This information belongs to the Ministério Público in Portimão, Portugal.
It was released to the public on 4 August 2008 in accordance with Portuguese Law

762 to 765 Witness statement of Antonio Freitas Silva 2007.05.09


03 Processos, volume III Pages 762 to 765

Witness Statement of Antonio Freitas Silva
Date: 2007.05.09
Location: DIC Portimao
Occupation: 1st Sergeant GNR
Location: GNR-Queluz

The deponent states that:
- He comes to the process in the role of Chief of the GNR Search and Rescue Team. He coordinated all the work carried out by the two sniffer dogs in the Luz zone and the immediate areas relating to the disappearance of the English minor Madeleine McCann from the Ocean Club.

- He remembers that on the 4th of May of the current year, around 23H00, they attempted to tentatively identify and thus reconstruct the path taken by the missing minor. They gave the dogs a Turkish bath towel which was supposedly used by the child in question. This operation was realised by two different dogs.

- That after having smelt the aforementioned towel, next to the residence of the missing girl, more specifically next to block 5’s apartment 5A, the first tracker-dog headed toward the door of that apartment, soon whirled about in the direction of block 4, bypassing block 5 along a route (the corridor) that goes around that block and gives unto a path that runs between this block and the resort’s leisure area (pools, restaurants, etc). The dog went into the path on the left, heading toward the main road (Francisco Gentil Martins). Once there, he crossed the street and close to block 6’s wall, turned right, heading toward the contiguous parking area, more particularly toward a light post where he sniffed the ground. After this, he crossed the street again and headed toward the resort’s access zone, sniffing the door which was closed at that time. He again went to the parking zone, but finally lost interest in the search, i.e lost the scent.

- When carrying out this operation with the second dog, he followed the same rout, took the same direction and headed toward the light post in the parking lot mentioned above. He sniffed the area and at that point appeared to have lost the scent. The only difference was that this dog did not head toward the entrance of the restaurant or the pool area.

- None of the dogs used in this search, after having been given the towel supposedly used by the child, entered into block 5 but went immediately to the street between the apartment and the leisure area. It should be taken into account that the second sniffer dog may have been conditioned by the first sniffer dog. That is to say that in the case of doubt, the second dog may have followed the second of the first.
- Taking into account the aforementioned results, he states that it can be confirmed with a certain degree of certainty that the missing child passed by that location, on that day or on a previous day. This situation can be explained by the nature of the terrain, that is, it is a small space enclosed by walls and as such lingering scents would take longer to dissipate.

- Yesterday (08.05.2007) around 23H45, this search action was repeated but this time the dogs were sent into blocks 5 and 4 of the ‘Ocean Club’ resort. During this operation, and given the time that had passed combined with the heat, the results that were achieved are very relative given that the dog will confirm all the odours it scents, certainly alerting to those that are most active, namely due to the fact that the apartment was occupied. It is also noted that the dog’s perception in the interior may be affected by noise.

- The initial diligence carried out with first sniffer dog, after having sniffed the towel used in the previous operation, began searching and showing interest in some doors leading to other apartments. He did not show any interest or even approach other apartments. In none of these actions did the dog give the signal to his trainer, Soldado Fernandes. It is certain however, that the dog signalled next to apartments 5J, 5H, and 4G. He showed great interest in sniffing these doors and the immediate areas. Next to door 5H there were two bags of rubbish and the odour may have distracted the dog. Outside 4G was a tray of plates, cutlery and cloth napkins that had apparently been used. This apartment is where the parents of the missing child were staying (at the time). Concerning apartment 5J, the same may have been conditioned by the presence of people in the interior or he could have sniffed an odour that needed to be confirmed.

- He states that after the search inside block 5, and whilst in the exterior, the sniffer dog took the same route on 04.05.07, being the existent road of that apartment and the leisure area (pools and restaurant) and then went to the same parking area. At that point, the scent was lost. This situation may be related to the fact that the biggest concentration of odours are in that area and due to the fact that odours are better preserved near walls and away from major winds. It is certain that upon reaching the main road and turning right is where the biggest concentration of odours exist. This is where the dog lost interest.

- The second dog was taken through the same operation and also showed interest at the door of apartment 5J. This same dog jumped on his hind paws to the parapet of the veranda and raised his head as though in search of an odour. As related above, this interest could have been the result of various factors but it is certain that in this area the scent was intense. In the exterior, the sniffer dog immediately headed to the parking area next to block 6 and there apparently lost the scent.

- I would like to clarify that a search in a bad area, where a more intense odour perceived by the sniffer dog, such as in an urban area due to the large concentration of external odours, make it possible to confuse the dog. In this situation, search activity is very difficult as is the case when some time has passed since the event in question.

- Because he is asked, he states that in relation to this, it is difficult to evaluate precisely the work of the sniffer dog. It is clear that some conditions involved in this action augment the degree of uncertainty. The signalling of the dog may only signify that they are confirming an intense odour in a zone. On the other hand, given the interest of the dog(s) in some of the apartment doorways, this could signify nothing, but could also very well mean that the dog has caught the odour. The dog did not demonstrate to its owner that it had found the scent it was searching for.

- And nothing more was said. Reads, ratifies and signs.


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