Kate and Gerry McCann, the British couple named suspects in the disappearance of their 4-year-old daughter, Madeleine, are holding up well in the face of a situation they can barely comprehend, Kate’s mother, Susan Healy, said Wednesday.
“From all accounts, they’re doing tremendously well, despite the heartrending situation they’ve found themselves in,” Healy told TODAY co-host Matt Lauer. “The whole situation to us seems so bizarre and so ludicrous that it’s very difficult to comment on it.”
Madeleine McCann has been missing since May 3, when her parents told police that she had vanished from their room at the resort they were visiting in the Algarve in Portugal.
For months, while police searched for an abductor, Kate McCann stayed in Portugal, marshaling support for the effort to find her daughter, while her husband took the campaign to Europe and even the United States.
But in the last week, police said their investigation had led them to the McCanns themselves. Portuguese prosecutors told reporters that a clump of hair identified as Madeleine’s, along with body fluids that most likely came from the girl, were found in the trunk of a car the McCanns rented 25 days after her disappearance.
On Tuesday, prosecutors turned the evidence over to a judge and requested authorization for additional procedures, the nature of which was not revealed. The judge, who will determine whether the McCanns will be charged in connection with their daughter’s disappearance and her possible death, has 10 days to rule on the prosecutors’ request.
The McCanns were allowed to leave Portugal and have arrived back at their family home in Great Britain.
Prepared for worst?Lauer, who was in London during a stopover on his way to Iran for a live report from Tehran on Thursday, asked Healy if her daughter is mentally prepared to be charged in the case.
“I think my daughter has been very strong because of the support she’s had from the public,” said Healy, speaking from Liverpool.
“We’ve had so many good wishes off people. It’s this that keeps carrying them forward. They’re so desperate to get Madeleine back; they know they have to be strong. So no matter how much trauma and distress they feel, they will carry on being strong, because that’s the way we’re going to get Madeleine back.”
Both Kate and Gerry McCann, who also have 2-year-old twin sons, are physicians and devoutly religious. All three of their children were conceived through in vitro fertilization.
Both parents are 39 years old.
Lauer asked Healy if she has ever sat down with her daughter and son-in-law and asked them pointblank, “Kids, did you have anything to do with Madeleine’s disappearance?”
Healy bristled at that question.
“No, I didn’t. Why would I? Nobody would ask them that question,” Healy said. “You could go to any of their friends, their colleagues, people they’ve known all their lives. There’s not one person that knows Kate and Gerry that would ever believe for one moment that they would be involved in harming their child.”
Healy, who expected to visit her daughter later in the day, then asked that the public continue to support Kate and Gerry McCann. “This is what we need more than anything else to get Madeleine back,” she said.