Gerry and Kate McCann guarantee that they have new clues about their daughter's disappearence and that they are going to formally request the reopening of the process. The couple admits that they do not have any concrete evidence that Madeleine McCann, who would have today seven years old, is alive or if she has been kidnapped and they only know that it will be very difficult to get the agreement of the Public Ministry. In an interview to Expresso, done this week at a Lisbon hotel, the parents of the English child who disappeared three years ago in the Algarve, reveal that they still have half a million pounds in the fund and a 3 persons team working daily in a search that has proved fruitless. [Cover Page image]
Kate and Gerry McCann In Lisbon, three years after the disappearance of their daughter
Madeleine McCann disappeared three years ago and her parents returned to Portugal to try to reopen the process. They admit that they do not have any evidence that their daughter is alive, but guarantee that they have clues which should be investigated.
Is your life back to normal?
Kate McCann - It will never be the same, but we live with a certain normality. Gerry works at the hospital, and I work full time in the campaign to find Madeleine and the twins go to school and swimming. We have children, we owe them a normal life.
Have you told them what happened?
KM - We told them immediately, but as they grow up - they have 5 now - they make other questions. Amelie asked me if Maddie had ran away and I had to explain to her that she was stolen.
Gerry McCann - Sean speaks all the time about finding Maddie and what he will do to the person who has stolen her. They know they went to sleep and when they woke up their sister was gone. But they still don't understand that someone has taken her. When they gain that conscience, I believe they will want to know where we were. And we will have to explain that we were having dinner at a nearby restaurant.
What are you doing at this moment to find your daughter?
GM - We have an investigative team working for us full time. They've analysed all the information in the process, spoke with people who have entered in contact with us and identified a new line of investigation. It's a small team, of three persons, based in England.
Have you found anything in concrete?
GM - There are lines, leads which weren't investigated thoroughly and information has been released to the authorities.
To the Judiciary Police?
GM - Yes and to the English authorities. We know that one of the leads was followed and eliminated and another was considered irrelevant. We don't agree.
Which leads are those ones?
GM - I can't speak about them.
KM - We will not enter in any details so we don't place in danger our findings.
GM - I am not saying that we have someone who saw Madeleine. But leads take to other leads and we have to convince the police to investigate them.
Have you made a formal request to reopen the process?
GM - Not yet. But we will ask for the reopening of the process. Surely. That was what we came to Portugal to do.
But with which fundamentation? Do you believe that any prosecutor will agree with your request?
GM - Can it be done? It can. Will it be done? I don't know. We will never obtain evidence that Madeleine is here or there. At most we might get leads that will have to be investigated.
But everything that you've got till now was inconsistent...
KM - But if someone says that they have seen her in a blue car somewhere, shouldn't that be investigated? Are we going to dismiss leads without even verifying them?
GM - We will ask the police to gather all the case information, we will place it on the same system [sic] and analyse each point. The PJ has statements which are not in the process. It is an enormous work that we cannot do, but someone has to do it.
Why is it so important to prevent the sales of Gonçalo Amaral's book?
GM - The book was prejudicing the search for Madeleine.
GM - Because if people believe that Madeleine is dead and that we have covered up the crime, they will give up on the search. The book is full of omissions and lacks circumstantial evidence.
It is the conclusion arrived by the police who investigated the case. Does he not have the right to his opinion and to publish it?
GM - When we have a disagreement we turn to the courts. And the law said we were right. Freedom of expression in not more important than our right of being falsely accused.
Gonçalo Amaral is not to blame for the dogs who detected cadaver odour in the house.
GM - We were disturbed with the dogs story but the truth is that they are not 100% reliable, they have to be corroborated with forensic evidence, which didn't happen. There wasn't Madeleine's DNA. Even the PJ director [Alípio Ribeiro, former PJ national director] admitted that it was hasty to constitute us as arguidos [official suspects].
Is there any money left in the fund?
KM - Yes. Contributions haven't stopped and we have 500 thousand pounds.
Do you believe that Maddie is dead?
KM - At the beginning yes, I didn't think about anything else. But no one has found any evidence that she was dead and the truth is she might be held by someone. It happened in Austria and in the US.
GM - We are not naive and there is a probability that she is dead. However she is a small child and in abduction cases, the younger you are, bigger is the possibility of adapting and surviving.
KM - It happens. It has already happened.
Is she still present in your house?
KM - Yes. We still keep her room as it was, there are pictures of her all around the house. And we speak about her everyday.
GM - And we have to find out what happened in order to move forward.
Do you dream about her?
KM - I've only dreamt with her three times. Very real dreams, where I was holding her in my arms. Strange, isn't it?
Expresso Portuguese weekly newspaper - page 23, 01.05.2010 [paper edition], written by Rui Gustavo, photos by Tiago Miranda