The day after Madeleine's disappearance, the McCanns held their first press conference. It was the beginning of what would become an international media sensation. After four months of searching turned up nothing, the McCanns were named as suspects, or, as the Portuguese call it, "arguidos."
Once the McCanns came under suspicion, they decided to leave Portugal and return to their home north of England. "It's heartbreaking to return to the UK without Madeleine," Gerry told the press. "It does not mean we're giving up our search for her. Despite there being so much we wish to say, we are unable to do so except to say that we have played no part in the disappearance of our lovely daughter Madeleine."
In July 2008, the McCanns were officially cleared as suspects.