Parents of Missing Girl Release Video Telling Daughter They Love Her
The parents of Madeleine McCann, the three-year-old British girl who
disappeared from a resort in Portugal where the family was on vacation,
released a video today telling their daughter to be brave.
"Our only Christmas wish is for you to be back with us again," Gerry
and Kate McCann said in the three-minute video, which also included three clips
of the little girl filmed last Christmas.
The parents, who Portuguese police named official suspects in the case, make a
direct appeal to whoever might have kidnapped the girl to release her and end
the family's "despair and anguish."
Kate McCann speaks directly to her daughter to encourage her during her ordeal.
"Madeleine, it's mummy and daddy here. Just know
how much we love you, Madeleine," she says. "We all miss you so much.
"Sean and Amelie talk about you all the time every day. We're doing
everything we can, Madeleine, to find you and there are so many good and very
kind people helping us. Be brave sweetheart," she says.
"Our only Christmas wish is for you to be back with us again and we're
hoping and praying that that will happen," she tells her. "Love you
Madeleine, or Maddie as so many have come to know her, vanished from the
family's holiday apartment in the resort of Praia da
Luz on May 3 while her parents -- both doctors -- were having dinner 100 yards
away in the same holiday compound.
Almost immediately, a huge publicity campaign went into gear, with celebrities
including author J. K. Rowling and soccer player David Beckham appealing for
help in finding the little girl, who has a distinctive black mark in the iris
of her right eye.
The McCanns toured Europe to raise awareness
of the case. They even had an audience with the pope. They gave dozens of
interviews, as press and TV teams from around the world documented their every move.
"'Please, please continue to pray for Madeleine," Kate McCann cried
during one television appeal.
"We are doing absolutely everything to assist the police with their
investigation, and we will leave no stone unturned in the search for our
daughter," her husband Gerry said.
In mid-May, just after Madeleine's fourth birthday, Portuguese police named a
British expatriate, Robert Murat, as an official suspect. Murat lived next door
to the McCann apartment. But police didn't have enough evidence to actually
Then in mid-June, police admitted vital forensic clues might have been
destroyed because of their failure to seal the crime scene properly.
By August, the Portuguese media, which had so much sympathy
for the McCanns, had turned against the couple. Police called Kate
McCann in for 11 hours of questioning in September. She was hissed and booed by
onlookers as she arrived at police headquarters.
The next day, she and her husband were both named as official suspects by the
Portuguese authorities, adding a new wrinkle to the already complicated story
of Maddie's disappearance.
In an interview with a British tabloid, Kate McCann said the police tried to
get her to confess to accidentally killing her daughter with a sedative.
In the last three months, there have been no breaks in the case, apart from a
false sighting in Morocco
of a fair-skinned child with a striking resemblance to Madeleine. Another
sighting was reported this week from North Africa
by a woman who was convinced she saw Madeleine in a taxi with a middle-aged
The Portuguese police chief in charge of the inquiry, Det. Goncalo Amaral, was
removed from the case. This was partly because of his involvement in a similar
case of another missing child in Portugal in 2004 where the child's
mother ended up being convicted and jailed for her murder. The child's father
claims his wife was tortured into a confession by Amaral.