Don't Think That Madeleine Has Died', says Kate McCann, mother of the
small girl who disappeared four years ago in Portugal, in an exclusive
conversation with Marie Claire.
She does not lose the hope of finding her daughter and give details from
the case in the book that will be launched at the Rio de Janeiro Book
Fair, from Friday onwards.
By Livia Deodato
Her speech is halting and her voice seems to be constantly choked by
tears ready to break. It is difficult to estimate the pain and sadness
felt by Kate McCann, four years after the disappearance of her daughter
Madeleine. Now aged 43, the British woman does not cease in the search
for her first born. She abandoned medicine and, since 3rd May 2007, has
dedicated herself exclusively to gather information sent by persons from
all over the world who claim to have found the girl ? if she were alive,
she would be eight years old (on http://www.findmadeleine.com site there
is an age progressed image of her current appearance).
The police officially archived the case in July 2008. But Kate and her
family have not. The book entitled ?Madeleine? was launched in the UK
and in Portugal in May and now arrives in Brazil (Editora Prumo, 440
pages, R$ 49,90). Based upon the diary written by Kate during the years
and during the police investigation, the book raises the hypothesis of a
kidnapping by a paedophile network, criticises the investigation led by
the Portuguese police (and the lack of action on the part of the
British) and tells of the crisis brought to the relationship between
Kate and Gerry, Madeleine's father. The younger children, the twins Sean
and Amelie, now aged six and a half, continue to ask about their older
sister and explain to their young friends that ?Mummy used to be a
doctor, but now she is searching for Madeleine?.
?There is still hope. We live in a kind of limbo since she disappeared,
but we cannot give up?, said Kate in the exclusive interview she granted
to Marie Claire.
Marie Claire ? How do you feel today? And how are Gerry and the twins?
Kate McCann ? Very well, considering everything we have been through. We
are much stronger. Now, we try to find a balance. Gerry works full time
and my work has been to continue to search for Madeleine. Now we also
have the chance to do normal things, family things, like taking Sean and
Amelie to school.
MC ? Do the twins often ask about Madeleine?
KM ? Not every day, but often. Her disappearance is also part of their
lives. They understand what happened and what we are trying to do. Their
understanding is very simple: ?Madeleine is missing and we have to find
her?. We always talk about her rescue, about what we will do when she
returns home, about hope.
MC ? The hope of finding Madeleine has become your reason for living.
What would your reaction be if you discovered that she is dead?
KM ? Unfortunately, I consider all possibilities. During the last few
days I have only managed to think the worst. But we still have hope, in
any case. I read about many other cases, of families who managed to get
their children back decades after their disappearance. We cannot give
up. It is hard not knowing anything about her whereabouts ? we are
living in a kind of limbo since she disappeared. It is so difficult to
shake off the dust and find direction. We have to continue to search.
MC ? You no longer work? Do you dedicate all your time to the search for
KM ? I no longer work as a doctor. The last four years have probably
been the years during which I have been the busiest in my ?professional?
life. I have spent a lot of time reading the police files, writing my
book and also launching search campaigns for Madeleine. Even opening
Gmail takes a lot of time. Sean and Amelie understand and always tell
their young friends: ?Mummy used to be a doctor, but now she is
searching for Madeleine?. Until we find her, there is still a lot of
work to be done.
MC ? Do you still have police support in the search for her?
KM ? The official police work was stopped in July 2008. We continue with
a private investigation and we have had incredible help from people, who
gave up their holidays, continuing to search for her, they take
photographs of girls they think could be Madeleine and they send them to
MC ? Did the most recent news, that Madeleine could have been found in
India, bring you any greater hope?
KM ? We receive dozens of pieces of news daily about the supposed
whereabouts of Madeleine. In this case, the difference was that this
information arrived at the media, which followed it and led to its
repercussion. However, that she was supposedly found in India gives me
more strength: that even at such a distance, I can count on the help of
persons who continue to search for her.
MC ? Is there any reason for you to smile today?
KM ? For a long time, I did not allow myself to enjoy life and felt
guilty if I did so. But the thing is that if I had not taken time, I
would never have anywhere to get strength from in order to continue
searching. I have two other children and now I am stronger. I feel more
capable of facing life ? and I do this for Madeleine.
MC ? Do you manage to feel the presence of Madeleine?
KM ? I don?t believe that she died. Any mother would feel this. I feel
close to her. Madeleine is part of our family. We do not feel that this
is the end.
MC ? How do you deal with the memories Leith by Madeleine? Can you look
at photos and videos?
KM ? They are very good memories. When I begin to think of them, I
sometimes feel sadness, at other times they leave me happy and comfort
me, they bring me tranquillity. She is in our life. There are photos of
her all over our house. Amelie always refers to her as ?my big sister?.
MC ? At a certain moment, you were accused of being suspects. How did
you cope with that?
KM - (choked voice). I found it incredible. When you imagine that
nothing worse Could happen?The search for Madeleine became my greatest
obsession. And many people do not understand this. It is like a
nightmare, a bad dream that you can?t remember.
MC ? On the other hand, you have received support from people across the
KM ? I would not be capable of describing the importance of the support
that I have received since Madeleine?s disappearance. That has helped me
enormously. People have been very good and caring ? and this also has
strengthened us to continue the fight. We have even had a large support
from Brazil, from a very kind family that became very close to us.
MC ? How is your relation with the press nowadays?
KM ? We need the media. Madeleine needs the media in order to be found.
We have a hard time with the press. But I hope the press will help to
find Madeleine. We just ask journalists to be responsible with the
information, because it is our little one who is missing.
MC ? Is it very painful or exhausting to continue to give interviews? Or
do you think that this is what you must do so that the searches for
KM ? At the beginning I found this very intimidating. The questions
appeared to me to be very difficult and they interfered too much with my
feelings. I always tried to preserve my privacy. But as I have already
given dozens and dozens of interviews during the past four years, I have
got used to it a bit. I know that the media is powerful and reached
millions of persons. And if this is necessary to bring my Madeleine
back, then I will do this.
MC ? Do you often visit Portugal?
KM ? Yes. We often go to Lisbon to talk with our lawyers. I also go to
Praia da Luz five times a year (the site of the resort where the family
was on holiday and from which Madeleine was abducted). For a long time
after her disappearance I did not manage to return there, but I now go
there often because I feel closer to her there.
MC ? What will be your next steps now?
KM ? I continue to write my diary. The book was launched in the UK and
in Portugal in May. Next week it will be launched in Brazil, in
September in Germany, in October in Spain and in some other countries
before the end of the year. People will read the book and will know that
there are still various unanswered questions ? and to which they might
be able to respond. We believe in the information that is sent to us and
we hope to gather more in order to find her. I have faith that we will
find the key information which is missing in order to find her. Keep
searching and praying for Madeleine, who is still missing. We cannot