As we noted on a previous post, Danny Collin’s book Vanished, the overlooked treasure we've recovered, was written in 2008; approximately a year after Madeleine disappeared and before the release of the PJ Files or Goncalo Amaral’s book.
Many events in this book bear little resemblance to the information contained in the PJ Files, which is surprising, as Collins states that “… during the book’s preparation, I informed Clarence Mitchell of its contents and conclusions and he promised to pass them on to the McCanns for comment.”
He sets the scene on a sultry night:
“A large round table held 9 revellers, all medical professionals with their partners (first inaccuracy) who were now enjoying an after-dinner quiz, organised by the Ocean Club aerobics teacher. Najova (sic) Chekaya. Waiter Jose Baptista thought it unusual that the loquacious British group should linger so long every night after dinner at the table they claimed as their own, talking and drinking local wine until after 10pm…..but tonight, finding tables would be no great problem, as only a few were taken up by the group’s fellow quiz competitors (who?)
Thursday was 3rd May and the normally busy resort was still in low season that wouldn’t end until the advent of the official early summer on 25th of May. Besides, the group paid well for the best poolside table, consuming an average of 8 to 10 bottles of wine with and after their meals each night.
Jose noticed one of the men of the group from what he gleaned from conversation at the table to be doctors, raise a finger and indicate an empty wine bottle. He smiled in reply and nodded, crossing over to the wine rack against the wall of the adjoining restaurant.
That evening, the arrivals of the British party at the bar had been erratic ….with a worried Jane Tanner arriving later with her husband, before leaving almost immediately, to check on her sick daughter once again.
Gerry went back to check on the children within half an hour of arrival …soon after Jane Tanner’s return…. It was the turn of Mark Oldfield to rise and look at his wristwatch. He said something to the Scottish couple and a woman Jose assumed was his wife, before leaving the table to walk towards the Ocean Club apartments. (how did Jose know where he was going? who was the Scottish COUPLE?) to fulfil his shared obligation of looking after the group’s children.
Of the group who had holidayed in Greece the previous year and found their child watch system to work admirably with no need of in-house babysitters, only Dr David Payne and his attractive doctor wife Fiona weren’t called to take part in the routine, having invested in a radio baby monitor. (so they were already prepared to leave their children on this holiday too. How did Jose know this? Presumably he didn’t?)…..
Jose Baptista shook his head and clicked his tongue in disapproval as Dr Oldfield left the group… it was 9.38 pm. He often saw this man and his dark-haired wife during the day, sitting next to the pool with their two young daughters in the company with the Scottish couple and their own three children. (who are named and described)
It seemed to Jose that the children were always left alone at night. He had overheard club crèche staff remark that the late diners never took advantage of the crèche or on-site offer of babysitters…. one of the men would leave the table at approximately half – hour intervals that got increasingly more erratic as the evening progressed. Meanwhile, the little ones were left alone in the apartments for up to 3 hours. (he isn’t saying left unchecked for 3 hours, but checked with lessening regularity from half – hourly, to what exactly?)
Jose Baptista thought about his own large family and the love lavished on his nephews and nieces by his sisters and brothers and their partners. (he must have shared this background with Collins)
The doctor with the difficult English accent, the one the group called Gerry (Jose must have spoken to Gerry) had taken his turn to visit the apartment earlier: 9.05 pm. If the group stayed drinking and talking to past 10 pm as was usual. (it seems Jose is familiar with the nightly routines, so bear in mind he has already made his statement to the PJ) Jose supposed Dr Gerry would follow the nightly ritual and his turn would come around again 30 minutes after Dr Oldfield returned."
Jose Baptista’s statement – Joaquim Jose Moreira Baptista- was taken on 6/5/07
His shift is from 16.00 - 24.00*
"When asked he says he clearly recalls the appearance of the girl’s parents, he does not know their names, together with a group of English tourists who generally accompanied them, as for almost a week prior to the disappearance they would dine practically every day in the Tapas restaurant. On the occasions he saw the group dining at the restaurant, he never saw the children. He does not remember ever having seen Madeleine’s face, which only happened when he saw her photograph after the disappearance.
During the dinner the men from the group would leave the table, returning a few minutes later. The witness says that he does not know where they went. These absences would last for about 15 minutes. He cannot say with what regularity these absences occurred…. Remembers these occurrences well as would often have to take a plate of food back…when he would find that the guest was not at the table when he came to serve the food.
He was in the kitchen between 22.00 and 22.30 when he was informed by a colleague that a client had entered the restaurant shouting."
* Tapas rota – Ze- Jose
Off on Monday and Tuesday. Wednesday Thursday, Sunday- 16h/24h
This means he could only have observed the group on Wednesday and Thursday .
And what about Quiz Night and the aerobics teacher? Not a mention!
Goncalo Amaral’s book
“We don’t know what clothes the McCann couple were wearing on the evening of May 3rd. At the start of the investigation we had requested all the photos and videos from that day and from the other days, but all we received were daytime photos; it was as if in the evenings and during the now famous “Tapas” , no photos had been taken despite the fact that some of the diners had cameras with them. The lack of night time photos was something we had never understood. Within the rogatory letter, we ask the English authorities to seize photos and videos taken throughout the holiday at the Ocean Club.”