Race, Social Classand Crime: Madeline McCan and Elizabeth Ogungbayibi

Madeline McCan


Facts of the case:

  • Went missing: 3rd May 2007, aged 3 in Portugal while on holiday.
  • Madeline and her brother and sister were given a dose of Calpol by their parents, Kate and Gerry McCan, before they left them on their own for the night
  • Kate and Gerry went to a Tapas bar around the corner from their holiday apartment. They sent a friend to check on the children who came back, agreeing the kids were okay.
  • Kate and Gerry got back around 21:45 but didn’t realise madeline had vanished until 22:00.
  • When called, detectives told Kate and Gerry to not alert media, however, they didn’t.
  • Madeline’s disappearance was front page headlines for weeks.
  • Millions of pounds has been spent on the investigation of Madeline McCan.
  • British detectives allegedly asked for the parents not to be investigated and protected them from criticism.
  • Many know who she is and the case.

Elizabeth Ogungbayibi



Facts of the case:

  • went missing: 26th September 2006 (a few months before Madeline), aged 5 in the North West.
  • It is believed her father took her when she was staying with him in Bradford.
  • No national appeal for her safe return.
  • Police ‘know’ who took her, still isn’t found.
  • Not many people know who she is or the details surrounding her disappearance.

These two girls went missing months between them and yet the investigations into their disappearance are quite different.

  1. Pictures – take a look how the picture released to help find Madeline is a clear, bright picture showing all her face. Furthermore, there have been numerous pictures released to the media to help find her. However, the only picture of Elizabeth released is this blurry, blown up mug shot.
  2. Finance – Madeline’s middle class parents set up a fund which isn’t actually a registered charity, to help fund the investigation for Madeline. Kate published a book about looking for her daughter and they are constantly in the spotlight. Millions of pounds has been spent on looking for Madeline and yet nothing has been concluded. There has been no appeals or funds set up for Elizabeth and little money has been spent on the investigation. Even when the police have a good idea of who her kidnapper was, no one knows where this young girl is.
  3. Class – Madeline comes from a middle-class, white back ground whereas Elizabeth is from a working class, black background.
  4. Parents – Kate and Gerry McCan have been held as suspects in many occasions although one detective in Portugal said that British police demanded that Kate and Gerry were not to be investigated, even with a lot of evidence that suggests they could be connected to the murder of their daughter. On the other hand, Elizabeth’s father has straight up been suspected of her disappearance and he will almost certainly receive the blame if found.
  5. Geography – Madeline went missing in a tourist area of Portugal but comes from Leicestershire, not far from Manchester where Elizabeth comes from.

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