Guilt is the least of what they should feel

Guilt is the least of what they should feel

This story leaves me speechless: A British couple say they will feel guilt forever after their little girl disappeared.

LISBON, Portugal - The parents of a 4-year-old British girl who vanished during a vacation in Portugal three weeks ago said Friday that the guilt they feel over leaving her alone in a hotel room will haunt them forever.


Madeleine disappeared May 3 after her parents left her and her brother and sister, 2-year-old twins, alone in their room while they went to a restaurant inside their hotel complex in Portugal’s Algarve region.

“I think it’s fair to say that the guilt that we feel, having not been there at that moment, irrespective of whether we had been in the other bedroom or not, will never leave us,” said Gerry McCann.

“Certainly the first few days the guilt was very difficult,” added his wife.

I will grant that I don’t know the whole story. And I will pledge to pray for the poor little girl and her family. But …

… They left a 4-year-old and two 2-year-olds alone in a hotel room? While they went out to dinner? I won’t leave the house to take the trash outside if Bella is in her room and Melanie’s not home.

They’re in a foreign country and they leave their children alone in the room. What happens if someone knocks on the door?

I know they were probably on vacation and wanted some alone time, but … they left them alone?! Bring your teenage niece with you as a babysitter or something. Hire a reliable local to sit.

I should think that the guilt would be very difficult the first few days. I should hope it doesn’t get any less very soon after that.

Technorati Tags: | | | |

  • There are many interesting slants on this story Dom… Like barely a media outlet in UK even daring to mention the obvious fact of the abandonment of the children.A prominent and well known opinion maker with a regular column in one of the ‘heavy’ papers did point this fact out. He is still receiving hate mail two weeks after his column published. You go figure. It couldn’t possibly be because the McCanns are a ‘perfect couple’- he a renowned heart surgeon, she a well liked General Practitioner?

    According to Vacation company, they were offered a baby sitting package as part of the vacation but they refused the service; cost all of the equivalent of £5 a night.That’s the frugal middle classes for you.

    I could give you a dozen stories over the past year alone where ‘feckless’, single-parent, blue collar moms’ from social housing hell hole estates have done exactly the same (and the children were not even harmed) and were totally crucified in the media as a result.

    And how about this for a contrast – two days after ‘Maddy’(blonde, blue-eyed)  disappeared, a three year old black girl went missing in west London – still missing. Yet barely a mention in the UK media. But, hey, she is black, her mom is black and single, they live on a grotty council estate, who cares?

    Then of course we have the usual ‘outpouring’ of sentimental slush masquerading as ‘love and compassion’; teddy bears and yellow ribbons being tied to trees for ‘Our Maddy’.

  • Thank you, Clive. I’ve actually followed this closely in the British papers (not hard to do) and really thought I must be missing something others knew. I surmised from the silence about the obvious fact that three toddlers were left alone (even sleeping) that, well, perhaps it was an outside table a few feet from the door of their room or some mitigating factor. Yes, there has been a total pass on this detail in every story.

    Poor dear child in west London. Yes, we are a faerie tale crowd and like our heroes made to order. (Recall, even pictures of Jesus were of an Aryan cast in many children’s Bibles…)

  • gsk; we have had endless maps, diagrams, computer graphics of the scene in our media: no, dear reader the Taverna was at least 200 metres from the apartment, around at least two corners, with no direct line of sight….

    The ‘story’ is that the McCanns were with other parents, having night out and that the adults were taking turns (“every half hour”) to go and check on the kids. Hrrrm!

    1. Is that an adequate oversight anyway?

    2. “they said” it was every half hour but I suspect this is an afterthought story; “what do we say when the Police come?” Human nature being what it is, etc. The wine was flowing, the food was good, the company congenial, the conversation scintillating….At best, they forgot.

    I return to my original point: why is there this unwritten “hands off” and “no criticism” of this family? What they did (or failed to do) is absolutely unbelievably irresponsible. Where was their brain? Where was their sense of parenthood? As I say, if this family were one of the great horde of the so called ‘underclass’, the parents getting drunk at a club somewhere, the mother scantily clad on the dance floor, there would be all kinds of hateful calumny being aired in the media. What gives with the McCanns? Why are they different?

  • Anybody who leaves a child that young alone is an idiot. When I was four I once climbed to the top of a kitchen shelf to get cookies. We had ten foot high ceilings and if I had fallen I would’ve been killed for sure.  This only took a few minutes while my mother was speaking to the mail man.

    My other thought is that the police should take a good look at this couple. After Susan Smith and Diane Downs I look at the mother and father first.

  • Dymphna, “you may think that, I couldn’t possibly say”.  As I say, many peculiar strands to this rather sad but strange story. Over here in UK we have had several ‘missing children’ episodes where the mom or the dad has eventually been arrested, charged and convicted. I can’t help wondering that if this child had gone missing in her home town how many hours or days it would have been before the McCann parents were “helping Police with their Inquiries”.

    I am not saying here that I suspect Mr or Mrs McCann, heaven forfend. But I do wonder; this story is your worse nightmare, the Stephen King novel for real. And, actually, how many times does a child get snatched from their own bed, by a stranger, in the middle of the night, and ‘disappeared’? With my professional child protection social worker hat on, I can assure you that, sadly, better than 90% of children are harmed, abused, murdered by those closest to them. Dad’s, step-dads (commonly), moms, uncles, cousins, siblings, half-siblings.

    Although the tragic story of Madeline McCann will heighten the anxiety of parents around so called ‘stranger danger’ (and lead sometimes to the harming of those ‘strange’ or ‘eccentric’ lonely individuals in our communities)it wil not significantly improve matters in this field.

  • Here in England, it’s been headline news ever since the child disappeared, and every shop window has a home-printed poster with a picture of Maddy and instructions to tell the police if we see her – though how we’re supposed to see her in England when every port and airport in Portugal has been watched with hawk-like attention since the abduction, I’m unsure.

    What nags at me (I keep trying to push the thought away) is that the McCanns are invariably described in the press as ‘devout Catholics’, and certainly went to Mass, and are going to Fatima to pray for Maddy’s safe recovery – Maddy and her younger twin siblings are all IVF babies.

  • Here’s a UK Article on the parents of Madeleine McCann:…_a_source=& ct=5

    This child, and her parents, need our prayers and any help we can give in finding Madeleine, who could be almost anywhere in the world at this point.

    I’m a mom, and I would never leave my children alone for a moment. BUT, I do know there are places in Europe where you feel you have travelled back in time 25 or so years, to a place and time that is safe. It is possible to be lulled into a false sense of security. They are paying for that mistake in judgement dearly, and finger-pointing does not help find this little girl. (Let’s not shoot the messenger.) This awful thing has happened; now we need to pray for Madeleine and her family, and help in whatever way we can to FIND this child.