Madeleine McCann’s parents said today they “hang on to the hope” she is still alive as they marked the 14th anniversary of her disappearance.
In a moving Facebook post, Kate and Gerry McCann said they are “truly grateful” for the support from friends and well-wishers.
They said this year’s anniversary is “particularly poignant” because it comes days before Madeleine’s 18th birthday.
She was just three when she vanished from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.
Prosecutors want to quiz German paedophile Christian Brueckner over her disappearance and claim to have evidence she is dead.
But Kate and Gerry, 53, of Rothley, Leics, refuse to give up hope that Madeleine is still alive and will one day be found.
In a post today on the official Find Madeleine Facebook page they “need to know what happened to our lovely daughter”.
They wrote: “Every May is tough – a reminder of years passed, of years together lost, or stolen.
“This year it is particularly poignant as we should be celebrating Madeleine’s 18th birthday. Enough said.
“The Covid pandemic has made this year even more difficult for many reasons but thankfully the investigation to find Madeleine and her abductor has continued.
“We hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again.
“As we have said repeatedly, we need to know what has happened to our lovely daughter, no matter what.
“We are very grateful to the police for their continued efforts.
“We still receive so many positive words and good wishes despite the years that have gone by.
“It all helps and for that we are truly grateful – thank you. Kate and Gerry.”
Scotland Yard’s hunt for Madeleine’s abductor continues, with four detectives still working on Operation Grange.
A top-level summit between German, British and Portuguese detectives is due to take place in Lisbon this summer.
The Mirror revealed in January that cops are launching a push to find the “missing piece of the jigsaw” that could snare Brueckner.
German and Portuguese investigators are to carry out new interviews of key witnesses in the Algarve who knew him.
Brueckner, 44, was named as the prime suspect for Madeleine’s disappearance by German prosecutors last June.
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They believe he abducted and killed the three-year-old.
He is currently serving a seven-year term in a prison in Hanover for raping a pensioner in Praia da Luz in 2005.
His lawyer Friedrich Fulscher insists the German has nothing to do with the youngster’s disappearance.