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Book: Analyse des Vermisstenfalles Madeleine McCann by Daniela Prousa July 2010


Analyse des Vermisstenfalles Madeleine McCann by Daniela Prousa

Analyse des Vermisstenfalles Madeleine McCann is written by German author and psychiatrist, Daniela Prousa. It is essentially an interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) of the McCann’s given accounts regarding the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine McCann. Prousa examined in detail how the McCann’s make sense of and perceive significant events in their lives, namely the events conceived on the evening of May 3rd 2007, the night Madeleine disappeared. She obtained data from many written and visual expressions of the McCann’s, via their blog on their website, media statements and interviews and television appearances. During her study she asked curious and critical questions of their accounts, actions and emotions – verbal and non-verbal – such as “What is this person trying to achieve here?” and “Is something leaking out here that wasn’t intended?”

Through her analysis, Prousa concluded that Madeleine McCann died because of an accidental fall off the sofa, either immediately after her parents left the apartment or shortly after Gerry McCann’s check at around 9.10pm. Further, she believes that it was Kate McCann who initially found Madeleine and that Gerry came in later to support her in covering up the accidental death of their daughter.

In her book, Prousa refers to the opinions of criminal psychologist Dr. Christian Ludke. Ludke, who has regular contact with parents who have lost a child due to crime, warned early on in the McCann investigation the McCann’s behaviour was pointing towards them being involved. During interview he explained that in his experience parents in such circumstances as being posited by the McCanns “are under massive shock, were helpless, were insecure, withdrawing themselves.”  ”They have an inner struggle, blaming themselves for possibly not have looked enough after their child.” Conversely, the McCanns “live completely different, often harmonic.” Already after a few days they went jogging, as if that was a normal thing to do, they always came together.”  ”These parents took matters into their own hands instead of leaving matters in the hands of the police. They distanced themselves from their two other children by going on a European tour, that to me is very strange.” The interview with Ludke can be read here christian ludke

Prousa also cites Dr Gonçalo Amaral.  Amaral initially headed the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine McCann, he was removed from the case in September 2007. His central thesis was not dissimilar to that of Prousa’s. He too considered the idea that Madeleine died because of an accident in apartment 5a and that her parents along with several others colluded to cover-up her death. Amaral also published a book, Maddie: A Verdade da Mentira (Translates, Maddie: The truth of the Lies).  The McCann’s along with their solicitor Isobel Duarte were successful in banning this book. Maddie: A Verdade da Mentira can be read in English here AMARALS_BOOK_ENGLISH

Whilst Prousa’s book prima facia appears to make for good reading, readers should be mindful that IPA is concerned with trying to understand what things are like from the point of view of another person, to take their side, to stand as far as possible (which is never completely possible) in the shoes of the chosen individual. People often struggle to express what they are thinking and feeling, there may be any number of reasons why they do not wish to self-disclose, particularly in public. Thus, the researcher has to interpret the person’s mental and emotional state from what he/she says. No matter how objective one tries to be, subjectivity remains a problem in IPA.

That said, I will certainly be amongst the first in the queue once Prousa’s book has been translated into English. In the meantime I would welcome the thoughts and opinions of German readers.
Analyse des Vermisstenfalles Madeleine McCann can be purchased from
Amazon’s German web site.


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