In the latest twist in the case of four-year old Madeline’s disappearance, the McGann’s have appointed a new investigation team to lead the search for their daughter.
“We had doubts from the start about the effectiveness of the Portugese police force” said Gerry McGann, 39, “so we employed a firm of private detectives to work on the case.”
However, Gerry and his wife Kate had become increasingly frustrated with the private eye’s lack of progress.
“Leads were not being followed up fully and quickly, so we have appointed a new team to lead the case.”
On Tuesday, the McGanns announced that the British public had been called in to act as lead detective on the case. “No-one has more knowledge about the complex DNA issues, or the procedural necessities of running a large search and rescue operation” said Kate McGann. “We feel that with the British public in charge, ably assisted by the British news media, we are one step closer to bringing Madeline home.
In all seriousness, I wonder if a form of open source detective work is possible. No, not each member of the public scouring a designated portion of the Algarve looking for Madeline… But given the many cases of missing persons, and the huge amount of ground to cover in any search, on the surface it looks like a classic opportunity for a more collective endeavour. In the age of digital communications – and importantly, digital photography – I wonder if a constructive and co-ordinated effort is possible, and what form it would take?
Elsewhere, in the hunt for missing aviator Steve Fosset, an open source search and rescue team have been (virtually) deployed. Internet users are scouring pictures from Google Earth to determine where Fosset’s aeroplane may have crashed.