Madeleine's parents launch new hotline

The parents of a British girl who disappeared while on holiday in Portugual will launch a 24-hour hotline on Wednesday for information to help find their daughter, their spokesperson said.

Kate and Gerry McCann were to go on Spanish television to urge people in Spain, Portugal and North Africa to call the hotline if they have any information about their four-year-old, Madeleine.

Madeleine disappeared from a holiday apartment in the Algarve resort of Praia da Luz on May 3 while her parents were with friends at a nearby restaurant in the same complex.

Portuguese police named the couple as suspects in the case last month. They have denied any involvement and launched an international campaign for information on their daughter’s disappearance.

The couple’s spokesperson, Clarence Mitchell, said they would make the appeal on the Antena 3 network in what will be their first televised interview since being named suspects.

“Kate and Gerry McCann will today issue a direct, heartfelt appeal to the people of Spain, Portugal and North Africa to ask them for their help in finding their daughter Madeleine,” Mitchell said.

“Kate and Gerry will reiterate their firm belief that Madeleine is still alive and they will urge anyone with information, no matter how minor it may seem to them, to contact a newly-established, confidential 24-hour phone number operated by private detectives based in Spain.

“Their renewed appeal is being made with the full knowledge and support of the police in both Portugal and Spain.”

The couple, both medical doctors who live near Leicester, east central England, would also say they welcome the work carried out by the new head of the police investigation, Paulo Rebelo.

The officer who previously led the inquiry, Goncalo Amaral, had accused the McCanns of releasing false information to distract and confuse the probe amid massive media interest in Britain, Portugal and around the world.

No charges have been filed against the couple, who strongly deny any role in the daughter’s disappearance. They believe she is still alive, although her wider family have admitted that hopes of finding her are fading.

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