Madeleine McCann's 20th birthday message says parents 'waiting for her'

Madeleine was three years old when she vanished from the family’s holiday home in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007.

The parents of Madeleine McCann marked the missing girl’s 20th birthday on Friday with a message, 16 years after her disappearance.

Madeleine, whose dad is from Glasgow, was three years old when she vanished from the family’s holiday home in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on May 3, 2007.

On the official Find Madeleine Campaign Facebook page, her parents Kate and Gerry McCann wrote: “Happy birthday Madeleine! We love you and we’re waiting for you. We’re never going to give up.”

A video attached, which was a montage of photographs of the youngster, had the caption: “Madeleine McCann is 20 years old today. She’s still missing, still missed and we are never going to give up trying to find her.”

The couple have never given up on the possibility that their daughter is alive, and say they still hope one day the family will be reunited.

Earlier this month, her parents, from Rothley, Leicestershire, marked the 16th anniversary of her disappearance by thanking well-wishers and saying she is “still very much missed”.

Age progression techniques show how Madeleine might look aged nine.

In a short statement on the official Find Madeleine Campaign website, Kate and Gerry McCann said: “Today marks the 16th anniversary of Madeleine’s abduction. Still missing… still very much missed.

“It is hard to find the words to convey how we feel.

“The police investigation continues, and we await a breakthrough. Thank you to everyone for your support – it really helps.”

Madeleine McCann
Madeleine disappeared on May 3, 2007.

The message comes just weeks after a German court said it had decided not to hear a sex offences case against a man who is a suspect in the disappearance of Madeleine.

Prosecutors in the northern city of Braunschweig in October charged Christian Brueckner in several separate cases involving sexual offences allegedly committed in Portugal between 2000 and 2017.

The court decided not to hear the case because the region where it is located is not the last place where Bruckner lived in Germany.

Brueckner, who has reportedly denied any involvement in Madeleine’s disappearance, was identified as a murder suspect in the McCann case by Portuguese officials in June 2020.

Madeleine disappearance – Timeline of events

2007

May 3: Kate and Gerry McCann, from Rothley, Leicestershire, leave their children asleep in their holiday apartment in Praia da Luz in southern Portugal while they dine with friends at a nearby tapas restaurant.

Nothing is amiss when Mr McCann checks on the youngsters just after 9pm, but when his wife goes back at about 10pm she finds Madeleine missing.

Jane Tanner, one of the friends dining with the McCanns, reports having seen a man carrying a child earlier that night.

May 14: Detectives take Anglo-Portuguese property developer Robert Murat in for questioning and make him an “arguido”, or formal suspect – but this is later withdrawn.

August 11: Exactly 100 days after Madeleine disappeared, investigating officers publicly acknowledge for the first time that she could be dead.

September 7: During questioning of Mr and Mrs McCann, detectives make them both “arguidos” in their daughter’s disappearance – but this is also later withdrawn.

September 9: The McCanns fly back to England with their two-year-old twins Sean and Amelie.

2008

July 21: The Portuguese authorities shelve their investigation and lift the “arguido” status of the McCanns and Robert Murat.

2011

May 12: Mrs McCann publishes a book about her daughter’s disappearance, on Madeleine’s eighth birthday.

Scotland Yard launches a review of the case after a request from Home Secretary Theresa May, supported by Prime Minister David Cameron.

2012

April 25: Scotland Yard detectives say they believe Madeleine could still be alive, release an age-progression picture of how she might look as a nine-year-old, and call on the Portuguese authorities to reopen the case, but Portuguese police say they have found no new material.

2013

July 4: Scotland Yard confirms it has launched its own investigation, Operation Grange, into Madeleine’s disappearance two years into a review of the case. It has “genuinely new” lines of inquiry and has identified 38 people of interest, including 12 Britons.

October 24: Portuguese police confirm that a review of their original investigation has uncovered new lines of inquiry, and they reopen the case.

2014

January 29: British detectives fly to Portugal amid claims they are planning to make arrests.

June 3: Sniffer dogs and specialist teams are used to search an area of scrubland close to where Madeleine went missing.

December 12: Detectives begin questioning 11 people who it is thought may have information on the case.

2015

September 16: The Government discloses that the investigation into the disappearance of Madeleine has cost more than £10m.

October 28: Scotland Yard cuts the number of officers working on the inquiry from 29 to four.

2017

April 30: The McCanns prepare to mark ten years since their daughter’s disappearance with a BBC interview in which they vow to do “whatever it takes for as long as it takes” to find her.

2019

May 3: Local media reports say Portuguese detectives are investigating a foreign paedophile as a suspect in the abduction of Madeleine.

2020

June 3: Police reveal that a 43-year-old German prisoner, later named as Christian Brueckner, has been identified as a suspect in Madeleine’s disappearance.

June 4: Scotland Yard’s Operation Grange, which had received £12.3 million in funding up to April 2020, is still a missing person inquiry as detectives have no “definitive evidence whether Madeleine is alive or dead”.

2021

May 4: Kate and Gerry McCann post a statement on the Official Find Madeleine Campaign website saying they still cling to the hope of seeing their daughter again as they prepare to mark her 18th birthday on May 12.

2022

April 21: Christian Brueckner, now 44, is made an “arguido”, a formal suspect, by Portuguese authorities.

May 3: The McCanns mark the 15th year anniversary of the disappearance of their daughter.

2023

May 3: The McCanns mark the 16th year anniversary of the disappearance of their daughter by gathering in their village.

May 12: On what would have been Madeleine’s 20th birthday, her parents say they are still “waiting for her” and are “never going to give up”.

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