British-born Madeleine Beth McCann would have turned 18 on Wednesday, 12 May 2021. The three-year-old went missing from her bed at a resort in Praia da Luz, in the Algarve region of Portugal on 3 May 2007, days before her birthday.
Her disappearance has been described as the most heavily reported missing-person case in modern history – and her parents Kate and Gerry McCann have never given up hope of finding her.
On their website, Findmadeleine.com, they spoke out about how every May is a tough month – and a reminder of the years they’ve lost with their precious child.
“This year it is particularly poignant as we should be celebrating Madeleine’s 18th birthday. Enough said,” the couple wrote.
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“The Covid pandemic has made this year even more difficult for many reasons but thankfully the investigation to find Madeleine and her abductor has continued. We hang on to the hope, however small, that we will see Madeleine again. As we have said repeatedly, we need to know what has happened to our lovely daughter, no matter what. We are very grateful to the police for their continued efforts,” they said.
They added that they still receive words of encouragement and well wishes, and are grateful for the support through the years.
Maddy, as the toddler was affectionately known, vanished from the apartment while her parents dined nearby with friends. A massive search was launched to find her, but up until today no leads have been fruitful.
It’s been an exhausting 14-year-old search which her parents continue to raise money to fund, because they live in hope that one say she will return.
Amid the media frenzy were accusations that Kate and Gerry were involved in her disappearance. The rumours were dispelled by police and several other leads were followed up to no avail.
In June 2020, German prosecutors said they were investigating a 43-year-old suspect over Madeleine’s disappearance, saying they believe he killed her.
Nothing has come of this lead, and investigations are ongoing.