It’s coming up to Madeleine McCann’s 18th birthday.

Her parents have released a statement saying they “hang on to the hope” she is still alive. It has been 14 years since the little girl disappeared while on holiday.

Kate and Gerry McCann shared a Facebook post, where they said they are “truly grateful” for the support from friends and well-wishers.

Madeleine was three years old when she went missing from her family’s holiday apartment in Praia da Luz, Portugal, in May 2007.

Her parents have never given up hope that Madeleine is alive and will be found one day.

They posted on the official Find Madeleine Facebook page that they “need to know what happened to our lovely daughter”

The full post reads: “Every May is tough – a reminder of years passed, of years together lost, or stolen.

“This year it is particularly poignant as we should be celebrating Madeleine’s 18th birthday. Enough said.

“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.

“We still receive so many positive words and good wishes despite the years that have gone by.

“It all helps and for that we are truly grateful – thank you. Kate and Gerry.”

Search

The search for missing Madeleine still continues, and police are searching for her abductor too.

Prosecutors want to interview German paedophile Christian Brueckner over her disappearance. They claim to have evidence she is dead.

There are four detectives still working on Operation Grange.

German, British and Portuguese detectives are due to hold a summit in Lisbon this summer.

Investigators in Germany and Portugal are preparing to interview key witnesses in the Algarve who knew Brueckner.

He was named as the prime suspect for Madeleine’s disappearance by German prosecutors last June.

It was revealed last week that Gerry and Kate have a private fund of money they intend to use to keep the search going if the police ever stop.

Rape

It’s also looking likely that Bruekner will be charged with the rape of an Irish holiday representative in 2004.

He is the main suspect accused of sexually assaulting Hazel Behan in her apartment in a Portuguese resort. The incident took place only half an hour from where Madeleine was last seen.

Ms Behan was attacked by a masked man.

The man allegedly set up a video camera and dragged her to the living room. It’s then said he tied her to the breakfast bar and produced a bag of whips and chains.

Ms Behan described her attacker as speaking English with a German accent. She also said he was around 6ft 1in with blond hair. Her  description matches Brueckner.

The victim told the Guardian that her attacker “had a plan” and was “very deliberate”.

She said: “I thought that was it, my life was over.”

German Police

Hans Christian Wolters is the German prosecutor leading the inquiry. He told the Times: “The case against the suspect Christian B for the rape of Hazel Behan is in a good way, and it may be that we can charge him in the next three months. I am very hopeful for a charge on this case.”

“We are building a picture of Christian B and the methods he uses to commit his crimes. There are parallels with the case of the American tourist who was raped, the attack on Hazel Behan, and the abduction and murder of Madeleine McCann.

“In each case, the person has come into the person’s apartment or property by breaking and entering, often not through the door.”

He was asked whether police think Madeleine’s abductor entered the apartment using the window, rather than the unlocked patio doors, Mr Wolters said: “I can’t comment.”

He added that he hoped to resolve the Madeleine case “by this year”.

Brueckner is a convicted paedophile.

He is currently serving a prison sentence in Germany after raping a 72-year-old US tourist in Praia da Luz.

Do you think the investigation should continue?

Image via Alamy