English language EXCLUSIVE
By Chris Graeme [email protected]
Kate and Gerry McCann made a heartfelt plea in Lisbon on Wednesday last week for a full review of the case into the disappearance of their daughter Madeleine from Praia da Luz in the Algarve in May 2007.
At an informal press briefing held at the McCann’s Portuguese lawyers Isabel Duarte & Associates, Gerry McCann said that the purpose of their visit was to meet with their advisors and inform the public about a 30,000 word on-line petition calling upon the United Kingdom and Portuguese governments to re-launch the search for Madeleine and undertake a full review the case.
Kate McCann said that the perpetrator of the crime was still out there and that they believed that all the information needed to be brought together and re-examined again.
Contradicting what he called inaccurate reports in the British press that the Madeleine Fund set up to finance the search for their daughter was fast running out of cash, Gerry McCann stressed that the petition was not about raising money but about calling for a full review of the case.
“There has not been a law enforcement agency looking for Madeleine for a long time which is why we want a full review of the case that could provide key and overlooked information which could in turn lead to the reopening of the case,” said Gerry McCann.
Kate added that case reviews were fairly commonplace in the United Kingdom but understood that it was unusual in Portugal without new evidence.
The McCanns still have a small team of private investigators funded from the Madeleine Fund, which currently stands at more than £200,000.
Kate stressed that if it had not been for the fund, no one would have been able to look for Madeleine, adding that the short and medium term future of the fund was secure even though funds had gone down after having lasted a long time.
The fund organisers hold regular meetings not only to look at ways to raise funds but to ensure that the fund continues and the money is spent widely for the continued search for Madeleine.
The McCanns say that by getting a review of the case they would not be so reliant on the fund.
“Enquiries are conducted as much as possible but non-police investigators are restricted in what they can do and don’t have the access to all the investigation and police files. “Our team has worked on several leads but that has not led to new evidence strong enough to reopen the case,” said Gerry McCann.
On the question of the petition, the McCanns urged people to keep trying to access the one-line version despite some teething problems, and added that there was also a conventional paper petition for those who didn’t have access to the Internet or a computer.
“There is no deadline for the petition so we want as many people to sign it as possible since everyone involved in a case of a missing child should be entitled to have their case reviewed,” added Kate McCann.
Three years after Madeleine’s disappearance from a holiday apartment complex at Praia da Luz, her twin brother and sister Sean and Amelie still talk about Madeleine every day.
Gerry McCann said that the twins, Sean and Amelie, were an “amazing source of strength for Kate and I and bring us a lot of joy”.
“Last weekend, when getting into the car, they wrote their names in the condensation that had formed on the inside of the window and said they would write Madeleine’s name too since she was part of the family,” said Gerry McCann.
Kate McCann told how her son Sean had stood up in class and said he had two sisters and added that if she was having a bad day the twins were always encouraging.
Gerry McCann outlined how the twins had seen a specialist child psychologist to help them deal with the situation. “The twins know almost as much as we know, they are coping O.K. They can make sense of the chronological order of events. It would not be right to try and suppress everything.”
Kate and Gerry McCann likened their day-to-day life and search for Madeleine to “running a race” – except in this case there was no measurable end in sight.
“I can’t rest, I don’t believe any parent facing such a situation could rest and be at peace. There are weeks when we feel drained and the fact that we can’t see the end in sight makes it worse,” said Kate.
“No parent could ever say physically or emotionally that the time has come to stop thinking about and looking for a lost child,” she added.
The McCanns believe that senior officers used to reviewing cases need to sift through all the information from different sources and take a fresh look at the evidence.
“There is a lot of information out there but it has not been put onto a central data base.
“Two separate pieces of information might not seem relevant but when brought together could help to move things forward,” explained Kate.
The couple say they don’t know how much sensitive information made its way into the published files and accepted some material was probably missing.
“The question is, why aren’t the authorities doing anything? We want the case solved. No one is looking at the data afresh. I don’t personally think that the UK authorities have done enough. We wouldn’t be calling for a petition to review the case if we felt that the authorities had done all in their power,” said Gerry.
The Online Madeleine McCann Petition, in both Portuguese and English, can be found by Clicking the link to the right