Madeleine McCann vanished from a resort in Praia da Luz, Portugal in May 2007, and last month police made significant progress in uncovering the mystery surrounding her disappearance. Germany prosecutors announced they had a prime suspect in the case, named in reports as Christian B, and believed the toddler, who was three when she went missing, was dead. Now, Portuguese police have launched a fresh search for Maddie’s remains.
The child’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, are being “kept informed every step of the way” by British police, the former spokesman has said.
Portuguese detectives scoured three rural wells in the Algarve on Thursday, after they said they obtained “fundamental evidence” Maddie is dead.
Despite the news, the McCann’s refuse to believe their daughter is dead until her body is found.
But the couple remain “on tenterhooks” as they anxiously await updates, 13 years on from her disappearance.
Madeleine McCann’s parents are ‘on tenterhooks’
The family’s former publicist Clarence Mitchell told the Sun: “Kate and Gerry want answers more than anyone but while the Metropolitan Police are still treating Madeleine’s abduction as a missing people’s rather than a murder inquiry it gives them a glimmer of hope that she could still be alive.
“They continue to hope until there is incontrovertible evidence which proves she is dead.
“They are being kept informed every step of the way.”
This week, new searches were conducted in Vila do Bispo, a 15-minute drive west from where the McCann’s were staying in 2007.
A team of specialist rescue firefighters, including expert divers, joined officers to examine the huge underground holes.
A family source said today: “Kate and Gerry will be the first to know if there is any significant development.
“The Met police are now working with Portuguese and German officers on this case but have not been involved in any direct activity in Portugal.
“Wells in the area have been searched in the past and they were expecting new searches to be made in light of recent news from German police.
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“They are rather surprised that the waterways hadn’t been searched sooner.
“But this is a matter for Portuguese officers who are liaising with German authorities and Scotland Yard.”
Christian B, a convicted sex offender who is currently serving 21 months for drug offences in Kiel, northern Germany, is still considered the prime suspect in Maddie’s disappearance.
Germany investigators believe the man, who has been linked to several other missing persons’ cases in Europe, kidnapped and killed the child.
Hans Christian Wolters, the German prosecutor leading the investigation into Christian B, has said he fears Maddie was killed shortly after she was abducted.
When discussing the ongoing investigation, Mr Wolters said: “My private opinion is that he relatively quickly killed the girl, possibly abused her and then killed her.
“We believe our suspect committed further crimes, especially sexual crimes, in Portugal possibly but also elsewhere like Germany.”