digitally-enhanced image of how Madeleine McCann
might look now, if still alive, was revealed today.
The image was shown on
the Oprah Winfrey show ahead of the US talkshow host's
interview with Madeleine's parents, Kate and Gerry
McCann, which will be broadcast on Monday.
Sunday will mark two
years since Madeleine went missing while on a family
holiday in Praia Da Luz, Portugal, and the couple are
hoping for renewed public interest and a breakthrough in
They employed a
forensic imaging artist, who used computer technology to
produce a photographic impression of how the youngster
would have aged since she went missing.
It will be used on
posters to be distributed worldwide as part of the
couple's continuing search for their daughter.
would still be five today, the image depicts the child
at six years of age as her birthday falls in less than
two weeks, and her parents did not want it to become out
of date quickly.
The expert, at the
United States National Centre for Missing and Exploited
Children, used photographs of Madeleine's parents at
around the same childhood age to produce the "age
The picture shows a
smiling Madeleine, wearing a pink headband in her fair,
The couple believe it
is the most realistic image possible of how she might
look today, said their spokesman Clarence Mitchell.
"They feel it's
important that as many people as possible see Madeleine
as she now is, rather than the child of three seen in
all of those early photographs," he said.
"This is the child
that somebody who is close to Madeleine may spot, rather
than the child in those other photos, and Kate and Gerry
are incredibly hopeful that this will lead to the phone
call that finds Madeleine and brings her home.
"That's why they
decided to release it on the Oprah Winfrey show, given
the global reach she has.
"It was difficult for
Kate to see the image at first, but over time she has
got used to it and both Kate and Gerry believe it's the
best image possible of what Madeleine may look like