3 May, 2007:
Three-year-old Madeleine McCann goes missing from her family's apartment
in Praia da Luz.
5 May: As the search for Madeleine
continues, her parents issue a statement to say they "cannot describe
the anguish and despair" they are feeling at their daughter's
Mr and Mrs McCann make a fresh appeal
for help on their daughter's fourth birthday.
15 May: British-born Robert Murat is made an
official suspect - or "arguido" - following a search of his mother's
villa. Casa Liliana is 150 yards from the apartment where Madeleine went
26 May: A description of a man seen on the
night Madeleine went missing "carrying a child or an object that could
have been taken as a child" is issued by police.
30 May: The McCanns meet the Pope at a
general audience in Rome at the start of a "European tour" to raise
awareness of Madeleine's disappearance.
A German reporter asks the McCanns how
they feel about the fact that "more and more people seem to be pointing
the finger" at them, during a press conference in Berlin.
12 June: Mr and Mrs McCann arrive back in
Portugal following their European tour.
Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa admits
vital forensic clues may have been destroyed in the hours after
Madeleine's disappearance, as the scene was not protected properly.
Formal suspect Robert Murat
Late July: British sniffer dogs fly out to
Portugal. Keela, who can detect minute quantities of blood, and Eddie,
who is trained to detect dead bodies, work in the apartment and several
cars, including the hire car the McCanns rented 25 days after Madeleine
6 August: Police fail to find any new evidence
after a search at the home of Mr Murat following a two-day search, the
Forensic tests are carried out in a
Birmingham lab on suspected traces of blood found by sniffer dogs in
11 August: Police in Portugal acknowledge for
the first time that, in light of new evidence, Madeleine may be dead.
Chief Inspector Sousa adds that Mr and Mrs McCann are not being
considered as suspects following newspaper speculation that they are
say they still have doubts over how Madeleine disappeared and whether
she will ever be found.
31 August: The McCanns launch a libel action
against Portuguese newspaper Tal & Qual which claimed "police believe"
they killed their daughter. The McCanns say they are "deeply hurt" by
Kate McCann was questioned by Portuguese police as a suspect
in September 2007
Portuguese police interview Kate McCann for 11 hours as a witness in the
presence of her lawyer. Separately, Portuguese detectives confirm they
have the partial results of forensic tests by a UK laboratory.
Madeleine's mother is declared an official suspect and fears she could
be charged, friends say. Gerry McCann is also named as a formal suspect
following more questioning. Later, a family representative says officers
believe they have found traces of Madeleine's blood in the McCanns' car,
hired 25 days after she vanished.
Kate and Gerry McCann return home to Rothley, Leicestershire.
Police papers detailing the inquiry into Madeleine's disappearance are
passed to Algarve-based prosecutor, Jose Cunha de Magalhaes e Meneses.
In Leicestershire, police and social services meet to discuss the case.
In his internet blog, Gerry McCann says he and his wife Kate face an
Portuguese police play down reports that DNA evidence
with a 100% match to Madeleine was found in her parents' hire car.
A statement is made outside the prosecutor's office in
Portimao, saying he had received the files detailing the inquiry into
Madeleine's disappearance and decided they should go before an
The judge has 10 days to make a decision on the files'
Portuguese prosecutors rule there is "no new evidence" in police files
to justify re-questioning Gerry and Kate McCann.
9 October: A new police chief is appointed to
take over the Portuguese inquiry.
Paulo Rebelo, deputy national director of Portuguese
police, replaces Goncalo Amaral, who was removed apparently for
criticising UK police. New police chief for McCann case
The fighting fund set up to find Madeleine was used to pay the McCanns'
mortgage, it is disclosed.
Gerry McCann returns to work, as a consultant cardiologist, two days
before the six-month anniversary of his daughter's disappearance.
A photograph taken by a Spanish tourist in Morocco is examined by
experts, amid suggestions a girl in the picture could be Madeleine.
Reporters later claim that the girl is in fact a Moroccan five-year-old.
Jane Tanner, one of the "tapas seven", tells the BBC's Panorama
programme she saw a man carrying a child 45 minutes before Madeleine was
Gerry McCann, in a personal video, speaks of his belief that his family
was watched by "a predator" in the days before his daughter's
Kate and Gerry McCann send a Christmas message to Madeleine in a video
appeal for information.
20 January, 2008:
The parents of Madeleine McCann release sketches of a man they believe
may have abducted their daughter.
The drawings are based on a description by a British
holidaymaker of a "creepy man" seen at the resort.
19 March: The Express Newspaper group pays the
Find Madeleine campaign ?550,000 and publishes apologises to the McCanns
for suggesting they were responsible for her death.
7 April: Portuguese police fly to the UK to
sit in on interviews conducted by Leicestershire Police of the so-called
8 April: Kate and Gerry McCann are asked by
Portuguese police to take part in a reconstruction of the night their
10 April: Kate and Gerry McCann address the
European Parliament in Brussels, calling for an EU-wide alert system for
It is revealed Robert Murat, who along
with the McCanns was also an official suspect in the case, is to sue
some British-based newspapers over allegedly libellous stories.
14 April: Portuguese police deny leaking
details of statements given by the McCanns early in the investigation.
Spanish television broadcasts quotes, including some made
by Mrs McCann, supposedly telling officers that Madeleine had been upset
the night before she disappeared that her mother had not come to her
when she cried.
In the run-up to the first anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance the
McCanns give a series of television and radio interviews and speak of
their year of "purgatory".
2 May: The parents of Madeleine McCann urge
anyone who spoke to police about her disappearance to contact them.
3 May: Kate McCann asks churchgoers to pray
for her daughter on the first anniversary of her disappearance.
7 May: The Portuguese police chief
criticised for his handling of the Madeleine McCann case has resigned,
says the Ministry of Justice.
14 May: A judge overseeing the Madeleine
McCann investigation extends judicial secrecy in the case.
27 May: A reconstruction of the night
Madeleine McCann disappeared will not go ahead after the "tapas seven"
declined to take part.
23 June: Madeleine McCann's parents take to
the High Court an attempt to get police files on their daughter
Portugal's attorney general Fernando
Pinto Monteiro says no decision has been taken on the Madeleine McCann
investigation, after local media report that police will close it owing
to lack of evidence.
But Portuguese police have submitted their final report
on the case, which the attorney general says "will be the object of
careful analysis and consideration".
7 July: Leicestershire police agree to
release files on the case to Mr and Mrs McCann, who had earlier dropped
a High Court bid to force the release of evidence.
15 July: British expat Robert Murat accepts a
?600,000 damages settlement over allegations in 11 UK newspapers that he
was involved in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann.
21 July: Portugal's attorney general Fernando
Jose Pinto Monteiro announces that the police investigation into her
disappearance will be shelved. All three suspects have their "arguido"