Sunday, May 13, 2007



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Madeleine's parents strive to keep their daughter in the spotlight.
By NEIL SEARS and SAM GREENHILL in Praia da Luz -
Last updated at 22:35pm on 13th May 2007

Arms around each other, Kate and Gerry McCann strolled on the beach yesterday in a brief break from the heartbreaking search for their missing daughter Madeleine.

Friends say "a tidal wave" of devastation has torn the couple apart but that they have been gaining strength from the support of family, friends and the many church services they have attended.

A day after what should have been the fourth birthday party for the "miracle child" they desperately sought through IVF treatment, the couple were hoping for another miracle, her safe return. Millions of people across Portugal joined them as the Catholic nation marked the 90th anniversary of the famous "Fatima visions" in which the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared to three peasant children in central Portugal. Yesterday Madeleine was added to the usual prayers as 300,000 attended a service at Fatima.

Her abduction has taken a heavy toll on Mrs McCann's health and yesterday she looked frail, visibly having lost more weight.

The 38-year-old GP wore a yellow and green ribbon in her hair, green being the colour of hope in Portugal. The investigation has suffered a setback however with police ruling out the prime suspects they had been seeking for four days. Detectives had been looking for a blonde woman and two men seen at a motorway service station with a girl similar to Madeleine.

This trio, caught on CCTV, along with a suspected paedophile seen taking pictures of children on a beach, have now been discounted, said Chief Inspector Olegario Sousa. He added that his officers did not have a single suspect in the 11-day-old case.

According to Portuguese newspapers, police sources believe the "key" to the mystery lies with ten witnesses - including the McCanns - who have been questioned over the past week.


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