THE mother of missing three-year-old Madeleine McCann wept for her
daughter today at an emotional Mother’s Day service.
McCann and husband Gerry
were joined by family from the
UK at a Portuguese mass in the resort of Praia da Luz, three days
after the youngster disappeared.
Their visit to the church fell on Mother’s Day which is marked in
Portugal with flowers which are laid at the feet of the Virgin Mary
during the service.
an emotional mass, Madeleine’s mother was quietly presented with a
bunch of five roses by 14-year-old Altar girl Emily Seromenho, whose
own mother is English.
the end of the service, Mrs McCann then lined up with Portuguese
mothers and walked to the Altar laying her flowers at the foot of
the Virgin Mary.
Pausing momentarily and gazing up at the statue Mrs McCann rejoined
her family and prayed silently for Madeleine’s safe return.
Portuguese police believe the missing three-year-old British
girl was abducted.
Guilhermino Encarnacao, director of the judicial police
in the Faro region, said police were hopeful she was still alive and
believe she is still in Portugal, possibly even in the Algarve.
He added that detectives have a suspect in mind but refused to
reveal any details other than to say that they had an artist’s
impression, for fear of endangering Madeleine’s life.
is not clear whether this means that police are looking for a
specific, named individual, or simply someone fitting a description.
Speaking 24 hours after discovering three-year-old Maddie had
vanished from their holiday apartment, distraught dad Gerry said:
“Words cannot describe the anguish and despair we are feeling as the
parents of a beautiful daughter.”
wife Kate poignantly clutched Maddie’s pink teddy, he added
haltingly: “We request anyone with any information relating to
Madeleine’s disappearance should please contact Portuguese police to
help us get her back to safety.
“Please if you have Madeleine, please let her come home to her
mummy, daddy, brother and sister. Everyone can understand how
distressing this current situation is.”
The couple, both 38-year-old doctors, looked red-eyed as they
stood just yards from their holiday flat. Earlier, shattered
relatives and friends told of the heart-stopping moment mum Kate
discovered her precious daughter was missing.
Kate and Gerry, a consultant cardiologist, had left Maddie asleep
with their baby twins as they ate at a tapas restaurant 50 yards
from their holiday apartment in Portugal’s Algarve.
pair took turns to check on the children every half hour. But when
Kate returned to the room at 10pm on Thursday there was no sign of
her angel-faced girl.
a desperate police hunt continued in the resort of Praia da Luz last
night, Maddie’s aunt Trish Cameron told how distraught Gerry
described the scene in a frantic late-night phone call.
Trish, of Dumbarton, Scotland, said: “The kids were all sound
asleep, windows shut, shutters shut.
“Kate went back at 10pm to check. The front door was lying open,
the window had been tampered with, the shutters had been jemmied
open and Maddie was missing.
“She came screaming back to the group crying, ?They’ve taken her,
they’ve taken her’. Gerry was crying and roaring like a bull.
“Obviously someone has been watching them, watching the children,
seeing where they stayed and seeing they were left alone. It just
doesn’t bear thinking about.”
Maddie’s brother and sister ? two-year-old IVF twins
Sean and Amelie
were left safely in their cots.
Trish, who plans to jet out to help with the search, went on: “Kate
ran and told my brother. He was distraught on the phone to me,
breaking his heart.
said, ?Maddie’s been abducted, she’s been abducted’. Nothing else
was touched in the apartment, no valuables taken, no passports.”
Describing Maddie, Trish added: “She’s an absolutely beautiful wee
blonde girl, with blue-green eyes.
“One distinguishing feature is that the pupil of her right eye runs
down into the iris.”
Cops yesterday cordoned off the apartment and officers with
were leading the search.
Sun has offered a £10,000 reward for information that may lead to
the youngster being found.
you live in Portugal you can download a copy of the poster, by
here, to play your part in
the search for Madeleine.
Maddie ? also an IVF baby ? was reportedly wearing pink,
short-sleeved pyjamas with a cartoon Eeyore on the top.
Last night local reports claimed dogs tracked her scent to a
supermarket before the trail ran cold. The store’s CCTV cameras were
so basic they did not make recordings.
Meanwhile British tourist George Burke claimed he had seen a couple
carrying a young child early yesterday morning. Mr Burke, from
Liverpool, was driving back from Lagos, just a few miles from Praia
de Luz. He said: “I couldn’t see them clearly as it was dark and
windy ? but I thought it was odd. They scurried down a side road.”
Kate and Gerry, from Rothley, Leics, are believed to have been on
holiday with a group of other medical workers. The party comprised
nine adults and eight children. It is understood Maddie, who turns
four next Saturday, is due to start school in September.
Distraught Kate rang long-time friends
Jon and Michelle
Corner, the twins’ godparents, at their Merseyside home to break the
Jon, whose wife grew up with GP Kate in their home city of
Liverpool, said: “She phoned at about 3am. She just blurted out that
Maddie had been abducted.
“She said, ?They’ve broken the shutter on the window and taken my
little girl’. She’s still devastated. She’s very upset that the
police don’t seem to be doing anything.”
McCanns were staying at the Ocean Club in Praia da Luz, western
Algarve ? a popular spot with Brits. They booked the break with
complex consists of individual villa-style accommodation mixed with
small bars, restaurants, cafés, boutiques and shops.
said 70 staff and guests searched until 4.30am
after the family raised the alarm, while border police, Spanish cops
and airports were notified. He said: “It was a very emotional and
he insisted there was NO physical evidence Maddie had been
abducted from the apartment. He said: “We are still hoping Madeleine
is asleep under a bush and we’ll find her soon.”
said the family’s apartment was surrounded by others ? all with
“sophisticated” door locks.
Guests were quizzed to check if they saw anyone acting suspiciously.
Mr Hill said Mark Warner offers families a babysitting service where
they can leave children for the night.
He added: “Those facilities were available but were not being
Counsellors were being flown out from Britain to assist the stricken
parents, he added.
John Buck, the British Ambassador in Portugal, drove in from the
capital Lisbon to be with the family after they begged him for help.
He confirmed that three family liaison officers from
Leicestershire Police had now arrived and were with the
Among those who joined Thursday night’s search for the tot were
British expats, holidaymakers and off-duty police officers.
Paul Moyes, 47, from Cheshire, owns a holiday apartment with wife
Susan in the McCanns’ block.
said: “There was a knock on our door at about 11.30pm from a hotel
guest telling us a girl was missing and asking us to help.”
revealed how panicking Kate sent her a text
saying: “I need help.”
said: “Kate was at the police station in hysterics. When we spoke
she said the police weren’t doing enough.”
Speaking about the £1,500 family holiday, pal Gill went on: “It’s
the first time they have done this.
“They are very careful parents. They chose Mark Warner because it is
a family-friendly resort.”
Trish Cameron added: “In hindsight, yes, Gerry and Kate wish they
hadn’t left the children alone, but it’s hard when you’re on
holiday. They’re excellent parents and very protective of their
Maddie’s worried grandparents have flown to Portugal to join the
search. Brian and Susan Healy said as they headed for the airport:
“We’re worried sick.”
couple had earlier been comforted by friends at their smart semi in
Mossley Hill, Liverpool.
61, said: “Susan can barely speak. We’re just trying to stay
“Kate and Gerry are such good parents. It’s a very loving family,
they didn’t leave their children in any danger. You just don’t
expect something so awful to happen.
recommended Portugal as a holiday destination. They love children