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Open Thread: A photo of Madeleine McCann?

Madeleine McCann disappeared in May of this year. Since the 4-year-old vanished the mystery of what may have happened has consumed people all over the “Western” world. CrimeBlog.US has always had a good number of visitors from outside the United States, but hits from readers in places like Portugal, Spain, and the U.K. have risen exponentially. (Though the second highest number of visitors have usually come from the United Kingdom.)

Recently, Portuguese authorities made it clear that they were targeting Madeleine’s physician parents, Kate and Gerry McCann.

Yet like so many supposed developments in this case, this one has seemed to lose its spark since it was first announced.

If a full-blown blog entry here was devoted to each turn and twist in the McCann mystery, this would just be a blog about Madeleine McCann, and it is not. (When I say “blog,” I do NOT mean a single post, I mean the entire body of the weblog. A “blog” is not a single entry, it is the whole shebang. Again, this is an area where people get confused. You are reading a blog post. It is part of a weblog. Any questions? Ask me later.)

However, open thread discussions do provide a forum for intelligent, thoughtful people to talk about new developments, to debate, and update one another. Open threads also come close to letting commentators do what they sometimes think they are doing — blog about this case. If you are unfamiliar with my pet peeve about commentators who write as if they are blogging (“I’ve never blogged before, but…”), just go here.

Most current developments in the search for Madeleine:

* Is Madeleine McCann in Morocco? It seems like a bizarre question, a non-sequitur. Yet I must admit that this photo gave me pause. That’s saying something, because I usually am a skeptic about new developments in this particular mystery. At the same time, I must admit — the picture of a little girl who may look like Madeleine smells a lot like many other past (non) developments in the case. It’s vague, suggestive, anything but concrete.

* How reliable is the lead detective in the case? Joana Cipriano, age 9, vanished from the Algarve in Portugal in 2004. The circumstances seemed to resemble those surrounding the McCann disappearance. Her 36-year-old mother Leonor was eventually convicted of Joana’s murder. Now Leonor is apparently saying that Gonçalo Amaral, one of the main investigators in the McCann disappearance, sat idly by as police literally beat her into confessing to her daughter’s murder.

There’s always plenty to talk about where the McCann disappearance is concerned. So, talk amongst yourselves. Please keep it civil and on-topic.