sincerely hope they are found and punished. The whole episode makes me sick.

      amanda.roos.319 - 2012-07-06 09:52

      I think that Pedophile moved long time ago. Not all pedophiles are closely watched in Portugal. Portugal does not have the nickname PEDOPHILES PARADISE for nothing and especially the time Madeleine went missing, That time of the year it is PEDOFILES CHRISTMAS. I`ve heared lots of stories about Portugal and believe me, if I ever have a chance of going over seas, that country is NOT on my list.

      logical007 - 2012-07-06 10:08

      @Amanda where did you gather this useless bit of information on Portugal? I lived and worked in both the north and south and never once heard of it being called 'PAEDOPHILES PARADISE.' I have travelled extensively around Europe and the UK. (working in most countries) Try travel and meet people before you make outrageous comments.

      amanda.roos.319 - 2012-07-06 10:36

      Logica, my neighbours moved from Portugal about 3 years ago. They told us everything about Portugal and how Madeleine`s story wrecked that town. They too had a shop there, they showed us photos of the front window with Madeleine`s picture on it. They knew some of the Policemen in Portugal working on the case. You will have nightmares if you hear the stories they told us. NEVER in a million years will I ever visit that country.

      marina.p.dacruz - 2012-07-06 12:06

      @amanda, well you'll be missing out, Portugal is a beautiful country and I never heard of 'Pedophiles Paradise' when I was holidaying in the Algarve last year July. And I also have family that live there and have done so for many years.

      vanessa.debeer2 - 2012-07-06 18:29

      @John.Lonsdale you have it wrong about how close the apartment was to the restaurant. I live in Portugal and know the complex well. It is a long way away, at least a 5 minute walk for them to check on their kids. There was a hedge and a swimming pool in between, they had to walk three sides of the apartment block to get to their kids. So to compare it to a big house where you are outside entertaining and your kids are inside sleeping is no comparison. Also they did the same thing for NINE nights in a row. Someone at the restaurant could have noted their behaviour and passed the information on. Sorry these parents and friends were having a jolly good time when they could have hired baby sitters, they could have put the kids back in the creche, or taken them with them to the restaurant as all restaurants are very child friendly. By the way they put their kids in the creche all morning, each and every day. So the parents are unfortunately guilty of neglect and that they have to live with that each day of their lives.

  • martin.ferguson.7311 - 2012-07-06 09:23

    you obviously not a parent or a detective Just a Beefcake

  • Michael - 2012-07-06 09:26

    Rather dead than being sold into sex slavery trade.

      Ian - 2012-07-06 09:33

      100%, so scary not knowing where your loved ones are when they dissapear, as devestating it is when a loved ones body is found, the knowledge that they are no longer in pain is so comforting yet so painful. Yes I have been down that road, closure is just a word, it dosent exist, you dont get over heartache like that so easily

      amanda.roos.319 - 2012-07-06 09:55

      I don`t think she was sold into sexslavery. This guy acted alone. He wanted her for himself and the area where her body MIGHT be is a very dark area. A field behind the flats where the Mccann`s stayed, no streetlights.

      amanda.roos.319 - 2012-07-06 10:58

      And I still think the guys that came to fix the windows and doors have something to do with this all. They should be questioned again and again. One of them will break eventually and talk.

  • Ian - 2012-07-06 09:29

    I hope this can be finally closed and the bastards who did this are finally bought to book,This is so a death penalty case, You deserve your justice little one R.I.P

  • gillian.sanderson - 2012-07-06 09:32

    OMW - interesting, intriguing story.

  • eric.martinsich - 2012-07-06 09:39

    Well, I now what for the outcome of this "lead"

  • jacky.duplessis - 2012-07-06 11:17

    such a beautiful girl ,,, makes me sad that it hasnt been solved, remember seeing pamphlets a few years ago,,,hope whoever did this to her gets killed or put away for life!! no innocent child deserves this !!makes me so mad

  • debrar.rush - 2012-07-06 12:04

    ....maybe now Kate will break her silence as Gerry has kept her quiete all along

      antin.herinck - 2012-07-07 19:07

      But she too will be found culpable -even inf she makes the deal with the authorities. So no -she won't. "Strong and smart" enough to keep silent.

