Update on the Search for Madeleine McCann
In May 2009, Kate and Gerry McCann talked to Oprah about the search for their missing daughter, Madeleine. It had been two years since Madeleine's disappearance, and the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children had created an age progression photo to show what she might look like now. The photo on the left is what Madeleine looked like at age 3. The photo on the right is what experts believe she would look like today.
Six months after their interview with Oprah, the McCanns have an update their search:
Following the interview, there was an increased number of hits to the website and a significant number of orders from the U.S. via the website for Madeleine T-shirts and wristbands. There was also an increase in well-wisher mail and website messages from people in the U.S. Our family has also been stopped whilst out and about by a number of Americans showing their support.
There have been many reported sightings in the U.S. following the interview, and in other countries following the release of the age-progression photo. We're not aware of any major leads coming in following the Oprah Show interview alone, but obviously a lot of information came in after the documentary Madeleine Was Here aired in the U.K. We believe the airing of the two programs in quick succession gave real momentum to the search.
Today, information is still coming in, albeit slower. The investigators are still following up some of their leads.
We decided to take action against Portuguese police officer Goncalo Amaral after reaching an "enough is enough" point. His disgraceful theories (with no evidence whatsoever to back them up) has greatly (and cruelly) hindered the search for Madeleine, particularly in Portugal, where it seems most likely that the key piece of information will lie. An injunction was achieved in September against his book and DVD, which promote his theories (and have made him a lot of money). This is a significant and much-needed achievement, and hopefully the general public will now start doubting his credibility and motives (if they hadn't already) and start believing that there is a very good chance that Madeleine is alive and needs to be found.
Last week we traveled to Lisbon. It was Kate's first visit back to Portugal since Madeleine was abducted. We had gone in order to plan a strategy with our advisers about moving things forward in Portugal. Given the media attention and demand that this visit brought, we had an informal meeting with the journalists. This seemed to go well and, if anything, it felt like we were shown more support, which was progress. Although apprehensive and a little emotional, it felt good to go back. We will return to Portugal most likely in the next few months and would also like to visit Praia da Luz.
We have several campaign and investigation initiatives which we are working on and hope to implement over the next four months. FindMadeleine.com is also being continually updated.
— The McCanns