Madeleine McCann parents: who are Kate and Gerry McCann and when were they suspects?

Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now
May 2023 marks the 16 year anniversary of the disappearance of their three-year-old daughter in Portugal

On the 17th anniversary of Madeleine McCann's disappearance, her parents have released a statement in which they expressed how much "the absence still aches."

In a message issued on the official Find Madeleine website, Kate and Gerry McCann said: “It’s 17 years since Madeleine was taken from us. It’s hard to even say that number without shaking our heads in disbelief.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Whilst we are fortunate in many ways and able to live a relatively normal and enjoyable life now, the ‘living in limbo’ is still very unsettling. And the absence still aches.” The couple added: “Your support continues to encourage us and bolsters our strength to keep going. We know the love and hope for Madeleine and the will to find her, even after so many years, remains, and we are truly thankful for that. “Thank you again for remembering Madeleine and all missing children.”

McCann’s disappearance has been a highly-debated topic over the last 17 years since, with the McCanns themselves being both declared and cleared as suspects.

In 2022, authorities named convicted rapist Christian Brueckner as the main suspect in Madeleine’s abduction, with investigators recently starting work on searching a reservoir in Portugal in connection to the case.

Here’s everything you need to know about who Madeleine McCann’s parents are - and what they have said on the anniversary of their daughter’s disappearance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Who are Kate and Gerry McCann?

Kate and Gerry McCann are the parents of missing girl Madeleine McCann, who disappeared whilst on holiday in Praia da Luz, Portugal, on 3 May 2007, days before her 4th birthday.

The couple met in 1993 whilst studying to be doctors in Scotland. Gerry studied at the University of Glasgow and went on to become a cardiologist, whilst Kate studied at the University of Dundee and worked in gynaecology before becoming a GP.

The 54-year olds both continue to work for the NHS in Leicester. Gerry is still a cardiologist and Kate returned to work as a hospital doctor in 2021 to help with the Covid-19 pandemic.

Getty Images

They married in 1998, and Madeleine was born in 2003 after being conceived by IVF. The couple’s twins Sean and Amelie were born in 2005 and the family settled in Rothley in Leicestershire.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

During a holiday in the Portuguese resort of Praia da Luz, their daughter Madeleine disappeared from the family’s hotel apartment. The child had been left alone with her siblings whilst the adults dined at a nearby tapas restaurant.

In 2011, Kate McCann wrote a book about her daughter’s disappearance titled: “Madeleine: Our Daughter’s Disappearance and the Continuing Search for Her.”

The pair have remained married and in her book Kate McCann recalls how her husband supported her, writing: "He would put his arm round me, reassuring me and telling me that he loved me."

Why were the McCanns treated as suspects?

The McCanns were made suspects by the Portuguese police who believed that they had accidentally killed their daughter and covered up the crime. Authorities claimed that a sniffer dog, brought in to check their apartment and rental car, alerted their handler to the scent of blood 13 times.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Tests on the samples from the Forensic Science Service laboratory in Birmingham proved inconclusive.

Kate was brought in for questioning by the Portuguese police, the transcript of which was leaked to the media.

The McCanns were never formally charged and in 2008 they were removed as suspects by Portugal’s Attorney General due to lack of evidence.

They have always maintained that they are innocent and had nothing to do with their daughter’s disappearance.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

What did Kate and Gerry say on the anniversary of Madeleine’s disappearance?

Madeleine’s parents Kate and Gerry McCann posted a short statement on their Find Madeleine Campaign website to mark the anniversary of her disappearance.

They 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.”

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.