Kate and Gerry McCann have marked the 15th anniversary of daughter Madeleine McCann's disappearance with a heartbreaking statement. Madeleine was three years old when she disappeared from the family's hotel apartment in Praia da Luz in Portugal on 3 May 2007 as her parents were having dinner with a group of friends nearby.
"This year we mark fifteen years since we last saw Madeleine. It feels no harder than any other but no easier either. It’s a very long time," they wrote on the official Find Madeleine website. "Many people talk about the need for 'closure'. It’s always felt a strange term."
They went on: "Regardless of outcome, Madeleine will always be our daughter and a truly horrific crime has been committed. These things will remain. It is true though that uncertainty creates weakness; knowledge and certainty give strength, and for this reason our need for answers, for the truth, is essential."
The pair thanked the police for their ongoing work to help find Madeleine, as well as all of the supporters who have sent "continued good wishes and support."
"It is a huge comfort to know that regardless of time passed, Madeleine is still in people’s hearts and minds," they ended the post, which was shared alongside a Winnie the Pooh illustration that read: "But the most important thing is, even if we're apart, I'll always be with you."
The McCann's poignant message comes as the man suspected of abducting their daughter – Christian B (as he is known under German privacy laws) – denies being anywhere near the scene at the time of her disappearance, claiming that he was having sex in his camper van, that was parked miles from the family's hotel, with a young German woman.
According to the suspect, who is currently serving a seven-year jail sentence in Germany for rape, he later drover the woman to Faro airport where she was due to catch a flight. He says she can confirm his alibi.
However, police say mobile phone data from the night of Madeleine's disappearance – which puts him nearby the family's holiday rental – contradicts this.
Metropolitan Police Detective Chief Inspector Mark Cranwell, who is leading the UK investigation, said: "Fifteen years on from Madeleine's disappearance in Praia Da Luz our thoughts, as always, are with her family. Officers continue to investigate the case and our dedicated team are still working closely with law enforcement colleagues from the Portuguese Policia Judiciária as well as the German Bundeskriminalamt.
"At this time, the case remains a missing person's enquiry and all involved are committed to doing what we can to find answers."
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