One year on ... Kate McCann talks to The Sun
MISSING Madeleine McCann’s mum told
yesterday how the astonishing rescue of Austrian dungeon
girl Elisabeth Fritzl has given her fresh hope that her
daughter is still alive.
40, said that hearing how Elisabeth was saved after 24 years
imprisonment renewed her belief that little Maddie may also
be held captive somewhere.
Speaking ahead of tomorrow’s first anniversary of the night
her blonde girl disappeared, Kate told The Sun: “It proves
that people can go off the radar, doesn’t it? But they are
still there – and you owe it to that person to keep looking.
It gives you hope. It’s horrible to think of the length of
time, but Elisabeth being found gives you hope.
could be today, it could be tomorrow, it could be next week.
You just have to
on to that hope.”
Kate, 40, firmly believes Maddie, who vanished days before
her fourth birthday while on holiday in
Portugal last May, is still alive.
said: “It’s a sense, really. Madeleine just feels very
more of a kind of sensation that she’s there. You try to be
objective and think, ‘Is that just because I’m her mum and I
want to believe it?’ But it hasn’t changed.”
of Rothley, Leics, said she often “sees” Maddie in her head.
said: “I don’t really picture her as she’d be now – I
picture her as we remember her. And that’s being happy,
because that was Madeleine. I don’t actually think she could
have been happier.
memories, really. Seeing her there, seeing her in the
garden. She can’t find us, we have to find her.”
Hoping ... Gerry
and Kate McCann speak about Maddie yesterday
Kate knows that, even if she
IS found, Maddie’s ordeal may have had a terrible
effect on the tot.
couple discuss heartache on Sky TV
voice trailing off, she said: “I’ve talked of this sense
that she’s there and I’m going to see her again – but I
guess the hardest thing is knowing that if we do find her
she’ll be there, but . . . ”
Speaking as she and husband Gerry launched their own appeal
to find Maddie, Kate told how a visit to the American Centre
for Missing and Exploited Children also sparked new
She said: “I came out of there
thinking, ‘She is out there’. This isn’t just my parental
longing for Madeleine. This is experts saying we have X, Y
and Z cases.”
Heart specialist Gerry, 39, said: “Ernie
Allen, the head of the American Centre, said to us there is
a really good chance Madeleine is out there. And that is 25
years’ experience of someone involved in missing and
He added: “Data from
America shows that, of the children
abducted every year, 40 to 50 per cent are killed. That
means the majority are not killed.
“The evidence from the States again is
that, the younger the child, the less likely it is that they
will be seriously harmed or killed. And Madeleine is at the
right lower age limit.
"We’re not saying it’s
impossible and we’ve never said that. And you do start to
wonder how many children who are never found, and are
assumed to be dead, are actually being brought up somewhere
“It’s frightening to think of Natascha
Kampusch and Shawn Hornbeck – eight years and 4½ years.”
New appeal ... latest Maddie poster
Undaunted ... tourists at McCann hol flat
Natascha was found eight years after she had been abducted
by a paedophile in Austria, and Shawn nearly five years
after he was taken by a sex fiend in
And it was revealed at the weekend how
Elisabeth Fritzl was held captive for more than two decades
by her father in a cellar beneath his house in
Holding hands tightly with Kate, Gerry said: “The last thing
we would ever want is for Madeleine to become a statistic –
a missing child who, because of her young age, may grow up
in another environment and never be recovered.”
Maddie went missing from the
family’s apartment as Kate and Gerry shared a tapas bar meal
with friends at their holiday complex in Praia da Luz,
The toll of the year which has
followed is most obvious in Kate, who looked thin and frail
yesterday during a round of interviews to heighten awareness
of their case.
But Gerry revealed that the couple’s
three-year-old twins Sean and Amelie keep them going.
He said: “They talk about Madeleine
constantly. They include her in everything. They ask about
“They essentially still play with her
– and that’s really heartening for us a year down the line.
“If Madeleine walked in tomorrow,
they’d shout, ‘Madeleine’s home, lets play!’ She’s still a
huge part of their life and ours.” Yet Gerry added: “We’ll
face difficult decisions down the line and we are not
forcing information on them.”
said: “We don’t have to do anything to keep Madeleine there
– she’s just there. I sense her and that’s hard because I
just want to be closer to her again.”