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Madeleine McCann ‘assumed dead’, parents refuse to give up hope ‘until a body is found’

Madeleine McCann’s parents, Kate and Gerry McCann, refuse to believe that their daughter is dead until her body is found, the family’s close friend on Wednesday, June 3, said. The news come shortly after a new prime suspect was revealed in the decade-old missing case. The heartbroken parents reportedly have said that all they want right now is to “uncover the truth” and “bring those responsible to justice.”

The couple’s three-year-old child Madeleine mysteriously disappeared from their vacation apartment at The Ocean Club Resort in Portugal on the night of May 3, 2007. At the time, her parents were just 50 meters away from the apartment, dining at a tapas restaurant with several close friends while Madeleine and her twin siblings slept in the house. Thirteen years later, the child is still missing. Madeleine’s disappearance is the most widely-reported missing person’s case in modern history.

Investigators, on June 3 night, revealed that a German prisoner has been identified as a new suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance. The detectives also said that they have found a series of new clues into the case that could shed some light on Maddie’s whereabouts. The suspect, who has not yet been identified, is believed to have been a drifter in the area around Praia du Luz, and had prior convictions for child sex offenses. German authorities said that the suspect may have made his living by stealing from holiday apartments.

Hans Christian Wolters, from the Braunschweig Public Prosecutor’s Office, said in an update later: “We are assuming that the girl is dead. With the suspect, we are talking about a sexual predator who has already been convicted of crimes against little girls and he’s already serving a long sentence.”

He said the suspect was thought to have had jobs in catering, but also committed burglaries in hotels and holiday resorts and dealt drugs.

Madeleine’s parents, on June 3, released a statement that was read by Det Chief Insp Mark Cranwell: “We welcome the appeal today regarding the disappearance of our daughter Madeleine. We would like to thank the police officers involved for their continued efforts in the search for Madeleine. All we have ever wanted is to find her, uncover the truth and bring those responsible to justice.”

“We will never give up hope of finding Madeleine alive, but whatever the outcome may be, we need to know as we need to find peace,” the statement added.

The McCann family spokesperson, Clarence Mitchell, later spoked to the BBC about the new developments. “Kate and Gerry do feel it’s potentially very significant. They’ve never given up hope that she may still be found alive but they are realistic,” he said.

Meanwhile, a friend of the couple said that they continue to “remain on tenterhooks” as they are anxiously awaiting updates on the new findings. The friend reportedly said: “German police are now leading on this inquiry and are treating it as murder. But what proof officers have got has not been told at this stage. Until a body is found and it is proved to be Madeleine’s, Kate and Gerry are not giving up hope.”

The pair’s friend added that although the couple remains hopeful, there are many “unanswered questions,” like how did it take authorities 13 years to identify a suspect so well linked to Praia da Luz?

“Does it make him Madeleine’s abductor and, if it does, where is she and why now has he suddenly come to light when his name was given to police three years ago? And has he had any involvement in pedophilia?” the friend said. “Kate and Gerry want answers more than anyone but while the Metropolitan Police are still treating Madeleine’s disappearance as a missing people’s inquiry, it gives the family hope that she could still be alive. Nothing has changed for them. They will continue hoping until they know for sure.”

The suspect is described by the Met police as a 43-year-old white man with short blond hair, possibly fair, and about 6ft tall with a slim build. German police have established that a half-hour phone call was made to the suspect’s Portuguese mobile phone nearly an hour before Madeleine is believed to have gone missing.

Ever since Madeleine’s disappearance, Kate and Gerry launched a ceaseless campaign to find their daughter. The McCanns were on holiday with their seven friends and eight children in all. The McCanns said that a person from their group checked on the children every 20 minutes throughout their meal. However, Kate McCann, at about 10 pm that night, discovered that Madeleine was missing from her bed.