It has been 82 days since Gerry and Kate McCann’s daughter, Madeleine, disappeared from their hotel room while the British family vacationed in Portugal. But the couple has not given up hope that the 4-year-old will be found.
While Kate McCann remains in Portugal with the couple’s 2-year-old twins, Gerry McCann has worked tirelessly to keep his daughter’s picture and story in front of the public, and his efforts brought him to the United States this week.
“The key message that we had from agencies involved in missing children is that, when someone has been taken, to keep a high public profile and keep the public aware to possible sightings of Madeleine,” McCann told TODAY host Matt Lauer on Tuesday.
“That’s the only thing Kate and I have really been able to do directly. What we are hoping and praying for every day is that there’s a breakthrough in the criminal investigation trying to find out who took Madeleine and where she is,” he said.
The case has garnered a lot of attention, and support for the family.
“Harry Potter” author J.K. Rowling has asked bookstores selling her book to put up posters with Madeleine’s picture and information about her disappearance. David Beckham, the English soccer star who recently began play with the L.A. Galaxy, has also gotten involved.
On Monday, Gerry McCann met with U.S. Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, who offered his support. He’s also met with officials at the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children to talk about ways to better coordinate European efforts to track and find abducted children.
The McCanns have not been able to talk about the progress of the investigation in Europe at the request of law enforcement authorities.
Snatched from bed
The British family was vacationing in Praia de Luz, Portugal, on May 3 when Madeleine disappeared. A man was seen exiting the resort hotel with a child in a blanket. Two other McCann children who were sleeping in the same room, as the couple dined nearby, were left alone.
A 33-year-old Englishman, Robert Murat, a resident of the Portuguese resort town, has twice been questioned and remains a suspect, according to Portuguese police.
The 39-year-old McCann, a cardiologist, has suspended his practice while the search for his daughter continues. During his visit to the States, he is scheduled to meet with members of Congress and with representatives of first lady Laura Bush. His wife has said she will remain in Portugal until the case is resolved.
“There’s a good flow of information between the Portuguese police and ourselves,” Gerry McCann told Lauer in a live hook-up from Alexandria, Va. “The only thing that will give Kate and I any comfort is when Madeline is found and returned to us. I think all parents can understand that.”
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children’s Web site, an average of 2,185 children under the age of 18 is reported missing each day in the United States.
Of those, 115 in a one-year period met the definition of a “stereotypical kidnapping,” meaning it involved a person the child did not know or someone “of slight acquaintance” who “holds the child overnight, transports the child 50 miles or more, kills the child, demands ransom, or intends to keep the child permanently.”
For more information you can visit http://www.findmadeleine.com