Don't you wish there were more details available about the Smith family sighting, it appears to be the most important sighting in the case.
I believe it to be absolutely more credible than the preferred McCann sighting - Tanner's swarthy man, because a whole family spotted a man hurriedly carrying, not what they believed to be a bundle, but a female child. The family gave detailed descriptions of her hair, skin and clothing, therefore no way could his encumbrance be construed as a bundle. They knew for sure this man was carrying a little girl. Mrs Smith was even close enough to ask if she was asleep.
This sighting was so important because it incorporated multiple, corroborating and independent witnesses, yet the McCanns failed to promote it until it was covered briefly in the Channel 4 documentary. And it was covered incorrectly. In the Channel 4 documentary, the sighting was filmed in the wrong location. The sighting took place at the bottom of Rua da Escola, as seen below in Goncalo Amaral's documentary...
Yet, in the Channel 4 documentary, for some reason filming has taken place in a different location...
Strange that... and depicting an abductor carrying the child across the arms - the way Tanner 'would have' and not how Mr Smith described...
"Carrying a child, with the head against his left shoulder and the arms hanging down alongside the body"
How on earth could the McCanns, their Team and the Channel 4 crew get things so important, so wrong? Right enough, nobody cared where the Wilkins/McCann conversation took place, so none of it really matters?
There are some intriguing pieces of information resulting from this sighting. Mr Smith's daughter in her description of the carrier viewed the most mundane thing and promptly forgot about it. Something I believe we all do regularly - things which only come back to us when specifically reminded, otherwise forgotten in the depths of the mind. She spotted the button detail on the man's beige, cotton trousers. Bit like these ones??
Mr Smith had already made a statement at Portimao police station in May 2007, but on seeing Mr McCann alight from his flight in the UK in September 2007 was shocked to see a similarity between him and the man he saw on the night.
"Is saying that after seeing the McCanns on the news on 9th Sept when they returned to UK he has not slept and is worried sick. He states he was watching the 10 PM news on BBC and saw the McCanns getting off the plane and coming down the steps. He states it was like watching an action replay of the night he saw the male carrying the child back in Portugal. He states the way Gerry was carrying his twin triggered something in his head. It was exactly the same way and look of the male seen the night Maddie went missing . He also watched ITV news and Sky news and inferred it looked like the same person both times carrying the children."
Mr Smith went on to say that his wife agreed with his suspicions, and felt the same way about the similarity. I believe this is something that cannot be taken lightly - it has been discussed between husband and wife and is a huge step to take in contacting the police again. After all, a man's life is on the line. According to the police, Mr Smith was worried and shaken and genuinely concerned by his realisation. He went ahead and made another statement to include his thoughts and has since been persistently contacted by various sources including Brian Kennedy, supporter of the McCanns.
"He has been contacted by numerous tabloid press looking for stories. He has been contacted by Mr Brian Kennedy who is supporting the McCann family to take part in a photo fit exercise. He has given no stories or helped in any photo fits.
I do not believe that Martin Smith is courting the press and my view his is a genuine person. He is known locally and is a very decent person."
Detective Branch, County Lough
Mrs Smith did not wish to make another statement. Could we wonder whether these thoughts and suspicions were already included in her original statement?
Mrs Smith did get close enough to the man and child to establish that she was sleeping, she got close enough to make contact with the man, who averted his eyes and ignored her.
Did she also get close enough to see the birthmark on the child's lower left leg, where her little cropped pyjama bottoms were pushed up due to her being carried? The birthmark that only the police have made public, yet doesn't warrant one single mention from the McCanns?
Did Mrs Smith make a positive identification of the child on that night?
We'll have to wait for the answers to certain questions, because Mrs Smith's statement was never released in the public files. The big question is 'why?' and could this be the missing piece?...
**With thanks to the fabulous McCannfiles for detailed information on the Smith sighting, please visit and read for yourself.