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NEW DRIVE IN HUNT FOR MADELEINE

HOMEPAGE NEWS REPORTS INDEX MADELEINE PHOTOS MEDIA PHOTOS NEWS APRIL 2009
Original Source:   EXPRESS: WEDNESDAY 29 APRIL 2009
By Padraic Flanagan
 
MISSING: Madeleine McCann

Madeleine McCann's parents told yesterday how they take hope from cases of abducted children being found alive years after they were snatched.

 

Kate and Gerry McCann said the ordeals suffered by child captives such as Austrian Natascha Kampusch and Americans Elizabeth Smart and Shawn Hornbeck show that youngsters can survive even after they go 'off radar' for years.

The couple, both doctors from Rothley, Leics, have launched a push to trace Madeleine through the internet by using social networking sites like Facebook.

The pair have also opened a hotline and web portal for anonymous tip-offs from people who may have information about who took Madeleine.

The move comes after heart specialist Gerry launched a poster campaign in the Praia da Luz area on Portugal's Algarve coastline where she vanished on May 3, 2007.

To coincide with the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance, a Portuguese language version of the 'Find Madeleine' website has been created.

Gerry, 40, and his wife Kate, 41, said the search for their daughter is focusing on Portugal because residents 'have never been properly asked about the information they may have to give'.

The couple were interviewed at the weekend by US chat show host Oprah Winfrey for a show to be broadcast on Monday to mark the second anniversary of Madeleine's disappearance. They made an emotional appeal for information on their daughter, whose sixth birthday is next month. In a statement on their website the McCanns said: 'As the second anniversary of Madeleine's abduction approaches, there is much still to be done.

'We continue to remain focused on our aim ' to find Madeleine and bring her back home safely

'We cannot and will not ever stop doing all we can to find her.

'The search for Madeleine continues with the same strength and determination, and thankfully, there are many people who are continuing to help.'

They added that the cases of Elizabeth Smart, Shawn Hornbeck and Natascha Kampusch helped them 'appreciate that children can seem to disappear 'off the radar' for very long periods of time'. Schoolgirl Elizabeth was abducted from her home in Salt Lake City, Utah on June 5, 2002, at the age of 14.

She was found alive nine months later on in March 2003 about 18 miles from her home.

Shawn was missing for more than four years before being discovered in Kirkwood, Missouri, on January 2007 by police who were searching for another missing boy.

Natascha was held in a cellar near Vienna by Wolfgang Priklopil for eight years, until she escaped on August 23, 2006.

The McCanns said: 'It is vital that we never, ever give up on Madeleine. We urge you to remember Madeleine as a real, living and findable little girl.'

On May 7, Channel 4 is screening a reconstruction of the youngster's disappearance to assist the search.

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