Madeleine McCann’s parents have marked 15 years since their three-year-old daughter was taken with a poignant line from A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh as they say a ‘truly horrific crime has been committed’.
In a message on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page on today, Kate and Gerry McCann quoted a poignant line from A.A.Milne’s Winne-the-Pooh – ‘But the most important thing is, even if we are apart, I’ll always be with you’ and said they need closure on what happened to the toddler at the holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007.
They wrote: ‘This year we mark fifteen years since we last saw Madeleine. It feels no harder than any other but no easier either. It’s a very long time.
‘Many people talk about the need for ‘closure’. It’s always felt a strange term. Regardless of outcome, Madeleine will always be our daughter and a truly horrific crime has been committed. These things will remain.
‘It is true though that uncertainty creates weakness; knowledge and certainty give strength, and for this reason our need for answers, for the truth, is essential.
‘We are grateful for the ongoing work and commitment of the UK, Portuguese and German authorities as it is this combined police effort which will yield results and bring us those answers.
‘As always, we would like to thank all of our supporters for their continued good wishes and support.
‘It is a huge comfort to know that regardless of time passed, Madeleine is still in people’s hearts and minds. Thank you.’
Madeleine McCann’s parents have marked 15 years since their three-year-old daughter was taken with a poignant line from A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh
Madeleine McCann vanished from the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz in May 2007 where she was on holiday with her parents Kate and Gerry and siblings
Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, today released a message to mark 15 years since their daughter’s disappearance
The parents said Madeleine (pictured) ‘will always be our daughter’ and thanked well-wishers
In July 2013, Scotland Yard launched its own investigation, Operation Grange, into Madeleine’s disappearance
Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell from the Metropolitan Police, who leads the operation, said: ‘Fifteen years on from Madeleine’s disappearance in Praia Da Luz our thoughts, as always, are with her family.
‘Officers continue to investigate the case and our dedicated team are still working closely with law enforcement colleagues from the Portuguese Policia Judiciaria as well as the German Bundeskriminalamt.
‘At this time, the case remains a missing person’s inquiry and all involved are committed to doing what we can to find answers.’
It comes after convicted sex offender Christian Brueckner, 44, was declared an official suspect by Portuguese authorities last month, which was welcomed by the couple.
He has insisted he was having sex with woman in his camper van at time when three-year-old girl vanished, according to reports.
Brueckner claims to have been stopped and photographed at a police roadblock after driving the woman to the airport at Faro, Portugal, for a flight home the next day.
The suspect says she was arrested at airport security for carrying an illegal pepper spray and is adamant Portuguese police will have a record of the events, Sky News reports.
German police are said to have found a picture of the woman lying in his van when they investigated a rape charge for which the 44-year-old is now in jail.
This revelation comes just days after it was claimed that Brueckner has not provided German police with an alibi.
German prosecutor Hans Christian Wolters, who is leading the investigation, told Sky News: ‘I assume if he has anything that exonerates him that sooner or later he will share it with us and we would then check it out. What happens then, let’s see.
Christian Brueckner, 44, the chief suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine McCann ‘has not provided German police with an alibi’, a German prosecutor has said
‘So far he has told us nothing, he’s given us no alibi. So, we can only work on the evidence we have found so far in our investigation. And there was nothing to exonerate him.’
Earlier this year, however, sources close to the case were said to have discovered that Brueckner was not at the resort in Praia da Luz the night she disappeared and was actually ’30 minutes away.’
It is expected that British investigators’ television programme Madeleine McCann: Investigating the Prime Suspect, will dismantle the case against the prisoner.
When she vanished aged three in 2007, phone records were said to show the prime suspect near the scene, the Sun reported.
However, the new investigation has revealed that an alibi for Brueckner, who was made an ‘arguido’, a formal suspect, by Portuguese authorities last month, ‘stacks up.’
If his latest claim is true, it would contradict the evidence from mobile phone data masts, which police said shows his phone was in the village when it received a call from 7.32pm to 8.02pm.
Madeleine’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, say their daughter vanished between 9pm and 10pm, while Brueckner insists that he’d driven miles along the coast towards Faro by 10pm.
How the disappearance of three-year-old Madeleine McCann unfolded
May 3: Gerry and Kate McCann leave their three children, including Maddie, asleep in their hotel apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal. When they return, they find Maddie missing from her bed
May 4: A friend of the McCanns reports of seeing a man carrying a child away in the night
May 14: Robert Mural, a property developer who lives a few yards from the hotel, is made a suspect by Portuguese police
May 30: The McCanns meet the Pope in Rome in a bid to bring worldwide attention to the search
August 11: Police in Portugal acknowledge for the first time in the investigation that Maddie might be dead
September 7: Portuguese police make the McCanns official suspects in the disappearance. Two days later the family flies back to England
July 21: Portuguese police remove the McCanns and Mr Mural as official suspects as the case is shelved
May 1: A computer-generated image of what Maddie could look like two years after she disappeared is released by the McCanns
May 12: A review into the disappearance is launched by Scotland Yard, following a plea from then-Home Secretary Theresa May
April 25: After a year of reviewing the case, Scotland Yard announce they belief that Maddie could be alive and call on police in Portugal to reopen the case, but it falls on deaf ears amid ‘a lack of new evidence’
July 4: Scotland Yard opens new investigation and claim to have identified 38 ‘people of interest’
October 24: A review into the investigation is opened by Portuguese police and new lines of inquiry are discovered, forcing them to reopen the case
January 29: British officers arrive in Portugal as a detailed investigation takes place. During the year, several locations are searched, including an area of scrubland near the resort
October 28: British police announce that team investigating Maddie’s disappearance is reduced from 29 officers to just four, as it is also revealed that the investigation has cost £10million
March 11: Cash is once again pumped into keeping the investigation alive, with £85,000 granted to keep it running until September, when it is extended once again until April next year
March 27: The Home Office reveals it has allocated further funds to Operation Grange. The new fund is believed to be as large as £150,000
April: Controversial new Netflix documentary re-examining Maddie’s kidnap is released
June 5: The Home Office gives the Metropolitan Police enough funding to investigate for another year
December 7: Paulo Pereira Cristovao, a long-time critic of Maddie’s parents, was convicted of participating in the planning of two violent break-ins at properties in Lisbon and the nearby resort of Cascais. He is jailed for seven and a half years
February 22: Scotland Yard detectives questioned a British expat about her German ex-boyfriend. Carol Hickman, 59, claims police entered her bar in Praia da Luz to ask questions about her former partner
June 3: Police reveal that a 43-year-old German prisoner has been identified as a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.
April 21: Christian Brueckner, now 44, is made an ‘arguido’, a formal suspect, by Portuguese authorities.