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Family hopes the world of the internet can bring the critical breakthrough

Original Source:   TELEGRAPH: SATURDAY 12 MAY 2007
By Martin Beckford  Last Updated: 2:25am BST 12/05/2007


Relatives and friends of Madeleine McCann are using the internet and email to widen the search for the missing three-year-old.

They hope that if enough people across the world hear about her disappearance and see her photograph someone will come forward with information that could lead to her being found.

Pat Perkins, from Liverpool, a friend of the McCann family, put out an email appeal with a picture of Madeleine attached on Monday. She sent the message to colleagues in the NHS and asked them to forward it to their friends and contacts. It has now been seen and sent on by thousands of people worldwide

This "viral" email technique is regularly used by marketing companies as a way of getting a message to huge numbers of people quickly and cheaply, as each recipient can forward it to everyone they know as soon as it lands in their inbox.

In a modern, global version of missing posters being put on lampposts it was used to reunite children and their parents after the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami in south-east Asia.

Mrs Perkins said: "It's just an amateur way of trying to help. If all the people across the world are aware of it then maybe they can help."

Madeleine's aunt Philomena McCann has also sent out an email containing a downloadable poster of Madeleine and a message for anyone with information about her to call Crimestoppers.

This too has been forwarded to thousands worldwide, and more than 23,000 people have already clicked on a link to the poster which was set up by a news website. Throughout the search, Madeleine's relatives have been ahead of the authorities in putting out information about her disappearance.

It was her parents who issued the first photographs of her, who made the first public appeal for information and who gave the first details of what she was


wearing. Portuguese police only issued a formal appeal for information on their website on Wednesday, six days after Madeleine went missing.

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