The disappearance of Madeleine McCann occurred on the evening of Thursday, 3 May 2007, in Praia da Luz, a resort in the Algarve region of Portugal. Madeleine, from the UK, was on holiday there with her parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, her twin siblings, and a group of seven family friends and their five children. She went missing from her bed in the McCanns’ holiday apartment nine days before her fourth birthday.
Madeleine and her siblings had been left at 20:30 in a bedroom in the ground-floor apartment, while her parents ate with their travelling companions in the resort’s tapas restaurant 50 metres (54 yards) away. The parents or friends checked on the children throughout the evening; Madeleine’s mother discovered she was missing at 22:00. The Portuguese police at first assumed she had wandered off or had been abducted, but after misinterpreting a British DNA analysis they came to believe she had died in the apartment, which placed a cloud of suspicion over her parents. The McCanns were named as suspects (arguidos) in September 2007, but were cleared in July 2008 when Portugal’s attorney-general closed the case.