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Madeleine gran appeals for return

Original Source: BBC: 13  MAY 2007
Sunday, 13 May 2007

The grandmother of Madeleine McCann has appealed to those holding their "shiny star" to "take her somewhere safe" so she can be returned home.
Susan Healy told BBC News that people should look out for her granddaughter's distinctive "black flash" in her eye, where her pupil runs into her iris.

Madeleine disappeared from her parents' Portuguese holiday apartment on 3 May.

Mother Kate McCann said prayers at a church service in the Algarve village of Praia da Luz on Sunday.

Joining the service was the English priest who married Kate and Gerry McCann and later baptised Madeleine. Father Paul Seddon, of the Our Lady of Compassion church in Formby, near Liverpool, flew out to support the couple in Portugal.

Speaking from Liverpool, grandmother Mrs Healy said she and all the family were "hoping and praying that the people who have Madeleine will take her somewhere safe and we can find her and bring her home".

Relatives have released posters drawing attention to the distinctive marking in the youngster's right eye, which they say makes her easily recognisable.

A legal team has flown out to assist the family in Praia da Luz.

The lawyers are understood to be helping set up a special "fighting fund" to continue the search for Madeleine using donations from the public and to help the family with liaison.

Asking people to look out for her granddaughter, Mrs Healy said: "Please look at children, don't be afraid, go and look at children, look for this black flash that goes from her pupil to the iris of the eye.

"And if the people who have got Madeleine realise that she has this distinctive marking, take her somewhere safe. Leave her, you can run off, we don't care whether you get caught, that doesn't matter. We just want Madeleine back."

Describing the little girl, she said: "Madeleine is a bright, shiny star .... she is special".

Mrs Healy was speaking while attending the annual Liverpool 10k race, where runners were wearing T-shirts bearing Madeleine's photo to raise awareness of the missing youngster.

Posters and T-shirts were also given out at the Glasgow Women's 10k race.

Before Sunday's Premiership football match between Chelsea and Everton, the Liverpool club's players wore T-shirts featuring Madeleine's picture.

Rewards totalling ?2.5m have been offered to anyone who can help with information leading to the safe return of Madeleine, from Rothley in Leicestershire.

Businessman Sir Richard Branson, footballer Wayne Rooney and children's author JK Rowling are among those who have contributed.

Speaking at a special mass on Saturday, Kate and Gerry McCann called for people to keep looking and praying for their daughter, but also acknowledged the huge effort and resources being put into the search.

In the latest sign of solidarity, hundreds of Portuguese bikers are preparing to ride the length of the country distributing posters of the missing girl.

The official ground search for Madeleine in the Algarve has ended, but police say they still have significant leads to follow up.

They have formally interviewed a 12th person as part of their investigations, but say no individual is being considered a suspect.

The focus has shifted from a local search for Madeleine to an international child abduction inquiry, amid suggestions she may have been taken out of Portugal.

Detectives are also continuing to cross-check CCTV footage of several cars with witness statements in their efforts to identify a possible abductor, our correspondent said.

Police have declined to confirm or deny reports about any possible leads, citing Portuguese law.

The international number for Crime stoppers is +44 1883 731 336. People with information about Madeleine can call anonymously.


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