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McCanns: We feel the hunt for Maddie is over

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NEWS NOVEMBER 2010

Original Source: SUN: WEDNESDAY 03 NOVEMBER 2010
By ANTONELLA LAZZERI Published: Today
 

KATE and Gerry McCann fear the three-year hunt for missing daughter Maddie is about to end.

They revealed the Find Madeleine Fund has dwindled from 2million at its peak to 300,000.

Sign search petition

By CAROLINE GRANT
GERRY McCann yesterday called on Sun readers to sign an online petition calling on the Government to do more in the search for Maddie.

The McCanns want a joint review of her case by British and Portuguese authorities.

Despite three different Home Secretaries promising a review, the couple say no pressure has been put on Portugal's government.
Child protection experts are believed to have recommended a review into the case as fundamental to finding Maddie.

But angry Gerry said yesterday: "The public think our Government and the Portuguese are still searching for her.

"But the truth is that only our private investigators are. We feel badly let down.

Madeleine is still missing, there is still an abductor out there." Kate added: "I am fed up with fluffy, worthless words.

"The evidence is spread all over the place.  "We have certain pieces, the Portuguese police have certain pieces. But without putting them together we can't do anything."

The petition can be signed at

 ipetitions.com/petition/madeleinemccann_case

 

Their worldwide search for Maddie - aged three when she disappeared on holiday in Portugal in May 2007 - will be wound up because they will no longer be able to pay specialist investigators when the money runs out. Kate, 42, said: "It will be just me and Gerry left looking for her."

 

Every spare moment has been devoted to the hunt. But Kate yesterday admitted that for the first time she fears they may never find her.

Within weeks of Maddie being snatched from a holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, money from the public poured in to boost the Find Madeleine Fund.

At its height it stood at 2million. But now there is just 300,000 left.

Desperate for help, the couple are launching an online petition asking the public to back them and demand the British and Portuguese governments do more to find Madeleine.

And they have sent out "begging letters" to sponsors, including author JK Rowling, tycoon Richard Branson, comic Jack Dee and other high-profile celebrities asking them to contribute to the fund. They hope the public will be touched by their plight and give too.

Clutching her husband's hand tightly, an emotional Kate admitted: "There is only enough money in the Find Madeleine Fund to keep the hunt going until spring 2011.

 

"When the money runs out we will not be able to pay the investigators helping us to find Madeleine. It will be just me and Gerry left looking for her.

Search

"I just can't contemplate that. We've had many scares along the way. But this is the first time we are really faced with that happening."

The Portuguese police search for Maddie, aged three when she vanished, was effectively called off after a few weeks.

Since September 2007 Kate and Gerry, both 42 from Rothley, Leics, have been organising the hunt for her themselves. Kate gave up work as a doctor to concentrate on the task.

Gerry, a heart surgeon, admits that at the current rate of expenditure the Find Madeleine Fund has just months before it is broke.

Explaining how much the search for their daughter costs Gerry said 1 pays for a multi-lingual call centre for an hour, 10 pays for 1,000 posters that are distributed across the world and 50 pays for the running costs of a Portuguese investigation team for two hours.

He said: "Without our investigation team it would be almost impossible.

 

"If the money does run out there would still be a helpline manned by volunteers, email. But it would be very, very difficult. It would essentially mean that any kind of pro-active search for Madeleine would cease."

Contemplating the situation they face, Gerry begged: "Our little girl is now seven years old, innocent, vulnerable and waiting to be found. "Please, please help us."

But even if the funds go, and there is no further help from the Portuguese and British governments, the McCanns will carry on their hunt forever.

A strained looking Gerry, shaking his head, said: "No parent would ever give up on their child. And we won't. As a parent you can't. Children who were abducted have been found years later. We believe she is out there, we just have to find her." Twisting her Find Madeleine wristband Kate agreed, saying: "No parent could stop.

 

Feared

"If no one apart from us is looking then so be it."

But Kate also quietly admits that there have been times recently when she has feared Maddie might never be found.

Kate bit her lip, and said: "There are more days now of thinking, 'Are we going to find her? How long is this going to go on for. Is this our life now? Forever?' I have to face the fact that we may never find her."

Kate says she also struggles to imagine what Maddie would look like. She said: "I do try and picture her. I still see her best friends. I look at them and think, 'Would she be that tall, that slim. Would she be able to read? To write?'"

 

Kate also revealed how she still talks to her darling daughter. She said: "I speak to her every day. I always have." But the agony and anguish remain - as does the hope.

Gerry said: "It's been an incredibly painful experience, it could tear families apart, but we are very much together - focused on finding Madeleine."

'  You can donate to the search fund at FindMadeleine.com

 

Twins are giving us the will to battle on

THE McCanns say their five-year-old twins Sean and Amelie give them the strength to face life without Maddie.

 

Gerry said: "You can have a bad day and think, 'I can't go on' and then they will say, 'Maddie is missing, we have to find her'.

"They still talk about her constantly. They chat about her coming home, how they are going to share a bedroom, open the big pile of Christmas and birthday presents we've kept for her."

He went on: "The other day we were in the car and there was condensation on the windows and they were writing their names in it.

"Sean said, 'I've written Madeleine's because she's part of our family'.

Best

"We went to their school the other day and Sean was asked how many sisters he had. I thought, 'Oh no'. But he proudly answered 'I've got two'. "The twins give us the strength and energy to carry on."

But Kate says the pain remains. She explained: "Sean and Amelie are great, they are doing really well. We make the best of it. Life is not normal.

"A friend of mine said she heard a radio interview with a man who had been through a tragedy. He described the pain like a boulder, he said it's not like the boulder gets any lighter, you get stronger.

"I think that's true. It doesn't mean the pain is any less, it doesn't mean that the whole issue is any less important. "We haven't got our daughter - our family isn't complete."

a.lazzeri@the-sun.co.uk

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