  • charlenwilna.beneke - 2012-07-06 12:43

    AG SHAME i really hope its not her body

  • karen.gavin.18 - 2012-07-06 12:45

    My heart goes out to all concerned, something no parent should endure. Don't lay blame at the feet of the parents, nobody is perfect. Pray for them all rather. My love to the McCann family always.

  • christopher.columbus.3950178 - 2012-07-06 14:45

    This guy comes from cuckoo land!!

  • mary.ball.925 - 2012-07-06 15:03

    Amanda, your comments are ridiculous. 'PAEDOPHILES PARADISE' - I've got Portuguese friends and have also been to Portugal and it's stunning and I've NEVER heard anyone refer to it as the above. 'Madeleine wil be found eventually. Kate and Gerry knows where she is' - you can't fake the kind of grief those two parents have been through. 'Mr Wendell. If she is alive and she does know or remembered what happened to her through this 5 years, then she will eventually sometime blame her parents for everything. Not now, but maybe when she is an teenager or a grown woman, somewhere she will fight with them for leaving her and the twins alone. She might even not speak to them at all when she is old enough to move out of her parents house or even when she is married' - SERIOUSLY? Now you're speculating about her in the future. You watch too much Days love.

  • mvanderklashorst - 2012-07-06 15:21

    Unless the man is seriously rich, it seems like a lot of money to spend trying to find someone you don't know at all's child?

  • tshepos.setiso - 2012-07-06 17:45

    but is very painful imagine if is you

  • louise.minnie - 2012-07-06 19:14

    Surely if she was buried near by or if any body was buried near by the dogs would have found her - they did bring in dogs

  • josie.russell.10 - 2012-07-06 21:29

    I feel for the family - it is never ending for them. It would bring closure for the family.

  • judith.p.miller.7 - 2012-07-07 07:46

    I have researched this mystery in depth, even read most of the case files that are translated on the internet. Before you decide on the innocence or otherwise of the parents, do your research on a site like 'mccannfiles'. In my opinion there is a good chance that this was a faked abduction and that the parents are behind the death and that they have committed a despicable act in terms of raising funds from the public for this.

  • millionwatts1 - 2012-07-07 09:46

    Involvement of one or both parents should never be ruled out otherwise this case will never be solved. Its them who left her and the twins without supervision(a serious crime in the USA) and them who last saw her.

  • mapepaki - 2012-07-07 09:50

    Living in limbo not knowing where your child is must be a terrible anguish. In hindsight they should not have left their kiddies alone, but they have suffered so much with their decision that night. Did the parents have a lie detector tests to exonerate them?

  • Amanda - 2012-07-07 16:28

    Interestingly enough it has been reported that the grave in question lies on a property (private) belonging to the mother of a woman who was a friend of the McCanns. The woman was questioned at the time of the disappearance and later cleared. Apparantly Steven Birch gained access illegally to the property. I only hope that the U.K. Police and the Prai da Luz Police get to the site quickly. There have been too many unanswered questions over the years following the disappearance of Madeleine.

  • Amanda - 2012-07-07 16:37

    Hello J. Miller and Sandra too. Nice to see you girls are still on this case after all these years.

  • susan.fraser.182 - 2012-07-07 18:18

    There is a lot more to this story than what is known. All will be revealed in time....but only when Maddie is ready!!

      delish7564 - 2012-07-07 18:37

      Do you know something the rest of us don't? Just asking!

  • antin.herinck - 2012-07-07 19:15

    So he spent half a million bucks, and now he has no money left for a pick and a spade?

  • carole.yeadon - 2012-07-07 20:29

    So sad if true. I am sure we were all hoping she is still alive. But if true, hopefully the parents will get closure.

  • Erna - 2012-07-07 22:45

    Suddenly every one is an expert on Maddie's disappearance. It hasn't even been proven that there is a body, nevermind that its Maddie's body.

  • - 2012-07-08 11:27

    Close to the apartment digging did take place, Under correction and if I remember correctly the digging was not related to Maddie but a municipal issue. The scanning should have picked that up too.

  • pat.taylor.3192 - 2012-07-10 12:18

    I heard there is someone claiming they saw Maddie,took photos and numberplate of car ,at the time, who has never been listened to by police !

  • sheila.a.mathews - 2012-12-21 02:56

    Ive been following this case since day one,and I pray they find her and all the poor innocent children who have been taken by human monsters.

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